STOCKTON, Calif. -- The University of the Pacific scored five runs in the first inning and held on for a 7-2 win over Sacramento State Friday night at Billy Hebert Field.
The win improved the Tigers to 25-29 overall and 5-12 in the Big West Conference. The Hornets fell to 23-25 overall and 3-13 in conference games. The loss was also the fifth in a row for Sacramento State and guaranteed that the team will end the season in eighth place.
Pacific jumped all over starter Jeff Groeger in the first inning, scoring five runs on four hits and taking advantage of a walk and hit batter. Joel Summers opened the rally with a single and was then moved to second when Jason Walker was hit by a pitch. Richard Hackett followed with a triple to right field which cleared the bases. The throw to third was mishandled by Carlos Morales allowed Hackett to score and giving UOP a 3-0 lead. Chris Moreno continued the inning with a single and Rick Morton ended the scoring with a two-run homer to right field.
From that point, Groeger settled down allowing just four more hits and striking out nine until the ninth. The junior, who had not pitched since downing Fresno State on May 8, recorded his third-straight complete game raising his season total to four. His 10 strikeouts in the game brings his season total to 107 ranking him fourth in school history.
Sacramento State had its chances to get back into the game in the fourth inning. Aurelio Jackson opened the frame with a double and was followed by a walk and a single to load the bases with no out. After a strikeout, Chris Kinsey drew a bases-loaded walk to score Jackson. The Tigers then got out of the inning when they forced Tim Maghan to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The Hornets threatened again in the fifth, loading the bases with two outs but Walker was able to get Dae Lusk to fly out to center field. The team's other run was scored in the seventh. Jackson singled to left and the ball was mishandled allowing him to move to third. Cory Williams then grounded out to first base allowing Jackson to score.
Pacific put the game out of reach in the eight inning when Michael Fitzgerald knocked in two runs with a two-out single to center.
Walker (7-7) was just one out away from a complete game. The junior allowed just one earned run and fanned five during his 8.2 innings.
The UOP offense was led by Hackett, Moreno and Morton who each had two hits. Sacramento State was paced by Cory Williams who was 2-for-4.
The Hornets' Carlos Morales and Aurelio Jackson also extended a couple of streaks. Morales' double brought his season-best hitting streak to 14 games. Jackson, who singled and walked, has now reached safely in 57 of the team's 58 games this year.
The two teams will conclude the series and the season on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.