EDINBURG, Texas – In yet another pitcher's duel to conclude the weekend series, Texas-Pan American senior center fielder Andy Fortuna hit a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Broncs a 2-0 win in the rubber game of the three-game set.
Sacramento State (32-20, 18-6 WAC) was held to just one hit in the game, a two-out single by sophomore Nathan Lukes in the first inning. After entering the series averaging 7.1 runs per game in WAC play, the Hornets were shut out twice and totaled just three runs (all unearned) over the weekend, hitting 14-for-92 (.152) for the series.
The Hornet pitchers held Texas-Pan American (24-28, 14-10 WAC) to just five runs over the three games but the Broncs pitching performance was even better. On Sunday UTPA used six pitchers in an effort to get all of their seniors into the game in their final home contest, limiting starter Alex Henson to just four innings. The five senior Broncs relievers each went one inning without allowing a hit, with the final of those seniors, Matthew Harrell, earning the win.
Sacramento State junior Brennan Leitao got his second start of the weekend as his Friday outing was limited to just two innings when the game was suspended. He threw five scoreless innings on Sunday, allowing just four hits and no walks with one strikeout. Junior Alex Palsha pitched scoreless frames in the sixth and seventh innings and sophomore Sutter McLoughlin did not allow a run in the eighth before running into trouble in the ninth.
With one out he allowed a single by Jonathan Garza before inducing a fly-out for the second out of the inning. McLoughlin fell behind Fortuna 2-0 before the senior launched his first career home run to give the team a 2-0 win on his senior day.
The Hornets lost just their second WAC series of the season. Sacramento State's lead atop the WAC has been trimmed to just one game after Grand Canyon completed a sweep of North Dakota, but, because Grand Canyon is ineligible for postseason play due its Div.-I reclassification, the Hornets have clinched the top seed in the conference tournament.
Sacramento State concludes the regular season with four home games next week, starting with the causeway matchup against UC Davis at 7:35 p.m. Tuesday at Raley Field.