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Sacramento State baseball season ends at Stanford Regional, but bulk of team returns

Watch awesome Gatorade bath Sac State baseball coach gets after huge win

Sacramento State baseball team is the first team in WAC tournament history to win six games in a row in the losers’ bracket to take the championship. And that meant a Gatorade bath. Hornets now advance to the Regionalsl in the NCAA tournament.
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Sacramento State baseball team is the first team in WAC tournament history to win six games in a row in the losers’ bracket to take the championship. And that meant a Gatorade bath. Hornets now advance to the Regionalsl in the NCAA tournament.

Sacramento State had a baseball season to remember, one that included beating then No. 3-ranked UCLA early in the season, then storming through the Western Athletic Conference at a record clip to reach an NCAA Tournament for the third time in six seasons.

The campaign came to an abrupt end Sunday afternoon at Stanford, a 12-3 setback to the Regional hosts in double-elimination play.

Stanford defeated Sac State 11-0 in the opener Friday, and the Hornets stayed alive with a 6-4 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Saturday.

But Stanford (43-12) again proved to be too formidable, breaking open a 5-1 game Sunday with a seven-run seventh inning to oust the Hornets (40-25), who start just one senior position player in center fielder Bronson Grubbs under ninth-year coach Reggie Christiansen.

Nick Bellafronto homered and drove in three runs for Stanford, a program in its 35th playoff season and 18th as a Regional host.

Alex Williams (8-1) tossed a six-hitter for Stanford, the program’s first complete game in two seasons. He walked two and struck out eight. Stanford clubbed four home runs against the Hornets, two days after ripping four homers in the 11-0 rout.

Left fielder Matt Smith had a two-run homer for Sac State. Six Hornets pitchers combined to walk seven. Evan Gibbons started. He’s a freshman from Franklin High School in Elk Grove and The Bee’s 2018 Player of the Year.

Sac State reached this Regional after winning a record six consecutive games to win the WAC Tournament after losing the event opener.

“Our guys just ran out of gas,” Christiansen said. “Stanford can really hit. It’s unfortunate to finish like this (with a loss), but at the same time, I’m really proud of them. A lot of cool memories. Guys really grew up.

“It’s been a magical run. They helped propel this program. A lot of guys will be back, hungry.”

Said Grubbs, “Everyone really bought in. We went through a lot of ups and downs, and the way we came together, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

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