Deely’s walk-off single secures Sac State baseball’s 8-7 win over Utah

Jordan Waterman

After several lead changes, the three and a half hour marathon was capped off with a walk-off single by Dan Deely in the ninth inning, propelling Sacramento State past the University of Utah in the Hornets’ 8-7 victory on Monday afternoon at John Smith Field.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, Deely, ahead in the count, was looking for something to drive and delivered with a liner to center field, knocking in Brandon Hunley for the win.

“He got behind in the count early so I knew he had to come into the zone,” Deely said. “He couldn’t walk me because we had the bases loaded.”

The ninth inning rally began with a line drive by Hunley to left field, which was misjudged by the Utes left fielder Jayson Rose, allowing him to make it to third. A series of events that included a ground out by Pj Floyd and two intentional walks issued to Scotty Burcham and Bronson Grubbs led Deely to the plate.

“With Deely up I knew we had a really good shot,” Hunley said. “I was just hoping for him to hit something deep enough so I could tag up, but in the end he came through with a hit, so it was even better.”

Despite the numerous lead changes, the Hornets continued to battle showing an incredible amount of resiliency and maturity.

“We’re a bunch of grinders,” Deely said. “That word keeps coming up when we describe us. That’s what you’re going to get.”

The impressive late inning comeback has the Western Athletic Conference champions off to an ideal start, taking three games out of four versus Utah.

“We played hard,” said coach Reggie Christiansen. “One thing about this team is you don’t really get a sense that they worry about what inning it is or the score. They believe in each other and they continue to play hard.”

Pitcher Anthony Castaneda got his first start at the college level. Although he only pitched 1 1/3 innings, the short appearance turned out to be a valuable learning experience.

“Next time I’ll be ready to go,” Castaneda said. “It was just first game jitters and I’ll be OK next time.”

The Utes continued to battle the Hornets with the last game of the series on the line, including significant contributions at the plate from Cody Scaggari who had a key two-run double and Wade Gulden who came around to score three times throughout the game.

The Hornets committed their first error of the year in a game that included an additional five errors from the Utes and a combined total of 11 different pitchers between both teams.

“It was a pretty sloppy played game,” Christiansen said. “All that matters is the W [win] next to our name at the end of it.”

The Hornets (3-1) will look to keep the ball rolling as the University of Portland Pilots (0-4) come to John Smith Field on Feb. 20 at 2 p.m.

The scheduled pitching starters for the week include: Brennan Leitao on Friday, Sam Long for the first double header, Ty Nichols for the second, and Jake Stassi will be making his first appearance of the year to close out the series on Sunday.