Pacific baseball (5-0) rolled to its best start in program history with an 11-3 victory over Sacramento State (2-2) on Thursday night at Klein Family Field.
Pacific took a 1-0 lead in the second and blew the game out of reach with a six-run eighth inning to hammer the Hornets in their fifth-straight victory. Like in the team's first four games, the offense was potent and never slowed throughout while the Tiger pitching staff locked down opposing hitters.
Redshirt senior Nate Verlin's four-RBIs led the team and was his second game of the season with at least three RBIs. Freshman catcher Jeremy Lea crushed his first career home run with three RBIs and junior infielder Grant Mona kept his outstanding start to his Pacific career going. He plated an RBI in his fifth-straight game to take his season total to seven. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Henrik Reinertsen earned his first career victory in an inning and two-thirds of work.
An inning later, the first three Tigers reached safely to bring junior catcher James Free to the plate. He hit into a fielder choice to score junior Keaton Glover to double the Tiger lead.
Sophomore lefty Lucas Sweany got the start for the Tigers and took care of business through the first four innings. In the fifth, he retired the first batter of the inning but allowed a one-out single In the next at-bat a double scored Sacramento State's first run of the game. Two batters later, another double plated the second run in the inning to spell the end of Sweany's day.
Sweany struck out five while allowing five hits a walk and two earned runs in the no-decision.
Sweany gave way to Reinertsen who retired the final out of the inning.
The tie game did not last long as Pacific answered in the bottom of the fifth when Verlin singled to score Glover for the second time of the night to re-take the lead, 3-2.
Sacramento State briefly tied the game again in the top of the sixth inning when a hit batsmen and a passed ball placed a runner on second. A few pitches later, Lea's inning went from bad to worse as he allowed another passed ball then threw to third to try to catch the advancing runner, but the ball went into left field to allow the runner to score and tie the game 3-3.
In the bottom of the sixth, Lea redeemed himself when he hit a two-run home run to break the tie again and make it a 5-3 game.
Reinertsen's night came to an end in the seventh. He retired the inning's first batter, but walked one and allowed a single before leaving the game for sophomore right-handed pitcher Nick Swanson. Reinertsen struck out three and allowed a hit and a run in the victory.
The Tigers put the game out of reach in the eighth inning when they scored six runs in the bottom of the inning. Sophomore catcher Bryce Kirk got things going with a pinch-hit single with no outs. Hayes and Jekich both singled to load the bases and Lea was hit by a pitch in the next at-bat to score a run. In the next at-bat, Mona flew out to right to score a run and Glover doubled in the next at-bat to make it an 8-3 lead for Pacific. Verlin crushed a homer to right center to score the final runs of the game and make it an 11-3 scoreline. Verlin's four-RBI game brought his season total to eight, which leads the Tigers.
The win clinched Pacific's first 5-0 start in program history. With two more wins, the Tigers can tie the fourth-longest win streak in program history of seven games. The longest win streak in program history is 22 wins which was set in 1994.
Pacific hosts Sacramento State again tomorrow in the final game at Klein Family Field of the series before heading to Sacramento for the final two games on Saturday and Sunday.