SACRAMENTO, Calif. – In the longest game in the Division-I history of the program (since 1990) Sacramento State freshman Brandon Hunley drove home junior Scotty Burcham in the bottom of the 15th inning to give the Hornets a 4-3 win on Saturday.
"I just wanted to end it," said Hunley after the winning single in his seventh at-bat of the game. "Our pitchers were working really hard to get us out of jams and let us get back in there every inning, so I just wanted to get that run in. When I was running out there I didn't really think it was over until the guys started running out to the field."
Neither team scored a run over nine full innings until the walk-off hit from Hunley, and the Hornets went 10 innings between scoring runs. The four hour and 13 minute marathon saw Seattle U strand 19 runners on base and the Hornets leave 15 on base. The game was one inning longer than the previous D-I program record 14-inning game played last season vs. UT-San Antonio in the WAC Tournament.
The win also gave Sacramento State (19-11, 8-0 WAC) an 11-game winning streak, now the second longest in program history. Seattle U (11-14, 3-2 WAC) committed five errors in the game and gave up two unearned runs, but the Redhawks were mostly undone by stranding the bases loaded four times in the game, including three times in extra innings.
Burcham reached on an infield single to open the 15th and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Dane Fujinaka. Hunley, who had been 0-for-6 in the game, then banged a single through the right side of the infield and Burcham beat the throw home to give the Hornets the win.
Freshman Austin Ragsdale got the win after throwing two scoreless innings as the sixth Hornet pitcher of the game. Amazingly, Seattle U only used three pitchers in the game, with reliever Will Dennis throwing seven scoreless innings before allowing the run in his eighth inning of work. Hornet starter Sam Long allowed two runs on four hits and four walks over five innings and Redhawk sophomore starter Grant Gunning lasted just 3.2 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) off four hits and four walks.
The Hornets scored a pair of unearned runs in the first inning, with both runs scoring on a ground ball hit by senior Will Soto that went under the glove of second baseman Cullen Hendrickson and into right field.
A leadoff walk, groundout, and balk put a Redhawk runner on third with one away in the fourth inning and the run came in on an RBI groundout. The Hornets answered back in the bottom of the fourth, with Burcham scoring on an RBI single from junior Kyle Moses, but left the bases loaded after a 10-pitch at bat by junior Rhys Hoskins ended in a strikeout.
Brian Olson drove home the second Redhawk run with a double in the fifth and the visitors tied the score on a fielder's choice groundout in the sixth. That was the end of the scoring for nine innings as neither team could push a run across despite having base runners on in almost every inning.
The teams combined to throw 429 pitches in the game, 237 of which came from the Hornets. Seattle U had 24 hitters reach base in the game behind 10 hits, 11 walks, and two hit batters but pushed across just three runs. The teams combined to hit 20-of-101 (.198) for the game.
The Hornets go for the sweep and a 12th straight win in the finale of the series at noon Sunday at John Smith Field.
Video of Hunley's walk-off hit courtesy Dave Soto: