EDINBURG, Texas – In a pitcher's duel with a wild finish UT Rio Grande Valley starter Johnny Gonzalez threw 127 pitches in a complete game win as the Vaqueros held on for a 3-2 victory over the Hornets in the opener of a three-game series Friday night.
The Vaqueros improved to 18-16 overall and 7-3 in WAC play while the league-leading Hornets moved to 22-15 and 10-3 in the WAC. UTRGV announced before the game that, due to rain forecasted on Sunday, the teams will instead complete the series with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at noon Pacific time.
UT Rio Grande Valley broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. With two out and a man on first Correy Davis delivered an RBI double into the left center gap and Jacob Huckabay followed with an RBI single.
Hornet senior Trent Goodrich led off the ninth inning with a bunt single but Gonzalez retired the next two batters to move one out away from a win. Senior Josh Egan came through with a pinch hit single to keep the Hornets alive before freshman James Outman drew a walk.
With the bases loaded and two away sophomore Bronson Grubbs hit an infield single to short to bring in Goodrich from third. On the play the ball was bobbled by UTRGV shortstop Isaac Gonzalez and the Hornets tried to bring in the tying run, but Gonzales recovered and threw out pinch runner Austin Root at the plate to end the game.
Junior Sam Long had a great start for the Hornets pitching into the seventh inning and allowing just one unearned run on four hits with three strikeouts. He left with a 1-0 lead in the seventh but UTRGV scored an unearned run on a passed ball and throwing error to tie the game.
The Hornets had held a 1-0 lead since the second inning, when junior Kody Reynolds hit a 1-out double down the left field line and Goodrich brought him in with a sharp single up the middle. Both teams created more scoring opportunities but Long and Gonzalez prevented any further scoring into the late innings.
Sacramento State totaled 10 hits and three walks against Gonzalez but the UTRGV sophomore used 11 strikeouts to pick up his fifth win of the season. The Hornets outhit the Vaqueros 10-7 with Goodrich, Grubbs, and freshman Matt Smith each tallying two hits. Huckabay and Victor Garcia had two-hit lines for the home team.
The doubleheader on Saturday will be the fourth for the Hornets this season, all of which were not originally scheduled but necessitated by weather.
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