AUSTIN, Texas – The Sacramento State baseball team scored five runs in a wild eighth inning but the Hornets' rally came up just short, 6-5, against Texas on opening day in front of 5,638 fans at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
The Hornets (0-1) tallied five runs on nine hits with no errors while the Longhorns (1-0) posted six runs on 14 hits with two errors.
The Hornets were held scoreless on three hits through the first seven innings while the Longhorns built a 6-0 lead. But Sacramento State broke out in a big way in the eighth.
Shortstop Scotty Burcham led off the eighth with a single up the middle and moved to third on a double by freshman right fielder Nathan Lukes (pronounced LUKE-us). Will Soto was hit by a pitch to load the bases for reigning Western Athletic Conference MVP and second baseman Andrew Ayers, who drew a full-count walk to push across the Hornets' first run of the 2013 season.
With the bases still loaded, Texas brought in preseason All-American closer Corey Knoebl to get out of the jam. He was unsuccessful, as freshman All-American first baseman Rhys Hoskins doubled a 3-1 pitch off the wall in right to drive in both Soto and Lukes while Ayers advanced to third. David Del Grande singled to bring in Ayers and Hoskins scored on a wild pitch. Justin Higley followed with a walk and Chris Lewis drew another walk to load the bases once again with no outs.
Texas brought on freshman reliever Ty Marlow after Knoebl failed to record an out. On his second pitch to Greg Meyer, Texas catcher Jacob Felts picked off Del Grande at third for the first out of the inning. Meyer battled to a full count and blooped a single into center to load the bases for a third time. But Marlow was able to get Burcham to pop out to second and struck out Lukes swinging to end the threat.
Marlow sat down the first two Sacramento State batters in the ninth before Hoskins doubled for the second time to put the tying run in scoring position. But Del Grande flied out to center for the final out of the game.
"I'm really proud of the way our guys battled back," said head coach Reggie Christiansen. "Brandon Creel was outstanding keeping us in the game. We are all looking forward to tomorrow."
Hoskins finished the game 3-for-5 with two RBIs and one run while six other Hornets had one hit each.
Sacramento State starting pitcher Tanner Mendonca (0-1) took the loss after allowing four runs on seven hits in three innings with three walks and one strikeout. Creel allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits in four innings with two walks and two strikeouts.
Texas starter Parker French (1-0) earned the win after allowing just three hits and no runs through seven innings with five strikeouts and no walks. The Longhorns were paced offensively by right fielder Mark Payton who went 4-for-5 with two runs and three RBIs. Second baseman Erich Weiss was 2-for-4 with a run.
Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for first pitch at 12 p.m. PT on Saturday. The final game will be at 11 a.m. PT on Sunday.