MESA, Ariz. – One day after scoring nine runs on 14 hits, Sacramento State struggled to get the bats going against Grand Canyon, falling to the Lopes, 11-0 in Friday night's WAC Tournament matchup.
With the loss, the #2 seeded Hornets are now 35-21 overall and 1-1 in this week's WAC Tournament. Grand Canyon, the tournament's number one seed, improves to 38-19-1 overall and 2-0 in the tournament.
Following Friday night's loss, Sacramento State will turn around and play the #3 UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros Saturday at 2 p.m. PT in a win-or-go-home contest. The territory is not unfamiliar for the Hornets, who won six straight elimination games in the 2019 WAC Tournament on their way to the 2019 tournament title. The Hornets will have to win three in a row this year to defend their title and repeat as WAC champs.
Facing Grand Canyon's Piersen Ohl, the WAC's 2021 Pitcher of the Year, on Friday, Sacramento State managed just three hits across nine innings and were shutout for the seventh time this season.
All three Hornets hits came from the top of the lineup as Nick Iwasa, Trevor Doyle, and Matt Smith each finished 1-for-3. Iwasa led off the game with a double, the Hornets' only extra-base hit of the game.
Sacramento State had its best chance to score in the fourth inning against Ohl. Smith singled with one out before advancing to second on a Ryan Walstad walk. Both were left there, however, as Dawsen Bacho lined out to right and Chris Gonzalez went down swinging to end the inning.
Grand Canyon, meanwhile, piled up 11 runs on 15 hits to 10-run the Hornets for the third time this season. The Lopes tagged Sacramento State starter Eli Saul for six runs (four earned) on six hits in 3.1 innings of work. Saul walked one and struck out another in the loss.
The Hornets used four different pitchers out of the bullpen with Wesley Harper throwing a bullpen-high one inning.
The loss was Sacramento State's first run-rule loss in the WAC Tournament since 2008 when the team lost a 15-5 game in seven innings against Nevada.
With Friday night's loss, Sacramento State finds itself in the elimination bracket with a Saturday afternoon rematch with the #3 UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros. The winner of tomorrow afternoon's game will advance to face Grand Canyon while the loser will be eliminated from the tournament.
First pitch for tomorrow's game is set for 2 p.m. PT the game will again stream live on ESPN+. For complete details, including links to stream and for live stats, be sure to visit the Hornet baseball schedule on HornetSports.com or visit the WAC Tournament home page at WACSports.com.
Stay tuned to HornetSports.com and @SacStBaseball on all social media channels for the latest news, notes, updates, and more.