PHOENIX, Ariz. – Sacramento State took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, but Grand Canyon rallied for two singles and three walks to earn a 3-2 walk-off win in the first of a three game set in Phoenix.
Sacramento State (20-13, 9-1 WAC) took its first conference loss after sweeping each of its first three WAC series of the season and dropped its second straight contest after a 12-game winning streak. Grand Canyon (17-14, 7-3 WAC) improved to 10-2 at home this season while handing the Hornets just their second loss of the year when leading after six innings.
Each of the two Hornet runs were unearned, and both came after senior David Del Grande led off an inning and reached on an error by Antelope third baseman Ben Mauseth. The first occurrence was in the fourth inning as a throwing error by the third baseman got Del Grande aboard, he advanced to second on a throwing error by pitcher Coley Burns on a failed pick-off attempt, and came around to score on a sacrifice fly from senior Will Soto.
Grand Canyon drew even in the seventh when catcher Humberto Aranda hit the foul pole in right field for a home run leading off the inning. The Hornets got the run back in the top of the eighth after Del Grande reached on a second error by Mauseth and scored on a double by junior Rhys Hoskins. The Hornets left five men on base over the seventh and eighth innings, however, and took just a one-run lead into the ninth.
Chad De La Guerra greeted Hornet closer Sutter McLoughlin with a single to lead off the ninth, and McLoughlin walked the next three batters to force home the tying run. With the bags full and nobody out GCU first baseman Michael Pomeroy then sliced a long single down the left field line to bring home the winning run.
Sacramento State starter Brennan Leitao was superb, allowing just one run on five hits with five strikeouts over seven innings of work. Grand Canyon starter Jorge Perez had to depart due to injury after throwing just four pitches and getting the first out of the game, and Coley Bruns, who was scheduled to start on Sunday, came in and threw 6.2 innings allowing two unearned runs on six hits and three walks with seven strikeouts.
No Hornet had more than one hit in the game, with Del Grande scoring both runs despite going 0-for-4. De La Guerra and Pomeroy each had two hits for GCU and reliever Malcom Purdy earned the win after throwing two scoreless innings in relief of Bruns. The Hornets left nine men on base for the game while the Antelopes left seven.
Sacramento State looks to bounce back on Saturday with freshman sensation Sam Long getting the start against Grand Canyon sophomore Andrew Naderer. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. live on HornetSports.com/Radio.