BELLEVUE, Wash. – Sacramento State rallied from down 2-0 to force extra innings but Seattle U scored on a Hornet throwing error in the bottom of the 11th to walk off with a 3-2 win in the opener of a three-game WAC series between the top two teams in the conference standings.
After a 6-0 start to WAC play Sacramento State (17-11, 6-1 WAC) took its first league loss as Seattle U (13-15, 6-1 WAC) drew even with the Hornets for the conference lead. The contest was the first road conference game of the season for Sacramento State.
Two of the three Redhawk runs were unearned as, uncharacteristically, Sacramento State committed a season-high five errors. Seattle U had four errors of its own but starter Will Dennis and reliever Ted Hammond were able to strand 11 Hornets on base in the game. Sacramento State had a 10-6 edge in hits in the contest and had men aboard in nine of the 11 innings.
Seattle U got an early run in the first inning after a one-out Hornet error, a single, and an RBI groundout from Brian Olson. The Redhawks doubled their lead in the fourth inning, drawing a pair of two-out walks with a run coming across on an RBI single from Dalton Hurd.
The Hornets left men aboard in the fifth and sixth innings but were able to cash in to tie the score in the seventh. With one away sophomore Gunner Pollman drew a walk and freshman Vinny Esposito followed with a single. Senior Scotty Burcham brought in Pollman on a single to right field but Esposito was thrown out at third. Another walk and a double-steal put two men in scoring position for senior Kyle Moses, who singled to left to bring in Burcham with the tying run.
As the game moved to extra innings the Hornets had a great chance in the top of the 10th as a single from junior Nathan Lukes and a double from junior Dane Fujinaka put men on second and third with one away. Hammond was able to get out of the inning, however, with a line out to short and a foul out to first base.
Seattle U would capitalize on its chance in the 11th. Sheldon Stober led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a throwing error. The Hornets cut down the runner at third on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt with Olson reaching at first. Another sacrifice attempt was put down by Michael McCann, and a throwing error by pitcher Austin Ragsdale enabled Olson to come all the way home from first with the winning run.
Hammond got the win in relief, throwing four scoreless innings, after Dennis allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks over seven innings. Senior Ty Nichols started for the Hornets and threw well, allowing just two runs (one earned) on two hits with four strikeouts in six innings. Ragsdale was the third Hornet reliever and threw a scoreless 10th inning before the Redhawks got the winner in the 11th.
Fujinaka went 3-for-5 in the game, his first career three-hit game, and had the only extra base hit from either team. Esposito also went 3-for-5 and Lukes continued his season-long reached base streak, now at 28 games. Moses has now reached base in 16 straight contests himself.
Stober and Hurd both had two hits for the Redhawks. The Hornets stole four bags in the game, with two steals for Burcham.
Brennan Leitao, the WAC leader in earned run average, takes the hill on Friday facing Seattle U junior Skyler Genger at 5 p.m.