The Hornets (10-8) scored four runs on seven hits with one error while the Gauchos (11-7) tallied five runs on five hits with no errors.
UC Santa Barbara reliever Kenny Chapman (3-1) earned the win after allowing just three hits in 3.1 scoreless innings with two strikeouts and no walks. Sacramento State reliever Tyler Hoelzen (1-1) suffered the loss after surrendering one run (unearned) on two hits in the eighth inning with one strikeout.
Designated hitter Chris Lewis pushed his hitting streak to a team-best nine games while right fielder Nathan Lukes and second baseman Andrew Ayers each went 2-for-4. Sacramento State starting pitcher Brennan Leitao earned a no-decision after allowing four runs on three hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
The Gauchos jumped out to an early lead with four runs on three hits in the third inning but the Hornets would rally, after being shutout in the first game of the series on Friday.
Sacramento State scored four runs on four hits in a big fifth inning to tie the game. Ayers and Lewis led off the inning with back-to-back singles before right fielder Justin Higley struck out swinging. Lukes drove in Ayers for the first run of the inning with a double to the left field line and shortstop Scotty Burcham followed with a walk to load the bases. Catcher Dane Fujinaka hit the second double of the inning, also down the left field line, to clear those bases, and drive in three runs.
The score remained 4-4, until the Gauchos tallied a single run in the eighth inning. After back-to-back pop outs to start the frame, UC Santa Barbara put two on with a single and an error. That set up Robby Nesovic, who singled to right to drive in the game-winning run. The Hornets went down in order in the ninth.
Sacramento State will look to avoid a sweep in the finale of the three-game series with the Gauchos at 1 p.m. on Sunday.