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PHOENIX, Ariz. – Despite a strong start to Saturday night's game, the Sacramento State baseball team was unable to quiet a late Grand Canyon rally as they fell, 8-5, on the road to GCU.

With the game tied at four, the Hornets (28-21, 14-6 WAC) turned to their bullpen as the game entered the seventh inning. Unfortunately, that was just the thing the Lopes (28-22, 15-5 WAC) needed. Grand Canyon broke the game wide open, soring four times on three hits and two walks. 

Ty Fox was first out of the pen for Sacramento State and issued two walks and recorded a groundout before he was replaced by Travis Martizia. A single, a strikeout, and a double later, the Lopes has scored twice and forced Martizia from the game.

Brady Rodriguez took over with two on and two out and was tagged for a two-run base hit as Grand Canyon scored their third and fourth runs of the frame before the inning finally came to an end.

The Hornets had started the game strong, throwing the game's first punch with three first-inning runs to take an immediate 3-0 lead. The game began with a leadoff home run from Ian Dawkins, his sixth of the season. With two outs and the bases loaded, Dylan McPhillps stroked a two-run single up the middle to make it 3-0.

Sacramento State was unable to make the lead stick, giving up one run in the first and two more in the fourth to Grand Canyon. The Lopes took their first lead of the game with a run in the fifth, but a sacrifice fly by Bronson Grubbs evened the game at four.

The Hornets added their fifth run of the game in the ninth. After Dawkins led off the frame with a triple, Grubbs knocked him in with an RBI groundout.

Dawkins has now homered in back-to-back games and is 8-for-9 through the first two games of this series. He has scored five runs and driven in two from the leadoff spot. His average is up to a team-best .353 while his 37 runs scored are far and away the most on the club.

The rest of the Hornets lineup had just five other hits, including two from each of Vinny Esposito (2-for-2, 2 BB) and McPhillips (2-for-4, 2 RBIs, R). While Sacramento State had nine hits and three walks, they also struck out 10 times and left eight men on base. Grubbs, who entered the game in the game in the fifth, finished 0-for-1 but collected two RBIs.

The loss drops the Hornets to 28-21 overall and 14-6 in the Western Athletic Conference. In addition to losing the game, the Hornets also fall into third place in the WAC behind Grand Canyon (14-6) and New Mexico State (15-6). They are just one game a head of fourth-place Seattle U (13-7) in a crowded conference race.

The Hornets, who have not lost a conference series this season, will look to keep that streak alive as they take on Grand Canyon in the rubber match of this series tomorrow, Sunday, May 13, at noon. Sacramento State will turn to their ace, sophomore Parker Brahms (4-3, 2.12), who leads the conference in ERA.

Join the Internet broadcast with Hornets play-by-play broadcaster Anthony Rifenburg early for a pregame Mother's Day celebration. Catch all of the action starting at 11:45 am PT. All links are avilable online on the 2018 Baseball Schedule at HornetSports.com.