SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State nearly came all the way back from an early 6-1 deficit, scoring a pair of runs in the ninth inning to make it 6-5, but the potential tying ran would be stranded at second base as Nevada held on for the win on Tuesday at John Smith Field.
With two on and two out in the ninth inning junior Andrew McWilliam doubled down the left field line to get the Hornets within a one-run deficit. Nevada closer Evan McMahan was able to follow with a strikeout to help his team escape with a 6-5 win.
McWilliam was 3-for-5 with a career-high four RBIs for Sacramento State (22-23), which was looking for a season sweep over Nevada (14-29) after a 7-5 win in Reno in March. The Hornets scored four runs off McMahan to rally from a 5-3 deficit in the ninth to win that game and nearly replicated the feat on Tuesday.
In similar fashion to the first meeting between the teams this year, in which Nevada took a 4-1 lead in the first inning, the Hornets scored the first run again on Tuesday as McWilliam singled in Ian Dawkins in the first before Nevada jumped ahead.
The Wolf Pack scored three times in the second inning, capitalizing on three walks and getting RBI singles from Jaylon McLaughlin and Jordan Pearce. Nevada scored three more runs in the third inning with a walk and Hornet fielding error setting the table before an RBI groundout, an Otis Statum RBI double, and another run scoring single from McLaughlin made it 6-1.
Sacramento State got one run back in the bottom of the third as Vinny Esposito had a leadoff single and scored on a two-out RBI single from McWilliam. In the fifth inning, Dawkins had a leadoff double and an Esposito single put runners on the corners. James Outman delivered an RBI single to score Dawkins and make it a 6-3 game.
Nevada got a double play ball to get out of the inning and had another big double play in the sixth after the Hornets loaded the bases with one out. Sacramento State stranded two men in the seventh and in the ninth had Esposito and Outman reach before McWilliam's double made it 6-5.
The Hornet bullpen kept the game close putting up zeros in each of the last six innings. Ty Fox, Tanner Olson, Austin Root, and Chad Perry pitched the last four innings, respectively, and combined to not allow a hit with just two walks and five strikeouts. Ryan Smith got two outs and Austin Ragsdale pitched 1.2 scoreless innings.
Dawkins was 2-for-5 with two runs for his team-leading 20th multi-hit game of the season. McWilliam tallied his second consecutive three-hit game and is 6-for-8 in the last two contests. Esposito continued his torrid hitting going 3-for-4 with a walk and a run.
McLaughlin, Nevada's No. 9 hitter, finished 3-for-4 and Statum, batting eighth, was 2-for-3. Freshman starter Ryan Anderson earned his first collegiate win allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk over five innings and McMahan picked up his fourth save despite his struggles in the ninth.
The Hornets play their next seven games on the road starting with a WAC series this weekend at Chicago State. Game times are 4 p.m. Pacific time Friday, 1 p.m. Pacific Saturday, and 10 a.m. Sunday.