BASEBALL FALLS TO FRESNO STATE IN WAC TOURNEY, WILL PLAY LA TECH IN MUST-WIN GAME ON FRIDAY
FRESNO, Calif. – Sacramento State catcher Buddy Morales cut Fresno State’s lead to two runs with a solo home run in the top of the eighth, but the Bulldogs pieced together six runs in the bottom of the inning to secure a 10-2 victory Thursday night at Pete Beiden Field in Game 1 of the Western Athletic Conference postseason tournament.
Sacramento State (20-36) now moves on to play fifth-seed Louisiana Tech at 11 a.m. on Friday in a must-win game of the double-elimination tournament. Fresno State (40-16), seeded first after winning the regular season conference championship and ranked 21st in the country, will play San Jose State at 3 p.m. The Hornets’ second game of the tourney can be heard on www.hornetsports.com and followed on live video at www.wacsports.com.
For Morales it was his fourth blast of the season, finishing the game 3-for-4 and also scoring the Hornets other run in the top of the fourth. Currently on a four-game hitting streak and recently named to the WAC first team, Morales is batting .339 on the year.
Sacramento State starter John Schlager (1-2) took the loss for the Hornets, pitching seven innings and surrendering six runs (four earned) on six hits, while striking out three.
Until the eighth, Schalger had just given up four hits to Fresno State.
Reliever James Wheeler took over with no outs in the eighth and allowed four runs (two earned) on three hits.
Fresno State left fielder Ozzie Lewis added to the Bulldogs’ 4-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth, answering Morales with a solo home run of his own to left. Lewis, who finished the game 4-for-5 with four RBIs, sparked a six -run inning for the Bulldogs.
Fresno State had two shots go beyond the wall, with first baseman Kent Sakamoto hitting a two-out homer, his third of the season, giving the Bulldogs a 4-1 lead in the fifth. Sakamoto finished the game 2-for-5, the only other Bulldog to record multiple hits.
Right-hander Doug Fister (8-5) pitched 8.0 innings in the win for Fresno State, limiting the Hornets to two runs (one earned) on five hits, while striking out eight.
Morales put Sacramento State on the board in the top of the fourth, leading off with a single and then scoring from second when David Flores drove a ball down the first base line that was mishandled by Sakamoto.
In the bottom of the inning, Flores then prevented Fresno State from reaching with a diving stop up the gap to end the inning.
Lewis put Fresno State ahead 3-0 with a two-out, two-run single up the middle, scoring Sandell and Wetzel in the bottom of the second.
Fresno State had an early 1-0 lead after the first. Schlager had the bases loaded with one out and Nick Moresi’s RBI-groundout scored Susdorf for the Bulldogs’ only run of the inning.