SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After a sensational night of pitching against one of the top offensive teams in the country Hornet sophomore James Outman drove in the winning run with an RBI single in the bottom of the 12th inning as Sacramento State earned a 2-1 win over New Mexico State on Friday night.
Sacramento State (17-17, 4-7 WAC) handed WAC-leading New Mexico State (22-14, 7-1 WAC) its first conference loss. It marked the second time in less than a week that the Hornets dealt an undefeated, league-leading team its first conference loss after doing the same to Grand Canyon last Saturday.
Pitching was the story on Friday night as three Hornet pitchers held New Mexico State to just one unearned run and only seven hits, all of them singles. The Aggies entered the series ranked fifth in NCAA Div. I in batting average and sixth in runs, averaging more than eight runs per game this season.
Freshman Parker Brahms was outstanding over seven innings, allowing just four singles, one walk, and one unearned run while striking out seven. Ty Fox pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Alex Dentoni tossed four scoreless frames allowing just three singles and striking out five before earning the win.
Both teams had opportunities late to pull ahead as New Mexico State stranded 12 runners on base and the Hornets left eight. With one away in the bottom of the 12th senior Blake Edmonson struck out but reached first on a wild pitch. Freshman Ricky Martinez battled for a six-pitch walk to move Edmonson to second before Outman hit an 0-2 pitch back up the middle and into center field to bring in Edmonson with the winning run.
Junior Ian Dawkins had the only other two hits for the Hornets but Outman reached base four times, drawing three walks out of the leadoff spot. Sacramento State drew nine walks in all and threatened in several late innings before finishing the win.
Each team's only run in regulation came in the fourth inning. With one away in the top of the fourth Tristen Carranza reached second on a Hornet throwing error and LJ Hatch moved him to third on a single through the left side. Mason Fishback followed with a sacrifice fly to right.
The Hornets would score in similar fashion in the bottom of the fourth. Outman drew a leadoff walk and stole second before Dawkins moved him to third with a single to center. Vinny Esposito then drove in Outman with an identical sacrifice fly to right field.
Sacramento State stranded two base runners in the bottom of the eighth before the Aggies got runners on the corners with one out in the ninth but Dentoni got an infield popup and strikeout. In the bottom of the ninth a Dawkins single and two walks loaded the bases with one away but the Aggie reliever Ruger Rodriguez got consecutive strikeouts to force extra innings.
The Hornets had two on with one out in the 10th but couldn't get a run across. In the top of the 12th New Mexico State got a runner to second with one away and had men on first and second with two down but shortstop Trent Goodrich made a tremendous sliding stop and flip to second baseman PJ Floyd on a groundball up the middle to end the rally and set up the Hornets to win it in the bottom half.
New Mexico State starter Marel Renteria allowed just one run and two hits with six walks and nine strikeouts over nine innings, throwing 121 pitches. Rodriguez walked a pair but pitched two scoreless innings before Matthew McHugh came on and took the loss in the 12th. Hatch had three of the seven NM State hits in the game.
The series will be decided at noon Saturday at John Smith Field with Hornet senior Max Karnos expected to face New Mexico State junior Jonathan Groff.