Third baseman Ben Mauseth’s two-run, two-out home run in the top of the 11th inning led Grand Canyon to a 4-2 win over Sacramento State on Friday at John Smith Field.
The loss ended the Hornets’ bid to repeat as the Western Athletic Conference regular season champions and stopped their eight-game winning streak.
The defeat also dropped Sac State (30-24, 16-10) back to fourth place in the WAC as the regular season concludes on Saturday. The Hornets will play at noon against the Antelopes (31-22, 18-7), which can claim the regular season title with a win. Grand Canyon is ineligible for next week’s postseason tournament in Mesa, Ariz., as it transitions from Division II to D-I.
Second place Seattle (28-25, 18-8) clinched the top seed for the WAC tournament by beating Northern Colorado 5-4 in Greeley, Colo. on Friday. Third place Bakersfield (31-21-1, 16-9-1) also won 13-4 on Friday at Chicago State.
Sac State can claim the WAC tournament No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win Saturday and a Bakersfield loss to Chicago State.
Dan Deely staked Sac State to a 2-0 lead after five innings with a run-scoring double in the second and an RBI single in the fourth, before Grand Canyon rallied for single runs in the sixth and eighth innings.
In bottom of the ninth, Sac State freshman Bronson Grubbs singled and reached second with two outs. But Scotty Burcham’s hard shot deflected off the pitcher to shortstop Paul Panaccione, who got the force out at second. Sac State threatened again with two on and two out in the 10th. But Deely’s sharp grounder hit freshman Vinny Esposito on his way to third for the third out.
In his final start in Sacramento, senior pitcher Brennan Leitao went eight innings, allowed eight hits, no walks and one earned run. Senior Ty Nichols pitched two scoreless innings before Sac State career saves leader Sutter McLoughlin came on in the 11th and surrendered the home run to Mauseth. His right field shot was the first of his career.
Deely had his second career three-hit game; Hornets junior career hits leader Nathan Lukes had three singles; and sophomore Brandon Hunley doubled and tripled. Senior Kyle Moses, returning from injury, doubled in his first at-bat since April 14. The Hornets had 13 hits but stranded 11 runners.