MESA, Ariz.—Three Sacramento State pitchers combined on a four-hitter to lead the Hornets past CSU Bakersfield 5-0 in the Western Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament championship game Saturday night.
Rickey Martinez's two-out single scored PJ Floyd in the bottom of the second to give the Hornets the lead. The Hornets stung again with two outs in the fifth when Kody Reynolds singled in Ian Dawkins.
Throwing on two days' rest, Sacramento State starter Justin Dillion allowed one hit, a Sergio Robles single in the second in five innings of work. He retired the final seven batters he faced. The 6-3 righty struck out six and walked one. Dillon threw 71 pitches, 48 of which went for strikes before being lifted for Tanner Olson to start the sixth.
Olson retired the first three batters he faced prior to David Metzgar breaking a string of 10 consecutive CSUB batters retired when he reached on an error to lead off the seventh. Mahlik Jones battled back from being down 0-2 in the count to Olson to post a single to right. Metzgar reached third as Ryan Grotjohn came to the plate. The rally came to a halt when Jones was thrown out attempting to steal second before Olson struck out Grotjohn. Max Carter grounded out to short to end the inning.
Reynolds drove in his second run of the game by singling off CSUB closer Naithen Dewsnap who relieved Garrett Nimmo with no outs in the bottom of the seventh. Aaron Root relieved Olson to begin the seventh. Root allowed one hit, a two-out Junior Felix single in the seventh.
The Hornets added a pair of insurance runs when Trent Goodrich hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth. Reynolds charted three of the 10 Hornets' hits. This was the second time during the tournament in which Sacramento State (32-27) defeated the Roadrunners. The Hornets defeated CSUB 10-6 in the tournament opener for the ‘Runners on Thursday. CSUB had won three in a row in the consolation bracket to reach the championship game.
Dillon was named tournament MVP. Dewsnap, Robles, Carter, and Jones earned spots on the All-Tournament team.
CSUB completes the 2017 campaign with a 32-24 record. The Roadrunners won 13 more games in 2017 than in the previous season, marking the second time that the CSUB program earned that accomplishment. The 2010 club won 13 more games than the 2009 team (26, 13).
“I can't be disappointed with this group,” said CSUB interim head coach Jeremy Beard. “I am so proud of these guys with the way they fought all year. We were picked seventh in the conference and we played for a championship tonight. We had to do it the hard way just to get here. We competed all year and bought into a program. We have been relentless all year. We have a tight group of guys here, once a runner, always a runner and these guys know that.”