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April 8, 2014

BASEBALL’S WINNING STREAK ENDS ON PACIFIC WALK-OFF HOMER IN 14TH

STOCKTON, Calif. – Pacific rallied back from a 5-0 deficit and a 7-3 deficit to force extra innings, and junior Taylor Murphy hit the first pitch of the bottom of the 14th inning over the right field wall to give Pacific a walk-off win over the Hornets, 9-8, on Tuesday in Stockton.

The loss ended Sacramento State's (20-12) winning streak at 12 games, the second longest such streak in program history. Ironically the winning streak started against Pacific (15-19) when the Hornets beat the Tigers on March 18 at Raley Field. The game came after the Hornets and Seattle U played 15 innings on Saturday as the team has played 38 innings over its last three games.

The Hornets jumped to an early 4-0 lead with four runs in the first inning off three hits, two walks, and a Pacific fielding error. The visitors added a run in the third inning as junior Rhys Hoskins drew a one-out walk and ended up scoring from third on a wild pitch.

Pacific answered back in the bottom of the third with three runs off three hits, two walks, and two Hornet errors. The score remained 5-3 into the seventh inning, when senior David Del Grande drove home freshman Brandon Hunley with a single and sophomore Nathan Lukes then scored on a Pacific fielding error to put the Hornets up 7-3.

The bottom of the seventh was the turning point as two singles and a hit by pitch loaded the bases with two outs. Pacific cleanup hitter Gio Brusa then hit a 2-0 pitch down the right field line and inside the foul poll for a grand slam that tied the game at 7-7.

With the game in extra innings Sacramento State retook the lead. Redshirt freshman Ryan Locke drew a leadoff walk and pinch runner Sam Long, a pitcher, advanced to third with two away. Lukes then chopped a single to center to put the Hornets ahead, but in the bottom of the inning Pacific strung together three straight singles off Sutter McLoughlin to draw even again.

Pacific stranded the potential winning run on third in both the 11th and 12th innings, but in the 14th Murphy hit the first pitch he saw from senior Hunter Greenwood for a walk-off win.

Hornet starter Dallas Chadwick went 2.1 innings, allowing three runs, before freshman Austin Ragsdale came on and allowed just one hit in a superb 3.2 innings of relief. Pacific starter Michael Benson allowed five runs over four innings while John Jaeger pitched the last four innings of the contest and earned the win.

Lukes went 3-for-6 from the leadoff spot with two runs scored and senior Will Soto went 2-for-6 with two RBIs on a first-inning double off the right field wall. Pacific had three players with two hit games but the home runs hit by both Brusa and Murphy were their only hits on the night.

Sacramento State lost for the first time this season when leading after six innings, having gone 17-0 in those games to start the year. The game tied for the second longest in program history and the Hornets are now 2-2 in extra-inning games this season.

The Hornets still have a nine-game winning streak in WAC play, having swept their first three conference series of the season, and continue WAC competition with three games over the weekend at Grand Canyon.

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