Palsha comes up big in relief as Sac State beats Grand Canyon in extras

State Hornet Staff

With bases loaded and nobody out in a tie game in the bottom of the eighth inning, many pitchers would crack under the pressure, but not junior relief pitcher Alex Palsha.

The seemingly insurmountable obstacle could have easily let it affect him, but fortunately for the Hornets, the power right hander guided Sac State out of it without surrendering a single run.

Sacramento State took on Grand Canyon University Saturday in what has been the most competitive series in the Western Athletic Conference this season. The Antelopes, who won Friday in the last inning, is third place with a conference record of 7-4.

Following Palsha’s hold in the eighth and ninth inning, the Hornets took a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the 10th off of a sophomore right fielder Nathan Lukes RBI single. Sophomore closer Sutter McLoughlin finished the game 1-2-3 to record his WAC leading, eighth save of the season.

It was Palsha’s fourth win of the season and he is now tied for the team lead.

This was the third game in the last five that have gone into extra innings, with the Hornets going 2-1 in those games.

Both teams got off to a hot start as they both got on the scoreboard in the first inning. Grand Canyon got to freshman starting pitcher Sam Long early in what was Long’s worst start this season.

Long gave up 10 hits and four earned runs in six innings pitched. It was the most runs he’s given up this season in a start.

Sophomore designated hitter Chris Lewis has struggled this season coming off of a stellar freshman campaign, but had a nice game going 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored.

Senior center fielder David Del Grande hit his fourth home run of the season in the top of the fifth. Sac State scored one run in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings of the game.

Leading Grand Canyon was leadoff hitter David Walker who went 3-for-6 with one run scored. Walker leads the Antelopes in hits (45), runs scored (31) and stolen bases (14).

Sac State is now 21-13, 10-1 this season and will play the rubber match, Sunday in Phoenix. First pitch is at 12:30 p.m.