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EARLY LEAD DOESN'T HOLD AS BASEBALL FALLS TO UTAH VALLEY, 4-2 IN WAC TOURNAMENT OPENER

EARLY LEAD DOESN'T HOLD AS BASEBALL FALLS TO UTAH VALLEY, 4-2 IN WAC TOURNAMENT OPENER

WAC Tournament Central

MESA, Ariz. – Despite taking an early lead in Wednesday's tournament matchup with No. 6 Utah Valley (15-39), the No. 3 Sacramento State Hornets (33-23) fell to the Wolverines, 4-2.

The loss drops Sacramento State into the tournament's loser bracket where they will face CSU Bakersfield tomorrow, Thursday, May 23 at 11 a.m. PT. The elimination game will be the second between the two teams in the last two seasons – the Hornets beat the Roadrunners, 17-3, in a win-or-go-home game in last year's tournament.

Sacramento State struck first in Wednesday night's matchup with Utah Valley, scoring twice in the second inning. Martin Vincelli-Simard made his WAC Tournament debut with an RBI-single through the right side, scoring Ryan Walstad for the game's first run.

After a sacrifice bunt by Trevor Doyle, Bronson Grubbs hit a sacrifice fly into right field to score Dylan McPhillips and put the Hornets ahead, 2-0.

That was all of the scoring for the Sacramento State offense on Wednesday, unfortunately, as the Hornets managed just two more hits over the game's final seven innings.

Despite lacking in the hits column, the Hornets still put together a great opportunity in the seventh to tie the game or take the lead. After Keith Torres was hit by a pitch to open the inning, Dawsen Bacho singled to put two on with nobody out. Torres moved to third on a fly out by Steven Moretto, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the inning, leaving Torres at third and Bacho still at first. 

On the mound, Parker Brahms made his fourth career WAC Tournament start for the Hornets. After a dominant first two innings in which he struck out four and allowed just one hit, things started to fall apart for Brahms and the Hornets in the third. Utah Valley scored three times on four walks and two hits – both doubles – to take the lead, 3-2.

Stone Churby followed Brahms and was excellent out of the pen. The sophomore righthander threw a career-high four innings for the Hornets, allowing just two hits. He struck out one and did not walk a batter. It was Churby's 27th appearance out of the bullpen this season, second most on the team and fifth most in the WAC this year.

Tanner Dalton was next and, despite a scoreless eighth, surrendered a run in the ninth, making it a 4-2 ballgame.

In total, Hornets pitchers combined to allow seven hits and seven walks while the offense managed just four hits and struck out eight times.

Sacramento State lost its first tournament game last season, falling in a Thursday contest before ripping off four straight wins to advanced to a Sunday winner-take-all game against eventual conference champions, New Mexico State. 

The Hornets will look to go on a similar run, but it all starts with a win tomorrow morning against CSU Bakersfield.

Thursday morning's game is scheduled for an 11 a.m. first pitch and the game is expected to be televised live on ESPN+. The game will also air online at HornetSports.com/Radio while live stats can be found at WACStats.com.

All these details and links can also be found online by visiting the 2019 Sacramento State baseball schedule online at HornetSports.com.