SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento State and UT Arlington each scored runs in the second, fourth and seventh innings but it was UTA who claimed a 6-5 win to sweep the three-game series on Saturday at John Smith Field.
The two teams played their second consecutive one-run game and both will advance to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament next week. The Mavericks (30-25, 18-9) will be the second seed while the Hornets (33-23, 14-13) will be the fifth seed.
Sacramento State will be pooled with top seeded CSU Bakersfield, UTSA and either San Jose State or Seattle. A victory by SJSU on Sunday against CSUB would put the Spartans into the field while a loss would send SU as the eighth seed.
"Our guys are focused on the tournament and have already let this one go," Sacramento State head coach Reggie Christiansen said. "We just made one too many mistakes the last couple of days and couldn't capitalize on some opportunities. It's tough to win games when you play the way we have this weekend but there's no doubt that the guys will be ready for the tourney."
On Saturday, UTA scored first with a run in the top of the second on an RBI single from Darien McLemore. Sacramento State matched that run in the bottom of the frame with a solo home run from Rhys Hoskins — his third of the year.
Arlington took the lead for good with a two-run fourth. A leadoff walk and perfectly executed hit-and-run put runners on the corners before John Michael Twichell hit a sacrifice fly to center field. The second run crossed on a wild pitch.
The Hornets answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. Andrew Ayers was hit by a pitch to start the inning before Hoskins doubled to left center scoring Ayers. Hoskins' double came on the 13th pitch of the at-bat after he fouled off eight consecutive offerings.
The next runs came in the top of the seventh when Brandon Creel came on with the bases loaded and one out to face Derek Miller. Miller pulled a hard hit ground ball over the third base bag allowing two runs to score. Creel later walked Justin Copeland with the bases loaded.
Sacramento State rallied in the bottom of the inning sparked by one-out singles from Scotty Burcham and Dane Fujinaka. Following a pitching change and groundout, Nathan Lukes cleared the bases with a two-run double to the right field corner. Fellow freshman Chris Lewis hit a ball to nearly the exact same spot to plate Lukes.
All six UTA runs were charged to Tanner Mendonca who dropped to 2-5 on the season. The junior allowed seven hits and three walks with two strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
Hoskins and Fujianka each had a pair of hits for the Hornets. Copeland was 3-for-3 to spark the Mavericks.
Sacramento State's first game of the WAC Tournament will come on Wednesday at 9 a.m. PDT against UTSA. The Hornets went 1-2 against the Roadrunners in a three-game series in San Antonio in late April. The team will then play CSU Bakersfield on Thursday at 5 p.m. PDT and following an off day will meet SJSU or Seattle on Saturday at 9 a.m. PDT. The winners of the two pools will meet for the WAC Championship on Sunday at 11 a.m. PDT.