SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sophomore Brandon Hunley hit a two-run homer and the Hornets outhit Grand Canyon 13-10 but the Antelopes held Sacramento State scoreless after the second inning in a 6-3 win on Saturday at John Smith Field.
Grand Canyon (32-22, 19-7 WAC) claimed the regular season WAC title with the win but is ineligible for the WAC Tournament as it transitions to Division I. The loss and other outcomes on Saturday dropped Sacramento State (30-25, 16-11 WAC) into a tie with North Dakota for fourth place in the final conference standings.
The Hornets will be the No. 4 seed for the WAC Tournament because North Dakota has the tiebreaker winning the season series between the teams. Seattle U finished second in the standings and, with Grand Canyon ineligible, is the top seed for the WAC Tournament. CSU Bakersfield is second followed by North Dakota, the Hornets, Utah Valley, and Northern Colorado.
Sacramento State will play in the first game of the WAC Tournament in Mesa, Ariz. at 3 p.m. Wednesday against fifth-seeded Utah Valley. Coincidentally, Utah Valley was the team the Hornets beat twice in the league tournament last season to claim the title. In the series between the teams this year, however, Utah Valley took 2 of 3 games at home in Orem, Utah.
On Saturday Grand Canyon took a 2-0 lead in the first inning scoring two runs with two out after a Hornet throwing error. Sacramento State put up a three-spot in the second inning, as junior Chris Lewis led off with a single before Hunley cranked a two-run homer high off the parking structure beyond the left field wall.
The Hornets picked up a third run in the second inning after a single by freshman Dan Deely and a two-out RBI single from junior Nathan Lukes. Senior Scotty Burcham followed with a single and senior Kyle Moses looked to have an RBI knock but GCU right fielder Garrison Schwartz made a sliding catch to end the inning.
Grand Canyon strung together three singles in the fourth inning to tie the score and took the lead in the fifth inning on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly from first baseman Rouric Bridgewater. In the eight inning, GCU third baseman Ben Mauseth, who hit the game-winning 2-run homer in the 11th inning yesterday, came through again with a two-run shot to right to extend the Antelope lead to 6-3.
The Hornets had runners on base in the 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th innings but could not score and Grand Canyon reliever Mick Vorhof set the home team down in order in the ninth. Sacramento State stranded 10 runners overall in the game hitting 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
Lukes, Deely, and freshmen Vinny Esposito and Bronson Grubbs all had two-hit games as seven of the nine Hornet starting position players had a hit. Four Antelopes had multi-hit lines and the squad struck out just two times.
Five Grand Canyon pitchers combined for five strikeouts and no walks. Reliever Cameron Brendel got the win throwing 3.2 scoreless innings of relief. Hornet sophomore Justin Dillon was tagged with the loss allowing four runs (two earned) on eight hits and one walk over 4.1 innings.
All Sacramento State games at the WAC Tournament will be broadcast live on hornetsports.com/radio as the Hornets look to repeat as tournament champion and return to the NCAA Regionals.