PULLMAN, Wash. -- Junior Ethan Katz earned his eighth win of the season and freshman Mick Joyce tallied his first career save to lead the Sacramento State baseball team to a 3-1 win over Washington State, Sunday afternoon at Bailey-Brayton Field. With the win, Hornet head coach John Smith won his 750th career game.
The Hornets improved to 26-31 on the year while the Cougars fell to 24-20.
Washington State took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning after an RBI single up the middle by Jeremy Farrar.
Sacramento State evened the score in the top of the fourth after senior Jack Arroyo stole home with two outs. Arroyo led off the inning by drawing a walk from Cougar starter Aaron McKenzie and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Craig Johnson. After stealing third base, Arroyo broke for home on a 2-1 pitch and slid across the plate before the pitch reached the catcher.
The Hornets took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when junior Bret LeVier hit an RBI single. Junior Pedro Santiago led off the inning with a base hit to center field. After advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Matt Wilson, Santiago scored on a base hit through the right side by LeVier.
The Cougars threatened in the bottom of the fifth with the bases loaded and one out but Katz struck out Jay Miller and forced Grant Richardson to groundout to third to end the inning.
Sacramento State ended another WSU threat in the bottom of the sixth when Justin Hart was gunned down at third while trying to stretch a double. With two outs, Hart hit a double over the head of Johnson in right. Johnson collected the ball off the wall and hit Arroyo in short right for the relay. Hart was out on the play when Arroyo threw a perfect strike to senior John Acha at third for the tag.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Hornet defense came up big again with the Cougars threatening. With two on and no outs, Grant Richardson layed down a bunt towards first. Flowers, who charged to within three feet of the plate before the pitch, snared the ball and threw to third base for the force out. In the next at-bat, senior Renecke Stelzriede snagged a comebacker off the bat of Zach McAngus and induced an inning-ending double play.
Sacramento State increased its lead to 3-1 in the top of the ninth after an RBI single by junior Ryan Browne. Junior Ronnie Machado, Jr., led off the inning with a single to left and then advanced to second on a passed ball. With runners on first and third and one out, Browne looped a single to right to score Machado, Jr., from third.
In the bottom of the ninth, stellar pitching by freshman Mick Joyce ended the final Cougar threat to preserve the win. With runners on first and second and no outs, Joyce entered the contest and forced Zach Costuros to ground into a double play on his second pitch. Zach Franklin followed with a flyout to right field to end the game.
Katz (8-5) earned the win after allowing only one run on eight hits while walking three and striking out two in 7.0 innings of work. Joyce earned the save after throwing a perfect ninth.
McKenzie (5-6) was tagged with the loss after giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits while walking one and striking out seven in 8.0 innings.
Junior Matt Wilson also gunned down two base runners to contribute to the Hornet defense.
Sacramento State and Washington State will play the series finale on Monday, May 10, at 11 a.m.