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BASEBALL CLINCHES FIRST ROUND BYE IN NEXT WEEK’S WAC TOURNAMENT WITH WILD DOUBLEHEADER SWEEP FRIDAY

BASEBALL CLINCHES FIRST ROUND BYE IN NEXT WEEK’S WAC TOURNAMENT WITH WILD DOUBLEHEADER SWEEP FRIDAY

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State swept its Friday doubleheader against UT Rio Grande Valley in wild fashion, and in the process clinched the number two overall seed and a first-round bye in the upcoming Western Athletic Conference tournament.

With the sweep, Sacramento State improves to 34-19 overall and 22-13 in the WAC. UTRGV falls to 28-24 and 19-15 in league.

Sacramento State piled up the runs in game one, matching a season-high in a 20-5 win in seven innings. Game two was a different kind of exciting as the Hornets walked off on the Vaqueros for the second time in two days, 6-5, in 10 innings. As it was on Thursday night, it was once again Keith Torres delivering the game-winning hit in the 10th.

By taking the first three games of this weekend's series and clinching a series win against UTRGV, Sacramento State locked up the number two overall seed in next week's WAC Tournament. Regardless of tomorrow's result, the Hornets will finish third in the WAC for the regular season and enter the tournament as the number two seed.

The Hornets made a statement in game one on Friday, cruising to a dominating 20-5 win in seven innings against the Vaqueros. The 20 runs matched the team's season-high while the 18 hits are the most in a game this year for the Hornets.

Sacramento State scored four times in each the first and fourth innings before scoring 12 runs in the sixth, turning an 8-3 game into a 20-3 blowout. UTRGV plated two in the top of the seventh before the game went final, 20-5.

The Hornets sent 16 men to the plate in the sixth, scoring 12 times on eight hits, three walks, and a hit by pitch.

Ryan Walstad had two hits and four RBIs in the inning, part of a 3-for-5 afternoon with a home run, a double, and a career-high six RBIs. His six RBIs on Friday are the most by a Hornet since Steven Moretto drove in six at UC Santa Barbara in 2018.

Later that same inning, pinch-hitter Hunter Dorraugh hit his first career grand slam, an opposite field no-doubter that cleared the black outer wall in right-center. His slam capped the 12-run sixth inning and was his third home run of the year.

Dorraugh's grand slam was Sacramento State's third of the year as the freshman joined Dawsen Bacho (2/19 at #15 Arizona State) and Matt Smith (5/7 at California Baptist). The last time the Hornets hit three grand slams in a year was in 2010.

On the mound, Hornets starter Travis Adams threw four innings, allowing three runs on six hits. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.

Wesley Harper picked up his first win as a Hornet with three strong innings in relief. He scattered seven hits and allowed two runs – both in the seventh inning, long after the game was out of reach – while striking out two. He also did not walk a batter.

Game two was an entirely different kind of exciting as Sacramento State clawed its way back from a 4-1 deficit to win in 11 innings, 6-5. The come-from-behind win was the second this series for the Hornets and the 17th such win this season.

Despite outhitting the Vaqueros, 13-4, the Hornets never managed to put together a big inning, instead scratching across one run at a time, including their first run on a Ryan Walstad RBI-single in the third.

Trailing 4-1 in the seventh, the Hornets got another one back when Keith Torres scored from third on a wild pitch. Steven Moretto pulled the Hornets within one with a towering solo home run off the parking structure in left field in the eighth.

Still down a run in the ninth, it was veteran outfielder Matt Smith who lined a two-out, game-tying base hit into right field, scoring Dylan McPhillips from second and forcing extra innings. 

Although UTRGV scored in the top of the 10th, Torres and the Hornets overcame yet another deficit, as both Dawsen Bacho and Hunter Dorraugh came around to score on the shortstop's game-winner.

The Sacramento State bullpen continued to be excellent as well. After allowing just one unearned run in 4.2 innings on Thursday, the Hornets 'pen combined to allow just three runs (two earned) over nine more innings across two games on Friday.

Game two saw four pitchers – Max Pettey, Travis Martizia, Rylan Tinsley, and Jack Zalasky – surrender just one hit over six innings of relief.

Pettey threw a career-high three hitless innings, walking one and striking out a pair and Zalasky picked up his seventh win of the season and second in as many days.

With the series victory locked up, Sacramento State heads into tomorrow's series finale guaranteed a first-round bye in next week's WAC Tournament, which starts Wednesday, May 26. For details on the tournament, be sure to visit the WACSports.com. More details will be available in the coming days.

Before then, the Hornets have a chance to sweep the UTRGV Vaqueros tomorrow, Sunday, May 22 at home at John Smith Field. Tomorrow's series finale is set for a 12 p.m. first pitch and will stream live online on the WAC Digital Network with live stats at HornetStats.com.

In addition, tomorrow is Senior Day as Sacramento State recognizes those graduating or departing seniors who will be playing the final home game of their careers. The team will celebrate these players in a special postgame ceremony, which will also stream live on the WAC Digital Network.

Sacramento State will also wear their throwback jerseys, the creams with Sacramento in script across the chest, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the 1961 team, which advanced to the 1961 NAIA College World Series.

As always, 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.