SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento State baseball team made sure that their final game in front of the hometown fans was one to remember as Gunner Gouldsmith beat out a potential inning-ending double play with a head-first slide into first base, scoring pinch-runner Keith Torres from third with the game-winning run for a 4-3 walk-off victory over San Jose State on Thursday night at John Smith Field.
The Hornets, who won their fifth consecutive game, improved to 29-23 overall, ending the regular season a perfect 14-0 in series openers while moving one triumph away from posting their 10th consecutive 30-win season. The Spartans, who came back to tie the game with a run in the ninth, fell to 27-26 overall with the loss.
After leaving runners in scoring position in both the ninth and 10th innings, Sacramento State was able to mount yet another rally against the San Jose State bullpen in the 11th as Dawsen Bacho doubled to the gap in right centerfield — his third hit of the night — and was replaced there by Torres.
A wild pitch moved Torres up another 90 feet and Martin Vincelli-Simard walked to put runners on the corners for Gouldsmith, who fell behind in the count 0-2. On the next pitch, the sophomore rolled a ball to second that looked like it might end the inning, but a hustling Gouldsmith went head-first into the first base bag, narrowly beating the relay throw from the Spartan shortstop as Torres crossed the plate for the victory.
It marked fourth walk-off victory of the season for the Hornets and the second for Gouldsmith, who also produced the winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 win over Grand Canyon on March 25 at home. It was the third extra-inning game of the season for Sacramento State and the longest game in terms of time (4:19) since a five-hour, one minute, 15-inning marathon against New Mexico State in the 2018 Western Athletic Conference Tournament.
Trey Goodrich (2-0), who picked up his first career win last weekend against Utah Valley, earned the win in relief on Thursday, throwing a scoreless 11th innings and striking out a pair around two hits.
Brady Hill (1-2), the starting right fielder who came in to pitch in the bottom of the ninth after teammate Gary Hall was hit by a Bacho line drive, suffered the loss, allowing the lone run on one hit, walking four, and striking out two over two innings of work.
Both teams got on the board with single runs in the fifth as a wild pitch staked the Spartans to a 1-0 lead only to have Josh Walker tie the game in the home half with an RBI groundout to make it 1-1.
San Jose State answered with an RBI single my Omar Gastelum in the sixth to regain the lead before the Hornets rallied once again in the eighth, taking their first lead of the night thanks to a clutch hit off the bat of Jeffery Heard.
Vincelli-Simard tripled with two outs and Steven Moretto walked to put runners at the corners. Colby Lunsford came on to run at first and bring up Heard, who fell behind in the count at 1-2 before lofting a ball into right field that one-hopped high off the fence for a double, driving home a pair of runs for a 3-2 advantage.
San Jose State had one more rally in it in the ninth, using back-to-back singles to lead-off the frame, before a fielder's choice erased the runner at third for the first out. An intentional walk loaded the bases and an infield fly put Sacramento State one out away from winning it in regulation, but Dalton Bowling worked the count full and was able to draw a walk, driving home the tying run.
Jack Zalasky, in his second inning of work, then got a ground ball to end the threat and set the stage for extra innings.
Vincelli-Simard collected his sixth consecutive multi-hit game with a 2-for-4 night and extended his hitting streak to a career-high seven games in the process. Trevor Doyle also added a pair of hits to collect his eighth multi-hit game of the season. In addition to his double that extended his own hitting streak to six games, Heard finished the night with three walks, while Moretto and Doyle drew two apiece as the Hornets finished with nine free bases.
The series shifts to Excite Ballpark in San Jose, Calif., for the final two games of the series on Friday (May 20) and Saturday (May 21). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. on Friday, with a 4:05 p.m. start slated for Saturday's regular season finale.