BASEBALL BEGINS WAC TOURNAMENT WITH 3-2 LOSS IN 14TH INNING
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — RJ Perucki's home run on the first pitch of the bottom of the 14th inning provided UTSA with a 3-2 win over Sacramento State in the first game of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament on Wednesday at QuikTrip Park.
The home run broke a 2-2 tie which had stood since the Hornets tied the game in the top of the eighth inning. The 14-inning affair is the longest game in WAC Tournament history, breaking the 13-inning championship game from a year ago which featured Sacramento State and Fresno State.
The Hornets (33-24) led 1-0 after Andrew Ayers hit a home run just inside the left field foul pole in the third inning. UTSA (32-23) tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with the help of a leadoff double from Jesse Baker who scored on a pair of groundouts.
The Roadrunners took their first lead of the game in the sixth inning when Baker hit his fourth home run of the season over the left field wall.
In the eighth inning, Dane Fujinaka led off with a single to left field. He scored two batters later when Nathan Lukes tripled with a shot to left center which split the UTSA outfielders. That hit ended the day for Roadrunner starter Brock Hartson as he was replaced by Matt Sims. Sims promptly forced a foul out to the catcher and, following a walk, a fly out to right.
Hornet starter Brennan Leitao threw seven strong innings, scattering six hits with two strikeouts and a walk. He gave way to Sutter McLoughlin to start the eighth and the freshman tossed four perfect innings, retiring all 12 batters he faced.
Sacramento State's best chance to take the lead came in the 11th inning when Justin Higley singled up the middle with one out and David Del Grande followed with a walk. The pair both moved up 90 feet following a balk before Scotty Burcham was intentionally walked to load the bases. After two failed safety squeeze attempts, the rally ended with a 4-6-3 double play.
UTSA's first base runner in extra innings came with a leadoff walk in the 13th. However, Brandon Creel, who entered to pitch the 12th, forced a double play ball to short to erase the runner.
Ayers was the lone Hornet with a pair of hits, going 2-for-6. Baker was 3-for-5 and Perucki was 2-for-6 to lead the Roadrunners.
Sacramento State will play top-seeded CSU Bakersfield on Thursday at 5 p.m. PDT.
NOTES: McLoughlin's four innings were a season high…the Hornets had 29 flyouts compared to just six groundouts…the game marked just the second extra-inning contest for the Hornets this season…the team has lost its last three WAC Tournament games dating back to last season…Sacramento State's current four-game losing streak matches its season long.