Bakersfield, Calif. – Trailing 7-1 as they headed into the ninth inning, the Sacramento State baseball team put together a furious five-run rally to make it a one-run ballgame. Unfortunately, the late-game magic wore off with the tying run on third as the Hornets dropped the first game of this series, 7-6 to CSU Bakersfield.
The Hornets (19-17, 7-3 WAC) opened the top of the ninth inning with a bang as sophomore outfielder Matt Smith crushed his third home run of the season to left field, scoring Sacramento State's first run of the frame.
He was followed by freshman Steven Moretto, who reached on a base hit. After Andrew McWilliam went down swinging, pinch-hitter Bronson Grubbs drew a walk. A wild pitch moved both runners up before PJ Floyd brought home Moretto with a sacrifice fly for the second run of the inning for the Hornets.
Following Outman's triple, CSU Bakersfield (15-21, 5-5 WAC) went to a new pitcher, who promptly hit Vinny Esposito and then walked Smith, who started the inning, to load the bases. After starting the inning trailing by six, the Hornets found themselves with the tying run just 90 feet away and the go-ahead run on second.
Unfortunately, the ninth-inning magic had run out as Moretto, who singled in his first at bat of the inning, got caught looking to end the ballgame.
The five-run inning was Sacramento State's third such inning in the last three games, having scored five in one frame against Northern Colorado and seven in an inning at UC Davis. Tonight's loss is just the team's third this season when scoring five or more runs in a single inning.
Overall, Smith reached base four times in the game, going 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. McWilliam also had two hits and added an RBI, knocking in Smith in the seventh inning for Sacramento State's first run of the game.
Dawkins went 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI while Outman, whose only hit was the two-run triple in the ninth, finished 1-for-5 with two driven in.
On the mound for Sacramento State, sophomore starter Parker Brahms went just five innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on eight hits and two walks. Coming off his record-setting 14-strikeout performance, Brahms stuck out just three Friday night.
Ty Fox and Brady Rodriguez each gave up a run, though Fox's was unearned, and freshman Travis Martizia, who tossed two scoreless innings in a start on Tuesday at UC Davis, threw a scoreless inning and a third at the end of the game.
With the loss, the Hornets fall to 19-17 overall this season while their record against Western Athletic Conference opponents drops to 7-3. For Bakersfield, the Roadrunners have now won five straight ballgames.
The two teams will get right back at it tomorrow as they face off in game two of this three-game set. First pitch is set for 6:00 pm PDT at Bakersfield's Hardt Field.