COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Sacramento State rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the seventh inning and a 5-2 deficit with three runs in the top of the ninth, but in the bottom half Texas A&M third baseman Logan Nottebrok launched a 2-run walk off homer, his second 2-run shot of the game, to give the 21st-ranked Aggies a 7-5 win.
Hornet senior third baseman Will Soto came through with two outs in the ninth inning, lining a double into right center to score two runs after David Del Grande had a leadoff double in the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly. In the bottom of the ninth Blake Allemand drew a leadoff walk and Nottebrok hit a no doubter over the left field wall for his third home run of the season.
The rally in the ninth was the second time the Hornets were able to tie the score, but after both rallies the Aggies came back with runs in the bottom half of those innings. Texas A&M jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning as Hornet starter Brennan Leitao walked the bases loaded and Aggie first baseman Cole Lankford double to center to score two, though the Hornets gunned down a potential third run at the plate.
Leitao settled down and got through five innings with no further damage, but Aggie starter Parker Ray held the Hornets in check until the seventh inning. Del Grande had a one-out single in the seventh and a two-out knock by shortstop Scotty Burcham chased Ray from the game. Lefty A.J. Minter came in and walked Nathan Lukes to load the bases before freshman Brandon Hunley came through with a two-run single to left even the score.
Hornet junior Alex Palsha came on in the bottom of the seventh and after a leadoff single and bunt Allemand drove home the go ahead run. Nottebrok then followed with his first 2-run blast out to left center to put the Aggies up 5-2.
Texas A&M went to closer Jason Jester in the ninth and Del Grande greeted him with a double to left on the first pitch he threw. With one away and Del Grande at third Burcham hit a sacrifice fly to center but made the second out. Lukes battled for seven-pitch walk to keep the game alive and Jester followed with a four-pitch walk to Hunley. Soto then lined a double to right center to bring in both runners and tie the game, though he was out at third trying to stretch his hit to a triple.
Sacramento State junior Dallas Chadwick returned to the mound in the bottom of the ninth after a scoreless eighth inning but the leadoff walk and home run gave Texas A&M the second game of the series.
Leitao's final line was two runs on four hits and five walks with one strikeout over five innings. Del Grande finished 3-4 in the game with two runs scored while Lukes reached base four times out of the leadoff spot with a single and three walks. Nottebrok was 0-3 in the game and hadn't hit a ball out of the infield before his consecutive 2-run homers in the seventh and ninth.
In the rubber match of the series at 11 a.m. Pacific time Sunday Hornet freshman Jared Paderez will face Aggies sophomore RHP Grayson Long.