A late surge by the Sacramento State Hornets (3-3) handed Pacific baseball (6-1) its first loss of the season on Saturday night in Sacramento, 5-2.
The game's two starting pitchers, Pacific's junior right-handed pitcher Ryan Shreve and Sac State's sophomore righty Scott Randall battled in a true pitcher's duel with both pitchers logging quality starts. Shreve tossed six complete innings allowing four hits, a run and a walk with eight strikeouts. Randall earned the win in 7.0 innings of work while striking out seven with three hits, a run and a walk. The Hornets came out on top following Shreve's departure from the game; he received a no-decision despite his second-straight strong start.
Shreve got himself going early. He was welcomed to the game by Sacramento State leadoff hitter, Brandon Grubbs, crushed a liner right back at him. Shreve got his glove up just in time to protect himself and also make an incredible snag near his head to log the game's first out.
He would go on to allow a single in the first but would retire six-straight batters into the third inning.
The Tigers opened the scoring in the top of the fourth inning when senior Bradley Jekich reached on a fielder's choice before stealing second. In the next at-bat, junior Carter Hayes ripped a single into centerfield to score Jekich and make it a 1-0 Tiger lead.
In the sixth, Shreve retired the side in order in what would be his final clean inning of the game. In the bottom of the seventh, he gave up a leadoff home run to freshman catcher Martin Vincelli-Simard that would tie the game and end Shreve's day.
Shreve boasts a 0.64 ERA with 16 strikeouts, seven hits allowed and one walk in his first 14.0 innings pitched to start the season.
Freshman Elijah Birdsong came in to pitch for Shreve and allowed a single to his first batter, Dawson Bacho. A wild pitch two at-bats later and a two-out single allowed Bacho to reach third. Then, Birdsong's second wild pitch of the inning allowed Bacho to score to give Sacramento State its first lead which it would not give up.
Sophomore pitcher Travis Martizia took over for Randall in the top of the eighth and retired the Tigers in order.
In the bottom of the eighth, Birdsong got the inning's first out before being taken out of the game for senior Samson Abernathy who made his first appearance of the year. Abernathy hit the first batter he faced, which would eventually advance to second with a steal. With one out, Aaron Zeidman singled to right field to score two Hornets and make it 4-1. Zeidman would steal second then advanced to third on a wild pitch before the fourth wild pitch in two innings from Pacific pitchers would allow Zeidman to score and make it 5-1.
In the top of the ninth, senior Nate Verlin singled as the leadoff hitter to right field then advanced to second on a groundout in the next at-bat. Two batters later, freshman Ben Nemivant hit a pinch-hit single to score Jekich and make it 5-2. However, a two-out rally would not bring the Tigers back as Martizia forced the final Tiger batter to fly out to right to end the game in his first save of the year.
The loss marked the end of Pacific's longest win streak to start a season at six games. Pacific can bounce back with a win tomorrow to clinch the series in a 2 p.m. game in Sacramento.