Tigers Can't Hold On As The Hornets Push Past Pacific Late For A 3-2 Win

Brett Sullivan - Photo by: Randall Gee
Brett Sullivan - Photo by: Randall Gee

Stockton, Calif. - For the fifth-straight game, the Tigers got on the board in the first inning, but were unable to hold onto their lead as Sacramento State rallied past Pacific, 3-2, on Tuesday night at Klein Family Field. The loss was particularly rough for the Tigers (5-21) as Pacific went without an error for just the second time on the year while the Hornets (17-10) committed three miscues in the field but came away unscathed each time.

Offensively, Pacific saw the continued dominance in home midweek contests of its junior middle infielder, Brett Sullivan, as the third-year Tiger came up with both RBI hits in the game while finishing 2-for-4 at the plate. Sullivan was the go to bat for the Tigers in the middle of the lineup as he got the scoring rolling for Pacific in the first when he drove in his brother, Tyler Sullivan, to start the evening. T. Sullivan had led the game off with a single before moving to second on a sacrifice by Louis Mejia. The hit for the elder Sullivan extended the senior centerfielders hit streak to 11 games.

Two innings later, B. Sullivan was at it again when he slashed a single to right that brought in Mejia from second after the junior third basemen had lifted a one-out double down the right field line to put himself in scoring position. For B. Sullivan, both hits came with two outs in the inning as he improved his team-leading RBI total to 18 on the year.

B. Sullivan's singles bookended a two-run second for the Hornets as they got to Tiger starter, Cory Popham, to post the crooked number on the board. A leadoff hit batter started the rally as Sacramento State followed the free base with three-straight singles to do their damage. For Popham, the senior lasted 2.2 IP while giving up four hits and two runs. He would be taken off the hook by B. Sullivan's hit in the third as the bullpen picked up from there.

Holding the Hornets in check, freshman Justin Giovanonni threw the middle innings for the Tigers as he came into the game with two outs in the second and exited after the sixth having given up just one hit while walking one and striking out two. Senior Michael Hager (1-3) finished the game for the Tigers and picked up the hard-luck loss as the big righty dominated the Hornets for 3.0 IP, giving up just two hits and striking out five. Unfortunately for Hager, the two hits both came in the eighth as a leadoff single and a stolen base turned into the game-winning run when Devin Lehman delivered a two-out RBI single.

Lehman accounted for two of the three runs in the game for the Hornets as he finished 2-for-4 with two RBI while Bronson Grubbs added the other RBI hit from the bottom of the order. 

Reliever Chad Perry (1-0) was gifted the win thanks to Lehman as he pitched the seventh inning as part of a five-pitcher effort out of the bullpen for the Hornets. Sutter McLoughlin (4) finished off the save in the ninth as he came up with his 30th career save, a new WAC record. 

Hornet starter Jake Stassi went 3.0 IP while giving up four hits and two runs. He added three strikeouts while issuing no walks to the Tigers.

Pacific will try to change its luck in night contests on Thursday, April 2, when the Tigers host Pepperdine for the first of three WCC games at Klein Family Field. The weekend series goes from Thursday through Saturday with Sunday off as the conference celebrates the Easter holiday. Game time for both night contests are set for 6:00 pm with Saturday's contest at 2:00 pm. In addition to the games, the Tigers will host their 2nd Annual Bark In The Ballpark on Saturday along side of United Way Day.