MESA, Ariz. -- The Sacramento State baseball team lives to see another day.
The Hornets scored single runs in the second through fourth innings and four pitchers combined to hold Sam Houston State to a combined four hits on the day as Sacramento State staved off elimination with a 3-2 victory over the Bearkats on Friday morning on day two of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz.
In eliminating the top-seeded team out of the WAC's Southwest Division, the Hornets improved to 31-25 overall on the season and will face either New Mexico State or a rematch with UT Rio Grande Valley on Friday (May 27) at 9 a.m. A win in that game and Sacramento State advances to face either the Aggies or Vaqueros later in the day at 4 p.m.
The Bearkats, who got two hits from Justin Wishkoski, fell to 31-25 on the year.
Freshman right-hander Colin Hunter (5-4) earned his third victory in as many appearances on Thursday, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out a pair over five innings of work. He has posted a 2.51 ERA over his last three starts, which included wins over Utah Valley (May 14) and San Jose State (May 21), striking out 13 against only three walks and surrendering 11 hits over his last 14.1 innings of work.
Kevin Haynes pitched a third of an inning in the sixth before giving way to Trey Goodrich, who was stellar in holding Sam Houston State hitless over the next 2.2 innings, inducing an inning-ending double play with two on to end the sixth and retiring all seven batters he faced in the seventh and eighth frames.
It was the longest outing of the season for Goodrich, who had earned the win in each of his last two appearances in relief against the Wolverines (May 15) and Spartans (5/19), and has not allowed a run in his last eight innings of work dating back to the last out of the sixth inning at Dixie State on April 23.
Junior right-hander Jack Zalasky then took over in the ninth and nailed down his 11th save of the season on a fly ball and a pair of ground outs to secure the win.
Zalasky's 11 saves are tied for second on the school's single-season list alongside Mike Frame (1989) and Tyler Beardsley (2016), trailing only record-holder Sutter McLoughlin and his 17 saves in 2013. With 15 career saves, Zalasky now takes over sole possession of fifth place on the school's career list, just one behind Tanner Dalton (2018-19) and Michael Penbera (1999-01) for third.
Just as they did in Wednesday's tournament opener, the Hornets struck first once again on Thursday, using three straight two-out singles to break the seal. Josh Walker led-off with a single and moved to second on Dylan McPhillips' infield hit to put two on for Josh Rolling, who dropped a single of his own into left centerfield for the 1-0 lead.
Sacramento State made it 2-0 in the third on a tape-measure 439-foot home run off the video board in left field by Martin Vincelli-Simard — his fifth of the year — and tacked on a third run thanks to a single by McPhillips to score Nick Iwasa in the fourth.
Sam Houston State clawed two runs back in the home half of the fourth on a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch, but that would be it for the Bearkats, who managed only three baserunners the rest of the way thanks to a single in the fifth and a hit batter and walk in the sixth, stranding two of those three in scoring position.
Doyle, Iwasa, and McPhillips, all finished with two hits on the day, while eight of the ninth Hornet starters logged at least one hit. It was Iwasa's 12th multi-hit game of the year, Doyle's 10th, and the seventh for McPhillips.
Updated information on the entire 2022 WAC Tournament — including links to follow along live — is available on the conference's website at https://wacsports.com/tournaments/bsb/2021-22/index.