SACRAMENTO, Calif. – It was a season-high night for the University of the Pacific baseball team, as it defeated the Sacramento State Hornets, 14-7, on Tuesday.
The Tigers improve to 13-18 on the season while the Hornets fall to 16-15 overall.
In the opening inning, the Tigers came out on fire with four straight hits with Matthew Tarantino starting the hitting streak. Tarantino singled to left field to grab the first hit of the game followed by Nate Verlin with a single out to right field. Verlin's hit allowed Tarantino to advance to third to set up the scoring run.
James Free stepped up and continued his hitting streak with a single to center field that scored Tarantino and moved Verlin to second. Lucas Halstead fed off the energy and singled to right field to load the bases.
With no outs, Bradley Jekich walked up and hit a sacrifice fly to score Verlin to give the Tigers a quick 2-0 lead and forced the Hornets to hit the bullpen early and brought in Austin Ragsdale to relieve Ty Fox and get the final two outs of the inning.
In the bottom of the first, Sacramento State answered back to the Orange and Black's opening inning with James Outman hitting a double to right field with one out to land on base for the Hornets. Vinny Esposito was walked to place runners on first and second. Matt Smith followed with a single to center field that allowed Outman to score but the Tigers got out of the inning with two fly outs to keep the lead, 2-1.
In the third, the Tigers slowed down a little bit, as Free led off and was walked to reach first. Lucas Halstead doubled to right field and advanced Free to third. Jekich singled to center field to score Free and push the lead up to 3-1 but the Hornets answered back in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game on a two-run homer to right field, 3-3.
The Orange and Black let the momentum continue at the top of the fourth. With one out, Tarantino doubled to left field to tally another hit on the night.
With two outs, Free smashed a two-run homer over the right field fence to score Tarantino and give the lead back to the Tigers at 5-3, and start another hitting trend. Halstead singled to right field followed by a double to right center by Jekich to score Halstead and push the lead up to 6-3.
Alex LeForestier continued to run up the score on the Hornets with a single to center field to score Jekich. Still with two outs, Carter Hayes doubled to left field to score LeForestier followed by a single to right field by Kevin Sandri to score Hayes, causing the Hornets to change pitchers to get out of the inning.
The Orange and Black scored two runs in the fifth. Free singled to right field to push Verlin to third, who went on to score on a wild pitch by the Hornets. Jekich singled to left field to score Free and advance Halstead to third before the inning ended.
In the sixth, Verlin let it fly over the right field fence for his first home run on the season to score Sandri and Hayes and gave the Tigers a 14-7 victory over Sacramento State.
The Orange and Black set new season-highs in hits (19), runs (14), and home runs (2).
Jekich led the Tigers offense with a career and season high four RBI in three hits and one run. Verlin went 2-for-3 from the plate with his first season home run, scored three runs and brought in two. Free scored three runs for a new career and season high and finished 4-for-5 on the night. Halstead tallied three hits and scored one run.
Tarantino (3-for-6), Sandri (2-for-4), Hayes (1-for-4), and LeForestier (1-for-3) round out the Tiger hitters.
Pacific returns home to host Gonzaga for a three-game series starting on Friday, April 13 with first pitch set for 6:00 p.m.