AUBURN, Ala. – Sacramento State used an 8th-inning rally again to draw even with Auburn and won the game with a run in the 12th inning in a 7-6 victory on Sunday and a series win.
Sacramento State (2-1) began its season-opening, eight-game road trip wining a series against a power conference school. After scoring four runs in the eighth inning to go on to a 6-5 win on Saturday the Hornets scored twice in the eighth on Sunday to tie the game and force extra innings.
Auburn (1-2) held a 6-4 lead after the sixth inning but was held scoreless for the next six innings after that as Hornet relievers Tyler Beardsley and Chad Perry allowed just two hits over the last five innings of the contest.
The Hornets nearly took the lead in the 10th inning but, after a leadoff double, Trent Goodrich was cut down at the plate on a single from junior Brandon Hunley. Sacramento State got another leadoff double from freshman Matt Smith in the 12th inning and turned it into the winning run after a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly from Goodrich.
Auburn had a leadoff walk and a single in the bottom of the 12th, putting runners on first and second with one away, but Perry got Kyler Dees to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
Smith finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run, hitting 6-for-11 (.545) with six RBIs in his first collegiate series. Hunley, Goodrich, and Andrew McWilliam all had two hits and a run and RBI as well, with Hunley and McWilliam both scoring twice.
Both team's starters lasted just three innings before both bullpens settled things down. After starter Max Karnos came out of the game sophomore Jonny Palsha threw two scoreless innings before sophomore Ryan Smith allowed just one run in two innings,
After two scoreless innings and a save on Saturday Beardsley threw three scoreless inning on Sunday, allowing just one hit and two walks. Perry permitted just a hit and a walk in two innings to earn the win, throwing a perfect bottom of the 11th on just five pitches before the Hornets took the lead. In all, Sacramento State's four relievers on Sunday combined to allow just one run and only three hits over nine innings of work.
The teams combined to score nine runs over the first three innings of the game. The Hornets scored twice in their first at-bat, when McWilliam led off with a bunt single, stole second, and scored on an RBI double from senior Chris Lewis. After a walk Lewis moved to third base on a fly ball and scored on a sacrifice fly from Smith.
Auburn answered quickly, opening the bottom of the first inning with a walk and a single before Niko Buentello cleared the bases with a 3-run homer to center. Sacramento State came right back with a pair of two-out runs in the top of the second, with Hunley scoring on an RBI single by McWilliam and, after two walks, McWilliam coming in on a wild pitch.
The Tigers regained the lead with two runs in the third on four hits and a Hornet error but stranded the bases loaded. The home team made it a 6-4 score in the sixth inning when leadoff hitter Anfernee Grier singled, stole second, went to third on a balk, and scored on a groundout.
In the eighth inning, Goodrich led off with a walk and Hunley double him in. After a sacrifice bunt Hunley scored the tying run on a wild pitch, and the score remained level into extra innings.
Six different Hornets drove in runs and all nine starters scored at least one run during the series. In addition, all nine starters had at least two hits in the series while Sacramento State totaled nine extra-base hits over the last two games with a pair of home runs and seven doubles.
Sacramento State remains in the South and will play a pair of midweek games on Tuesday and Wednesday at Northwestern State, a member of the Southland Conference located in Natchitoches, La., before a series next weekend at No. 5 LSU.