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March 5, 2014

DEL GRANDE DELIVERS WALK OFF WIN FOR BASEBALL OVER #24 FRESNO STATE

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A leadoff single by Scotty Burcham and a Bulldog error gave Sacramento State runners on the corners with none out in a 1-1 game in the 10th and senior David Del Grande came through with a bloop single to center to give Sacramento State a 2-1 win over No. 24 Fresno State on Wednesday at Raley Field.

The victory was the second of the season for Sacramento State (7-6) over Fresno State (9-3) and ended the Bulldog's six-game winning streak. It was also the second Hornet win this season against a ranked opponent.

"I knew he was going to challenge me with a fastball and somehow I found a little bit of bat and they were playing infield in and it worked its way over them," Del Grande said. "I wanted to be in that situation and it worked out. Our pitchers did a great job getting outs when we needed them and our defense played like we are capable of and we just did what we need to do to win."

The game was scoreless into the eighth inning, with Fresno State stranding seven runners on base through the first seven innings. In the eighth the Bulldogs started the inning with a single and double to put two men in scoring position and a sacrifice fly from junior Trent Woodward brought a run in, though the Hornets were able to turn a double play on the fly out and get the trail runner out trying to advance.

In the bottom of the eighth the Hornets had runners on the corners with one away but Fresno State was able to get a second out on a fielder's choice. Sophomore Nathan Lukes then hit a groundball to third that was misplayed by Bulldog third baseman Chris Mariscal, allowing Lukes to reach and pinch runner Kyle Moses to come in from third with the tying run.

Hornet sophomore closer Sutter McLoughlin pitched the ninth and tenth innings, retiring all six batters he faced on just 17 pitches, 14 of which were strikes. Burcham then had the leadoff single in the home half of the tenth and freshman Gunner Pollman laid down a sacrifice bunt that was thrown into center field by Bulldog pitcher Jake Shull, allowing Burcham to get to third before Del Grande's winning hit.

"This was an important game for us after we didn't play like we should over the weekend," Del Grande said. "We came in here and played our kind of baseball, with good defense and good pitching, and we found a way to get some runs across the board."

Both Hornet runs scored in the game were unearned as Sacramento State played its first extra-inning game of the season. McLoughlin improved to 2-0 this season, in addition to his WAC-leading four saves, and Shull took the loss. Fresno State got its leadoff batter on in six of the first eight innings of the game but hit into three double plays while stranding seven base runners for the game. The Hornets hit into four double plays while leaving five on base.

Del Grande was the only Hornet to record a multi-hit game, finishing 2-for-4, while Woodward paced the Bulldogs with a 2-for-3 line. Hornet freshman Sam Long turned in another quality start, allowing just four hits with three walks and three strikeouts over six innings. Junior William Munro started for the Bulldogs and allowed just four hits through 5.2 innings followed by four Fresno State relievers. Despite going to extra innings, the game lasted just two hours and 25 minutes.

Sacramento State returns to the road this weekend for three games in Riverside. The Hornets will face UC Riverside on Friday night and Sunday afternoon while playing West Virginia in a neutral-site contest on Saturday afternoon.

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