PHOENIX, Ariz. – Sacramento State rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 but Grand Canyon regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 4-3 win in the series finale on Sunday.
Sacramento State (28-23, 15-9 WAC) took two of three games in the series, winning 4-1 on Friday and 8-3 on Saturday. The Hornets remained tied with Utah Valley for third place in the WAC standings going into the final week of the regular season.
Senior Chris Lewis completed a strong series at GCU with his second 2-run home run in as many games on Sunday, hitting a long ball over the wall in left in the sixth inning. Lewis hit .462 over the three-game series with two home runs, a double, five RBIs, and four runs scored.
The home run by Lewis was Sacramento State's first hit of the game. GCU starter Tyler Wyatt issued five walks but no hits until the sixth, when Lewis hit his two-run shot with two away after sophomore Andrew McWilliam drew a leadoff walk.
Sacramento State senior starter Grant Kukuk also had a solid outing and didn't allow any runs until the fourth inning when, with two away and a man on second, Zach Mallis had an RBI single and Matt Haggerty followed with an RBI triple off the wall in left field.
After the Hornets drew even at 2-2 in the top of the sixth GCU regained the lead in the bottom half on consecutive one-out singles and a fielder's choice ground out from Mallis. The Hornets tied things up again in the seventh inning as sophomore PJ Floyd had a one-out single and scored on a pinch hit RBI double down the right field line by freshman James Outman.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, GCU got a leadoff single from Thomas Leruge followed by a sacrifice bunt. After an intentional walk right fielder Garrison Schwartz ripped a double to right to bring in Leruge with the go-ahead run. The Lopes would load the bases with one away but did not score again.
Floyd drew a two-out walk in the top of the ninth but Mick Vorhoff struck out the side to end the game. Floyd reached base four times in the game with a single and three walks, and the sophomore second baseman was 4-for-10 with a .538 on-base percentage in the series with a homer and three RBIs.
Grand Canyon (23-26-1, 11-13 WAC) had a 9-4 edge in hits on Sunday getting two-hit games from their third, fourth, fifth, and sixth hitters in the lineup. Wyatt allowed three earned runs on three hits and five walks over 6.1 innings before Vorhoff allowed just one hit and one walk in 2.2 innings for the win.
Kukuk allowed just three earned runs on seven hits and no walks in seven innings. For just the third time in 26 appearances this season senior reliever Tyler Beardsley allowed an earned run and he took his first loss of the year.
Sunday's game was Sacramento State's final road contest of the regular season. The Hornets have four home games remaining next week, hosting Pacific Tuesday before concluding the year with a series vs. WAC-leading Seattle U Thursday through Saturday.
Tuesday's game at 7:11 p.m. will be the first night game in the 63 year history of John Smith Field. All former Hornet baseball players and their families will receive free admission for first home game under the lights, which will be presented by 7-Eleven. All fans can purchase two tickets to the game for just $10 while the first 500 fans through the gates will receive free commemorative key chain lights and the first 711 fans will get free surprises at the Campus 7-Eleven at 6500 Folsom Blvd.
Gates will open at 5:30 and fans are encouraged to arrive at the ball park early when Coaches Reggie Christiansen, John Smith, and Cal Boyes will ceremonially turn on the lights for the first time at 6:00 p.m. Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen will throw out the first pitch. For more on Tuesday's game, click here and see the video below.