WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Trailing 4-2 with two out in the ninth inning freshman Matt Smith delivered a 2-run single to tie the score, and with two out in the bottom of the 11th junior Gunner Pollman delivered an RBI single to give Sacramento State a 5-4 win over Fresno State on Wednesday night at Raley Field.
Sacramento State (25-15) improved to 5-0 in extra-inning games this season with its third walk-off victory of the year. The Hornets trailed Fresno State (26-16) 4-1 going to the bottom of the eighth inning but scored one run in the eighth, two in the ninth, and the game winner in the 11th inning.
In the bottom of the eighth Pollman drove in Smith with a sacrifice fly, and in the ninth inning senior Chris Lewis reached on a fielding error before sophomore Bronson Grubbs walked and the pair stood on second and third with two away. Smith laced a 1-0 pitch through the left side to plate both runners and force extra innings.
After Hornet relievers Chad Perry and Austin Ragsdale put up zeros in the 10th and 11th innings, respectively, Lewis led off the 11th with a single and was bunted to second by Grubbs. Sophomore Andrew McWilliam hit a ground ball to Fresno State shortstop Korby Batesole, who tried to cut down Lewis at third but his throw was late. The Bulldogs got the second out but, after an intentional walk to load the bases, Pollman hit a grounder deep in the hole that Batesole fielded on the run. The shortstop tried to get the force out at second but he was unable to make a clean throw as Lewis came in with the winning run.
The game started out as a pitcher's duel and was scoreless into the seventh inning. Junior Tanner Olson was outstanding for the Hornets, throwing six scoreless innings and allowing just four hits and no walks. Perry threw two scoreless innings in the ninth and tenth before Ragsdale needed just nine pitches to set down the Bulldogs in the 11th and was rewarded with his second win of the year.
Fresno State used six pitchers with none throwing more than two innings. The Hornets broke the ice in the seventh inning as two singles and a fielding error loaded the bases and Pollman came in to score on a fielder's choice groundout. The Bulldogs came back with four runs in the top of the eighth inning on three hits, one walk, and a Hornet fielding error
Pollman and Smith both had two hits and two RBIs in the game and Lewis was 2-for-6 with a double and two runs scored. Six Hornet starters had hits in the game as the teams finished even with nine hits apiece. Just one Bulldog had a multi-hit line and Mark Reece took the loss as he came on in the 11th inning.
The start of the game was delayed 40 minutes as lightning and rain passed through the area. With the win Sacramento State improved to 18-0 this season when leading after the seventh inning.
The Hornets are back on the road this weekend for a WAC series at New Mexico State, which begins at 5 p.m. Pacific time on Friday.