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HOTTMANâ€™S WALK-OFF GRAND SLAM LIFTS BASEBALL PAST FRESNO STATE 9-8
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Freshman Brent Hottman connected on a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth, completing a six-run ninth inning comeback that gave the Sacramento State baseball team a 9-8 win over visiting Fresno State on May 16 at Hornet Field.
With the win, the Hornets improved to 22-30, 13-15 in Western Athletic Conference play, while the Bulldogs, who came into the game in first place in the conference, fell to 31-26, 19-10 in the WAC.
Despite the high score, the game started off as a pitching duel between Fresno State starter Justin Wilson and Hornet sophomore Trevor York. The Hornets were able to manufacture the first run of the game in the bottom of the third, as senior Travis Kirkman doubled to lead off the inning, was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior Taylor Watanabe, and driven in on a sacrifice fly by senior Ryan Blair to make the score 1-0.
Fresno State tied it at 1-1 in the top of the fourth on a lead off home run by Erik Wetzel, his fifth of the season. The Hornets fought right back in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead, as following a lead off double by junior Gabe Jacobo and a single by senior Wes Oberlin, sophomore Tim Wheeler produced a RBI ground out to give Sacramento State a 2-1 lead.
The score remained that went until the bottom of the sixth, as Sacramento State added an insurance run to take a 3-1 advantage. Following back-to-back singles to start the inning by Oberlin and Wheeler, junior Blake Crosby sacrificed them to second and third respectively. With one out and an 0-1 count, the suicide squeeze was on, and junior Jeff Roth laid down a perfect bunt, bringing home Oberlin to provide a two-run cushion.
Fresno State cut the lead to one with a two out rally in the seventh, as Danny Muno connected on a RBI single, bringing in Jordan Ribera to make the score 3-2. With York out of the game, the Bulldogs took the lead in the top of the eighth, as Tommy Mendonca provided a RBI double, which was followed by a two-run single by Ryan Overland, giving Fresno State their first lead at 5-3.
The Bulldogs increased their lead in the top of the ninth, as Gavin Hedstrom connected on a sacrifice fly and Alan Ahmady hit a two-run single, giving Fresno State an 8-3 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Following a strike out to begin the inning, senior David Flores walked and Jacobo doubled to start the rally in the ninth. Following another out, Wheeler drew a walk, loading the bases for Crosby, who hit a RBI single up the middle to make the score 8-4. Senior Jeff Hannah then got a RBI as he drew a walk, keeping the inning alive, and making the score 8-5.
This set the stage for Hottman, who had come in to start the ninth as a defensive replacement. With the count 2-2, Hottman uncorked a long drive beyond the left field wall, off of the parking structure for his first career home run, giving the Hornets an improbable 9-8 come from behind victory.
Neither starter factored in the decision, although both had strong outings. Miller allowed three runs on eight hits in 7.1 innings of work, walking three and striking out four for the Bulldogs. For the Hornets, York went seven innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, surrendering one walk while striking out three. Both pitchers left the game over the 100 pitch mark. Freshman Chris Baek (1-1) picked up his first career win, allowing two runs on four hits in an inning of work. Jason Breckley (1-2) picked up the loss for the Bulldogs, allowing the home run to Hottman, the only batter he faced.
Beyond the four RBI day for Hottman, the Hornets had five players collect one RBI: Blair, Crosby, Hannah, Jacobo, and Roth. Jacobo and Crosby both went 2-for-4, and were the only two Hornets to record more than one hit. Fresno State had 3-for-4 days from both Wetzel and Mendonca, with both pitching in with a run batted in.
The game was played in temperatures well over 100 degrees, as a record setting heatwave has produced record-high temperatures for the second straight day in Sacramento.
The two teams will do battle again tomorrow in a doubleheader, with the first contest beginning at 11 a.m. at Hornet Field.
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