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BASEBALL RALLIES WITH FOUR-RUN EIGHTH INNING TO BEAT AUBURN 6-5

BASEBALL RALLIES WITH FOUR-RUN EIGHTH INNING TO BEAT AUBURN 6-5

AUBURN, Ala. - Sacramento State rallied with four runs in the eighth inning on a 2-run home run from senior Chris Lewis and a pair of RBI doubles to come back from down 5-2 and pick up a 6-5 win on Saturday in the second of a three-game series at Auburn.

Auburn (1-1) had a taken a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh on a 2-out, 3-run homer from Niko Buentello. Sacramento State (1-1) sent eight men to the plate in the next half inning, with Lewis launching a 2-run homer after Gunner Pollman led off the innings with a double.

Kody Reynolds drew a walk and Blake Edmonson, pinch running for Reynolds, scored to tie the game on an RBI double from freshman Matt Smith. With two outs and Smith at third, junior Brandon Hunley doubled down the left field line to bring in Smith with the go-ahead run.

Senior right-hander Tyler Beardsley came on for the Hornets in the bottom of the eighth and set the Tigers down in order. Auburn got a leadoff single in the ninth but Beardsley got the next three outs to earn his second career save.

The Hornets faced some very early adversity as, after striking out the first batter he faced, starting pitcher Justin Dillon was injured on his fifth pitch thrown and exited the game for precautionary reasons. Senior Grant Kukuk entered in relief and was superb, retiring the first nine batters he faced and allowing just two runs (one earned) on three hits over 4.2 innings.

The first hit Kukuk allowed, which was also Auburn's first hit of the game, was a solo home run from Joshua Palacios with one out in the fourth inning. The Hornets immediately answered back in the top of the fifth inning when sophomore left fielder Andrew McWilliam hit his first home run as a Hornet on a solo blast off the scoreboard in left center.

In the bottom of the fifth, Jordan Ebert reached on a two-base fielding error and scored on an RBI single from Blake Logan. Cody Nulph then doubled to left center but the Hornets cut down Logan at the plate to end the inning. Sacramento State again got that run right back in the top of the sixth on singles from Reynolds and sophomore Vinny Esposito and a sacrifice fly from Smith.

After Kukuk came out of the game the Tigers took their 5-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth but junior Austin Ragsdale was able to limit the damage and earn the win after Beardsley allowed just one base runner in two innings for the save.

Sacramento State had runners on base in all but one inning, finishing with nine hits including five extra-base hits. Pollman and Smith each had two hits on Saturday, with Smith driving in two runs after tallying three RBIs in the season opener on Friday.

Auburn starter Justin Camp allowed just two runs over five innings with six strikeouts before the Hornets rallied against relievers Andrew Mitchell and Marc Frazier, with Frazier taking the loss after giving up Hunley's game-winning RBI double.

Hornet pitching held Auburn to just eight hits, with only Nulph recording a multi-hit game. The Tigers hit just 3-for-12 with runners on base on Saturday after going 9-for-24 in those at-bats on Friday.

In the rubber game of the series on Sunday junior Max Karnos is scheduled to make his first start as a Hornet while Auburn will counter with a newcomer of their own in junior Gabe Klobosits. First pitch will again be at 11 a.m. Pacific time.