RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Sacramento State erased a three-run deficit in the ninth inning in game two of Saturday's doubleheader, but California Baptist walked off in the 10th to sweep the Hornets in the twin bill, 6-1 and 7-6.
Sacramento State drops to 27-18 overall after Saturday's doubleheader, including 18-13 in the Western Athletic Conference. WAC leaders California Baptist improved to 31-12 overall and 23-4 in the WAC.
One day after Sacramento State jumped all over California Baptist's ace Chris Burica, the Lancers flipped the script, chasing Hornets' ace Scott Randall from Saturday's game one in just the third inning.
Randall, who hadn't allowed more than four runs in a game this season, was tagged for five runs in just three innings of work on Saturday. He allowed five runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out five and threw just 67 pitches.
Despite the Hornets bullpen keeping the team in the game, Sacramento State's bats were unable to generate enough offense to catch up. The Hornets scored their first and only run of the game in fifth inning thanks to a Matt Smith RBI single.
Game two got off to a much different start as Eli Saul put together one of the best starts of his career. The freshman right-hander allowed two runs over five innings, scattering seven hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out one.
Saul left the game in line for the win as the Hornets led, 3-2, at the time of his departure. Ryan Walstad was responsible for the first of those two runs, hitting an opposite field, two-run double in the third inning.
Chris Gonzalez put the Hornet sup, 3-0, with a solo home run in the fourth, his second home run of the season.
Despite the early lead, California Baptist struck for two runs in the fifth before taking the lead with two more in the seventh. The Lancers extended their lead with another pair of runs in the eighth, going up 6-3 on the Hornets.
Sacramento State refused to quit, however, scoring three times in the top of the ninth to tie the game. Pinch hitting in the top of the inning, Matt Smith delivered with a two-run base hit to cut the deficit to one. Dylan McPhillips followed with a sacrifice fly, scoring Gonzalez and tying the game at sixth.
Ultimately, the ninth-inning rally proved not enough as the Lancers walked things off in the bottom of the 10th.
With the bases loaded in the home half of the 10th, California Baptist's Ulises Caballero struck a ground ball down the line at third. Playing heads up defense, Sacramento State fielded the ball and tagged the bases at third and second base. It looked as if neither Lancer base runner fully advanced, leaving the play live as the Hornets turned what appeared to be an inning-ending double play.
Despite the protests of head coach Reggie Christiansen and a very long meeting between the officials, the umpires ruled that the runners had advanced safely and the game was over.
It was a wild end to a tough Saturday for Sacramento State as the Hornets dropped both ends of the doubleheader to the league-leading Lancers.
Fortunately, Sacramento State won't have to wait long to avenge Saturday's sweep. The Hornets and Lancers face off again tomorrow, Sunday, May 9 in the series finale. First pitch is set for 12 p.m. PT. Tomorrow's game will stream live online on the WAC Digital Network with live stats available at HornetStats.com.
For the latest news, notes, schedule updates, and more, including direct links to streaming and live stats, be sure to visit the Sacramento State baseball schedule online at HornetSports.com.