MESA, Ariz. – James Outman homered for the third straight game, opening the scoring with a monster 3-run homer in the fourth inning, and the Hornets held Northern Colorado to just one run in a 10-1 win on Friday night in Mesa.
Sacramento State (31-27) improved to 3-0 at the WAC Tournament and earned a spot in the championship game on Saturday night at 7 p.m. The Hornets will face the winner of Saturday's first game between CSU Bakersfield and Northern Colorado (24-29), which had won its first two WAC Tournament games on Wednesday and Thursday.
A win for the Hornets on Saturday would give the team its second WAC Tournament title in the last four seasons and an automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals. With a loss Sacramento State would face its opponent again in a winner-take-all final game at noon on Sunday.
The Hornets have scored 31 runs in three WAC Tournament games over the last three days. The team has a .343 batting average in Mesa with six home runs, 10 doubles, two triples, and a .639 slugging percentage, scoring at least 10 runs in each game.
Friday's game was a pitcher's duel through the first three innings, with Northern Colorado starter Karver Pate setting down the first nine batters he faced, but in the fourth Ian Dawkins and Trent Goodrich led off with a pair of singles and with one away Outman launched a ball into the visitors bullpen beyond the right field wall.
The Hornets loaded the bases with one out in the fifth inning and Vinny Esposito drove in two more runs with an RBI single. Northern Colorado threatened in the bottom of the fifth placing runners on the corners with no outs but Austin Roberts got a foul out and two strikeouts to end the inning.
Sacramento State added two more runs in the sixth as they loaded the bases again and two runs scored on a Northern Colorado fielding error. The Bears got a run back on a groundout in the bottom of the sixth to make it a 7-1 game, but the Hornets tacked on two more runs in the eighth with Goodrich driving in Ricky Martinez and Raul Ortiz with a double. In the ninth PJ Floyd doubled in a 10th Hornet run.
Roberts went six innings and allowed just four hits and two walks with six strikeouts and one run allowed. Ty Fox pitched the last three innings and was credit with a save, allowing just three hits and one walk with four strikeouts in three scoreless innings.
The Hornets scored 10 runs on just 10 hits, drawing three walks and benefiting from four hit batters. Floyd, Dawkins, and Goodrich all had two-hit games, with both of Floyd's hits doubles. Dawkins tied the single-season program record with his 28th multi-hit game of the season. Outman is hitting .385 in the tournament with his five hits comprised of three home runs and two doubles.
The Hornets improved to 10-4 in Roberts' 14 starts this season. Sacramento State is now 19-10 in night games this season with a chance to reach the NCAA Tournament with a 20th night win of the year on Saturday.