SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State found itself the victim of a doubleheader sweep for just the third time in the last three years on Saturday, falling in both ends of Saturday's twin bill against Grand Canyon at John Smith Field.
The Hornets (25-15, 16-11 WAC) remain in third place in the WAC despite the back-to-back losses on Saturday. Grand Canyon (26-15-1, 19-4) remains in second, still a game back of Cal Baptist (28-11, 20-3) though now three ahead of the Hornets.
Freshman right-hander Kevin Haynes (1-2) made just his second start of the year on Saturday against one of the hottest offenses in the league and more than held his own. Through three innings, Haynes held the Lopes to just one run on two hits. The three innings matched his career high.
It was in the fourth where Haynes ran into a little bit of trouble, giving up two runs on two hits, a walk, and a sacrifice fly. He was unable to get out of the inning, turning things over to the bullpen with two outs in the frame. Despite the admirable spot start from the freshman, he was tagged with his second loss of the season.
Cole Tremain pitched the Hornets out of the inning and threw 2.1 innings, allowing three more runs on three hits as Grand Canyon continued to extend its lead.
Max Pettey pitched the seventh, an impressive 1-2-3 inning in which he struck out two.
Six runs for Grand Canyon proved to be more than enough as the Hornets managed to push across just one in Saturday's game one. Nick Iwasa, who continued to hit the ball well, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. He drove in Chris Gonzalez, who doubled to lead off the third inning for Sacramento State.
The Hornets made things interesting late, loading the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the seventh, but left them loaded to end the game, 6-1.
In game two, the Grand Canyon bats broke things open early and in a loud way. Sacramento State starter Eli Saul suffered his third loss of the year after allowing nine runs (six earned) on eight hits in just 1.2 innings of work.
A two-out, two-run double put the Lopes on the board in the first inning before things really unraveled in the second. GCU had seven hits in the second inning, including a double and two home runs, and scored nine times to take an 11-0 lead.
After Saul and Travis Martizia combined for two innings, the Hornets turned to Wesley Harper to take them the rest of the way and he did not disappoint. Harper tossed five innings and allowed just one run, scattering seven hits. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.
The appearance was Harper's 11th of the year and lowered his ERA to 3.26. He has struck out 14 and walked four in 19.1 innings of work.
Despite the impressive relief outing from the sophomore, the damage was already done and the Hornets offense was unable to mount any kind of meaningful comeback, failing to score a run for the third time this season as the team fell, 12-0 in seven innings.
Prior to this weekend's series, the Hornets had not fallen victim to the WAC's 10-run seven inning rule in nearly a decade, last occurring in 2012 against then #25 New Mexico State.
Sacramento State regularly put the ball in play on Saturday but continuously found Lopes gloves, including two nice plays by pitchers on comebackers and several nice running catches in the outfield to take away Hornet hits. In total on Saturday, the Hornets offense produced just one run in 14 innings on 13 hits.
Sacramento State and Grand Canyon will face off one last time here at John Smith Field tomorrow, Sunday, May 2. Sunday's series finale is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch. The game will stream live online on the WAC Digital Network with live stats available at HornetStats.com.
For the latest news, notes, schedule updates, and more, including direct links to streaming and live stats, be sure to visit the Sacramento State baseball schedule online at HornetSports.com.