Hornets Fall to 11th-seed Stanford in NCAA Regional Opener

Hornets Fall to 11th-seed Stanford in NCAA Regional Opener

Courtesy Sacramento State

STANFORD, Calif. – Sacramento State's six-game win streak came to an end Friday afternoon as the Hornets fell, 11-0, to the Stanford Cardinal in the first game of the Div. I NCAA Stanford Regional.

The region's No. 1 seed and the No. 11 team in the tournament, No. 4 Stanford (42-11) advances to face the winner of tonight's game between second-seeded UC Santa Barbara and three-seed Fresno State. Sacramento State, the four seed, will face the loser of Friday night's game tomorrow at 1 p.m. PT.

The Hornets kept the Cardinal offense at bay for three innings, dancing around some early danger and allowing just one run on a sacrifice fly in the third. After a Sacramento State error and a misplay in the the bottom of the fourth, Stanford opened things up with a four-run inning. 

"They have some big time power and can absolutely be tough to pitch too, but I think we had chances," said head coach Reggie Christiansenafter the game. "I think Scott nibbled a little bit, but even then, the first run we gave up, it was a wild pitch then a sac fly. It was the next inning, an error then they bunt and we don't make a play and suddenly it's 5-0."

On the mound, starter Scott Randall battled through 3.2 innings and was charged with five runs, though just two of them were earned. He threw 83 pitches (52 strikes).

Sophomore reliever Travis Martizia continued his impressive streak out of the bullpen on Friday, throwing 2.1 innings of one-run ball and striking out five in relief of Randall. Martizia threw 10.1 scoreless frames in the WAC Tournament last week.

"Travis came in and kept us in the game," added Christiansen. "He was outstanding last week in our tournament and he's a big part of why we're here. He's been a huge part of our bullpen all year long."

The Cardinal added runs in each of the sixth through eighth innings and hit four home runs. In total, Stanford scored its 11 runs on 13 hits and three walks.

With a runner on first in the top of the sixth, Keith Torres very nearly gave the Hornets their first runs of the game, smashing a 1-1 pitch to left field. Stanford's left fielder Kyle Stowers made a spectacular leaping grab, getting his glove up over the top of the wall and taking away a would-be two-run home run.

"I think that's the turning point in the game," said Christiansen. "We get a chance to get back in it and Stowers makes a big-time catch to rob a home run. If that ball goes out it's 5-2 and it's a different game."

Sacramento State put base runners on in six different innings, but was unable to bring any of them around to score. In total Friday afternoon, the Hornets went 0-for-14 with runners on base. They had just four total hits in the game.

The team had a chance to take an early lead when the Hornets put two runners on in the first inning. With two outs, Sacramento State was unable to come up with that timely two-out hit that seemed so prevalent in last week's WAC Tournament. 

With the loss, Sacramento State will play next at 1 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, June 1 against either UC Santa Barbara or Fresno State. The Gauchos and Bulldogs face off tonight at 7 p.m. at Sunken Diamond.