MORAGA, Calif. – The Sacramento State baseball team entered the ninth-inning in a 2-2 tie with Saint Mary's Tuesday afternoon, but a two-out rally led to two runs as the Hornets won their fourth straight, 4-2, over the Gaels.
The top of the ninth started with two quick outs as Steven Moretto struck out and PJ Floyd grounded out to first. But Raul Ortiz extended the inning, drawing a two-out walk, before Keith Torres doubled to put runners at second and third.
Ian Dawkins delivered the go-ahead hit, smashing a line drive back up the middle. The ball deflected off Saint Mary's pitcher Carlos Lomelli and skipped to the second baseman who was unable to make a play on the ball. Ortiz scored, putting the Hornets up 3-2, as Torres moved to third.
Lomelli was replaced by Patrick O'Shea for the Gaels, who promptly threw a wild pitch to the backstop, allowing Torres to score the inning's second run.
For Dawkins, the go-ahead hit was his second hit of the afternoon. He also had two walks, reaching base four times in six plate appearances. Matt Smith also reached four times, going 2-for-3 with two walks.
Ortiz, who started the rally, entered the game in the bottom of the seventh inning, replacing starting catcher Dylan McPhillips, who was removed with an injury. While attempting to check a swing in the top half of the seventh inning, McPhillips' right knee seemed to buckle underneath him and he was unable to walk off the field without the help of his teammates.
The two runs scored by Sacramento State in the ninth inning were the first since the Hornets scored a run in the fourth inning to tie the game at two. Both teams struggled all afternoon to score runs, combining to leave 31 men on base in the game.
Sacramento State left 17 stranded, despite having just seven hits. They drew a season-high 12 walks, had a hit by pitch, and took advantage of three Saint Mary's errors in the game. For the Gaels, they left 14 men on base on 11 hits and four walks.
Both teams loaded the bases in the eighth inning – the Hornets with two outs and Saint Mary's with one – but neither were able to capitalize. That one inning was representative of most of the afternoon.
Sacramento State's first two runs both came without the benefit of a hit. They went ahead 1-0 in the second inning after McPhillips grounded into a bases-loaded double play, scoring Andrew McWilliam.
PJ Floyd scored the team's second run, reaching and advancing to second on a throwing error by the pitcher. Four pitches later, Floyd stole third and the catcher's throw sailed into left field, allowing Floyd to score easily.
Despite loading the bases in the eight, Tanner Dalton picked up his first career win. Typically the team's closer over the last two weeks, Dalton instead pitched the eighth while Parker Brahms took over in the ninth. Making just his second career relief appearance, Brahms tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning to record his first career save.
Sacramento State has now won four straight games and improves to 13-14 overall this season. They will return home for their next eight games, starting with a three game set against WAC opponent Chicago State. The weekend series is set to begin Friday, though with heavy rains expected in the forecast, game times are likely to change. Stay tuned to HornetSports.com and SacStBaseball on Twitter for the latest news and updates.