SACRAMENTO, Calif. – For the second time in three games, Sacramento State (21-10, 7-2 WAC) won in walk-off fashion as they defeated CSU Bakersfield (15-18, 3-6 WAC) on Sunday, 5-4.
With the bases loaded and one one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Sacramento State's Steven Moretto delivered the game-winner, a base hit through the left side, scoring Matt Smith and sending the Hornets home with the win.
"I was just telling myself, 'Stay ready to go, don't tense up,'" said Moretto after the game. "Waiting for that at bat, I was visualizing a first pitch fastball and putting a good swing on it and that's what I was able to do."
The run broke a 4-4 tie that had existed since the fifth inning and gave the Hornets their fourth walk-off win of the season and second of the series.
With the win, Sacramento State swept the visiting CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners. It is the third sweep of the year for the Hornets, who improve to 7-2 overall in WAC play.
"I was fired up," said head coach Reggie Christiansen after the game. "It's rare that I get that emotional myself, but this was a big weekend for our guys."
At 7-2, the Hornets are now alone in first place in the conference, a game ahead of both New Mexico State and UT Rio Grande Valley.
"It certainly is cool," said Christiansen on being in first place, "but there is still a lot of baseball left to play. We'll take a day to enjoy this but get right back to it Tuesday when we head to Santa Clara."
Moretto's game-winning single was one of two hits for the sophomore third baseman on the day, making him one of two Hornets with a multi-hit effort Sunday.
Matt Smith, who scored the game-winning run Sunday, was the other to pick up multiple hits, finishing 2-for-3 with a run and three RBIs. Smith was also intentionally walked twice in the win. He drove in two with a base hit in the third inning and gave the Hornets a 4-3 lead with another RBI-single in the fourth.
For the series, Smith went 8-for-10 with seven runs scored, seven RBIs, two home runs, and three walks.
On the mound, the Hornets used four different pitchers. Sophomore Brady Rodriguez got the start, tossing two innings and allowing three runs, though just one was earned. Behind him, Travis Martizia threw three innings of one-run ball while Travis Adams made his second appearance out of the bullpen, throwing three shutout frames and allowing just one hit.
Tanner Dalton got the ninth for Sacramento State, his third appearance in the series, and recorded the win to improve to 3-1. This weekend, Dalton factored into every game, getting the win both Sunday and Friday and a save on Saturday.
"Tanner was awesome," said Christiansen post game. "He came to me before the game and told me he had an inning for us so we knew we had him ready to go. But I thought Brady pitched well and give credit to Travis Martizia and Travis Adams for keeping us in the game and giving us a chance to do something."
Things weren't always pretty for the Hornets on Sunday, as they committed four total errors, including three in the first four innings, but were able to pull through.
"We were able to pick each other up today," added Moretto. "It's all about finding a way to win and today we found a way."
"I told the guys in the middle of the game, the team that is going to win this game is the team that can turn the scoreboard off in their mind, forget about the things that took place up to this point," Christiansen said in his postgame interview.
The Hornets did just that as they won their 21st game of the season and moved into first place in the WAC.
Sacramento State will have a day off before getting back into action on the road as the team travels to Santa Clara to take on the WCC's Broncos on Tuesday, April 9 at 6 pm. Live stats, radio, and more will be available for Tuesday's road contest.
For more details on Tuesday's game and all upcoming games, be sure to visit the 2019 Hornet Baseball Schedule online at HornetSports.com.