SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State won its 17th home game of the year and completed a three-game sweep of UT Rio Grande Valley, ending the regular season with an 8-6 win on Saturday at John Smith Field. The nine graduating Hornet seniors were honored in a postgame ceremony.
Sacramento State (28-27, 12-12 WAC) had already secured the No. 3 seed for the WAC Tournament but eliminated UT Rio Grande Valley (26-28, 7-17 WAC) from postseason contention with the win.
If UT Rio Grande Valley was victorious on Saturday they would have been the No. 6 seed and faced the Hornets in the first round of the WAC Tournament next Wednesday. Their loss enabled Seattle U to claim the final postseason berth and draw Sacramento State for the second game of the tournament on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Mesa, Ariz.
The Hornets ended the regular season winning each of their last five WAC games. They scored at least six runs in each game of the UTRGV series, tallying a season-high 13 runs on Friday. The squad will ride a four-game winning streak overall into the postseason.
It was a balanced attack that led the Hornets to victory in the series finale on Saturday. Five players had multi-hit games, with Trent Goodrich following his first career four-hit game with a three-hit effort on Saturday. Kody Reynolds and Andrew McWilliam both had two hits and drove in two runs while Ian Dawkins and Vinny Esposito had two hits apiece and scored twice.
Sacramento State took a 1-0 lead in the first as Esposito scored on a UTRGV fielding error. The Vaqueros tied it in the third scoring on a stolen base and Hornet throwing error. In the fourth inning the visitors opened the inning with three straight hits and pushed across three runs on four hits to take a 4-1 lead.
The Hornets put up three runs of their own on four hits in the fifth inning, Goodrich drove in Ricky Martinez with a single, Dawkins scored on a James Outman RBI groundout, and Reynolds singled in Goodrich to tie the game.
The Vaqueros went back ahead with a run on a Hornet fielding error in the seventh inning but the Hornets put up four runs in the bottom half. Esposito and Reynolds had RBI singles to make it a 6-5 Hornet lead and, with the bases loaded, McWilliam singled in both of them to give the home team an 8-5 advantage.
UTRGV benefited from another Hornet error to load the bases with none out in the eighth but Austin Root got a double play ball and then struck out Joseph Collazo to limit the Vaqueros to just one run. Senior Chad Perry, making his program-record 98th career pitching appearance, retired the side in order in the ninth for the save in his final home game.
Root went 2.1 innings allowing just two unearned runs to pick up the win. Austin Ragsdale came on in the fourth inning and ended up allowing just one hit and one walk in 2.0 innings pitched. The Hornets outhit the Vaqueros 12-10 in the game and had four walks and a hit batter.
Sacramento State hit .352 in the series with 27 runs scored. Goodrich was 9-for-14 (.643) with six RBIs and four runs scored while Dawkins hit .545 with eight runs and Esposito hit .429 with four RBIs.
The Hornets won 2-of-3 games at Seattle U April 21-23, taking the first two contests before the Redhawks rallied for a walk-off win in the finale. If the Hornets beat Seattle U on Wednesday they would move on to face No. 2 seed CSU Bakersfield at 3 p.m. on Thursday.
2017 WAC Tournament Seeds
No. 1 New Mexico State (First Round Bye)
No. 2 CSU Bakersfield (First Round Bye)
No. 3 Sacramento State
No. 4 Utah Valley
No. 5 Northern Colorado
No. 6 Seattle U