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TOP-SEEDED FRESNO STATE HANDS BASEBALL 10-2 LOSS IN FIRST ROUND OF WAC TOURNAMENT
RENO, Nev. — For the second straight season, the Sacramento State baseball team opened the Western Athletic Conference Tournament with a 10-2 loss to top-seeded Fresno State. This year’s edition featured six late runs from the Bulldogs, including five after a controversial call, Thursday afternoon at Peccole Park on the Nevada campus.
After the Hornets scored in the top of the seventh inning on Gabe Jacobo’s 14th home run of the season to make the score 4-2, the Bulldogs posted five two-out runs to put the game out of reach. Sacramento State starter Mick Joyce struck out the leadoff batter before allowing a single through the right side of the infield. After a foul out, Erik Wetzel slapped a ball to right to put runners on first and second. The Hornets appeared to end the inning when Loren Storey’s ground ball was charged by Blake Crosby at short and thrown to first. However, Storey was ruled safe, and following an argument from head coach John Smith, the inning continued. Brian Lapin made the most of the Bulldogs’ extra life by hitting a grand slam over the left center fence. A single from Steve Susdorf ended Joyce’s day and reliever Tyler Axelrod was greeted by a triple from Ozzie Lewis which scored the final run of the inning.
The Hornets scored the first run of the game when designated hitter Jeff Hannah doubled to left to score Tim Wheeler without a throw to the plate. The lead, however, did not last through the inning as Fresno State scored four in the bottom of the second.
With two outs and no one on, the Bulldogs knocked out four hits and were also hit by a pitch. The big blows came on a two-run double from Erik Wetzel and a two-run single from Storey.
Joyce then settled into a groove, facing the minimum 12 batters over the next four innings. In fact, from the final out of the second through the first out of the seventh, Joyce retired 12 of the 13 batters that stepped to the plate. The senior also had his best control of the season, striking out five without a walk in 6.2 innings of work.
Aside from the two innings in which the team scored, Sacramento State’s next best chance to plate a run came in the fourth. With one out, Jacobo on third, Wheeler on first and Montana Dye at the plate, Sacramento State put Wheeler in motion on a 3-2 pitch. The play, however, backfired when Dye was called out on a high strike and Jacobo was then caught in a rundown between home and third to end the inning.
The Hornet offense was led by Jacobo who was 2-for-4 with an RBI. The sophomore now has 24 multi-hit games this season and extended his hitting streak to a career high eight games. His home run also moved him into a tie for seventh place in school single season history with 14.
Crosby, Wheeler, Dye, Hannah and pinch hitter Wes Oberlin picked up the team’s other five hits.
Fresno State did most of its damage from the top of the lineup where the top three spots in the order combined to go 7-of-15.
Bulldog starter Clayton Allison improved to 10-4 with a complete-game victory. Allison scattered seven hits and two runs while striking out six and walking two.
Sacramento State will next face the loser of tonight’s Nevada-Hawai’i game. First pitch will come at 11 a.m. on Friday morning.
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