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BASEBALL LEADS WIRE-TO-WIRE TO CLINCH SERIES WIN WITH 5-2 VICTORY ON SATURDAY

BASEBALL LEADS WIRE-TO-WIRE TO CLINCH SERIES WIN WITH 5-2 VICTORY ON SATURDAY

SACRAMENTO -- Freshman right-hander Colin Hunter tied a career high with nine strikeouts over 6.1 innings of work and eight of Sacramento State's nine starters finished with at least one hit on the day, lifting the Hornets to a 5-2 victory over Utah Valley to clinch a Western Athletic Conference series win on Saturday at John Smith Field.

Sacramento State improved to 27-23 overall and 16-13 in conference play, winning for the fourth time in six meetings with the Wolverines to take both series played between the two this year. Utah Valley fell to 16-34 overall and 9-17 in league play with the loss.

In addition, history was made on Saturday as Steven Moretto became the program's all-time games played leader with his 234th career appearance, breaking Scotty Burcham's mark of 233 set from 2012-15. Moretto, who made his 230th career start, stands just one back of Burcham's career record in the category.

Hunter (3-4) retired the first nine batters he faced before Mitch Moralez led-off the fourth with a double, but was stranded in scoring position after the freshman induced a fly ball, struck out another, and ended the inning with a ground out. All told, Hunter retired 18 of the first 20 batters he faced before exiting in the sixth, ending the day charged with two runs on four hits while walking just one.

Kevin Haynes finished off the sixth and struck out one over his two-thirds of an inning, while Max Pettey stranded a pair in the eighth, getting a strikeout to end the frame. Junior right-hander Jack Zalasky then came on and posted his 10th save of the year, working around a one-out hit batter to get a strikeout and a foul out to end the game.

Zalasky's 10 saves are the most since Tanner Dalton finished with 10 in 2018, while his 14 career saves are just two shy of Dalton and Michael Penbera (1999-01) for third on the school's career list. Zalasky has now posted a save in seven of his last nine appearances.

After Utah Valley's offense got the jump on Sacramento State in Friday's opener, the Hornets returned the favor on Saturday, plating three runs in the bottom of the first to take a quick lead they would not relinquish.

A two-out double by Dawsen Bacho set the table for Martin Vincelli-Simard, who dropped a double down the left-field line on the first pitch he saw from Coop Rust (2-7) for the 1-0 lead. Moretto followed with a first-pitch single to right to make it 2-0 and, after a Jeffery Heard single to right put runners on the corners, Nick Iwasa reached on an infield single that scored Moretto for a 3-0 advantage.


The Hornets' advantage grew to four runs on a sacrifice fly by Vincelli-Simard in the third and Moretto put a cherry on top in the fifth with another sacrifice fly for a 5-0 lead.

Utah Valley rallied to break up the shutout in the sixth, scoring a pair of runs on a bases-loaded hit by pitch and an error, but the Sacramento State bullpen settled down as Haynes got a strikeout and ground ball to stop the bleeding as the Wolverines were shutout from that point on.

Jorge Bojorquez, Bacho, and Vincelli-Simard, each finished with two hits apiece, while Vincelli-Simard and Moretto each drove in a pair of runs. 


The Hornets go for the first WAC series sweep of the year on "Senior Day" Sunday (May 15) at Noon, with sophomore right-hander Noah Takacs taking the mound for Sacramento State. The Hornets' senior class will be recognized in a ceremony following the game's final out.