Sacramento State second baseman Andrew Ayers and two UC Riverside players will be suspended for four games each after punches were thrown and benches cleared in the Hornets' baseball home opener Friday at John Smith Field, according to Sac State spokesman Brian Berger.
Ayers, the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a junior last season, and Eddie Young and Drake Zarate of UC Riverside were ejected from the game after the brouhaha in the third inning of Sac State's 2-1 loss. Under NCAA rules, players ejected for fighting are suspended for four games.
Young was caught in a rundown between second and third base and was tagged out by Ayers. Based on video on KCRA Channel, it appears Ayers pushed Young out of his way, and Young retaliated with two punches, the first one hitting Ayers in the jaw.
Hornets third baseman Will Soto Jr. then tackled Young, and players from both benches streamed onto the field. It's unclear what role Zarate played in the confrontation.
The Hornets (1-3) were held to just seven hits and one run in a complete game by UC Riverside's Dylan Stuart.
The Hornets' Tanner Mendonca suffered his second loss of the season, despite allowing the Highlanders (2-3) just five hits over eight innings and striking out six.
Sacramento State and UC Riverside will continue their four-game series with a doubleheader Saturday at 11 a.m. Brennan Leitao, who beat Texas last weekend, will start for the Hornets in the first game and Ty Nichols will start the second game.