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Hjelle, Ramos Catalysts in Walk-Off Sacramento Victory

Hjelle Carries No-Hit Bid into Sixth, Ramos Launches Walk-Off Homer
Heliot Ramos follows through on a swing during Sacramento's contest on July 19.
September 3, 2023

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Early pitching gave way to late offense for the Sacramento River Cats on Saturday as Sean Hjelle took a no-hit bid into the sixth while a walk-off three-run homer by Heliot Ramos sent Sacramento home victorious over the Albuquerque Isotopes by a 6-3 final. The River

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Early pitching gave way to late offense for the Sacramento River Cats on Saturday as Sean Hjelle took a no-hit bid into the sixth while a walk-off three-run homer by Heliot Ramos sent Sacramento home victorious over the Albuquerque Isotopes by a 6-3 final.

The River Cats (58-72) spotted Hjelle an early run thanks to Luis Matos, who crushed the first pitch of his at-bat in the third to deep left field for the early edge. Meanwhile, Hjelle was cruising through the early goings while working around a trio of walks in the first two frames, and had fanned five through the fifth.

A leadoff single broke up the no-hitter in the away half of the sixth and started a rally that saw the Isotopes (57-74) take their first and only lead of the contest. Albuquerque went on to load the bases when Jimmy Herron doubled and Coco Montes was hit by a pitch, then scored on a fielder’s choice with an error on the play with no out recorded.

Hjelle then exited in favor of Darien Nunez, but the Isotopes continued the scoring with a pair of bases loaded walks to Willie MacIver and Montes. In all, the Isotopes put seven runners aboard that resulted in the trio of runs to put them out in front, 3-1.

Singles from Trenton Brooks and Ramos along with a walk by Joey Bart loaded the bases for Sacramento in the bottom half of the inning in an attempt to equalize, but despite the bags full with only one out, a foul out and ground out brought the close to the inning.

Insurance nearly came for the Isotopes in the seventh, as a leadoff ground-rule double with one out returned a runner to scoring position before two more reached later, but Sacramento hurler Chris Wright punched out the final hitter of the inning to escape danger.

Sacramento was able to capitalize after the missed opportunity by Albuquerque, finally drawing level after a trio of hits resulted in a pair of runs. Brooks and Bart both singled to open the inning, and they were immediately joined by Ramos after he worked a free pass. Only Brooks and Bart came around to score, with the former crossing on a Luis Gonzalez sacrifice fly while Johan Camargo drove home the latter with a single into right center.

That set the stage for the ninth as the tie game threatened to go to extras, but there to hold the momentum for the River Cats was Juan Sanchez (1-2) as he spun a clean frame with a strikeout to keep the game level.

In their final at-bats before free baseball, Villar kickstarted the frame with a walk before Bart singled through the left side. Up to the plate stepped the hero of the night, as Ramos battled through his at-bat before hammering a 2-2 pitch deep over the wall in center for Sacramento’s eighth walk-off win in 2023. This was the second walk-off hit by Ramos, who finished the River Cats’ contest on July 22 against Tacoma with a solo home run, making him the only River Cat this season with multiple walk-off hits.

While Sanchez claimed the win staying clean in the last inning, he was one of four Sacramento hurlers who turned in scoreless appearances. It started with Nunez by working 0.2 innings, while both Wright and Melvin Adon allowed a hit in a solo inning of work.

There were two River Cats that produced three-hit nights, with Bart leading the way by going 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and a walk while Brooks was 3-for-5 and scored once. Ramos closed the night with a pair of knocks by going 2-for-4, driving in three thanks to his walk-off dinger. Also producing a pair of knocks was Camargo, who was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Tomorrow the River Cats will attempt to clinch their second consecutive series win (won four of six last week against El Paso), as Sacramento closes the series with Albuquerque in an afternoon matinee from Sutter Health Park that begins at 1:05 p.m.