SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State baseball team, winners in five of its last six games, will look to keep that momentum alive this weekend when the Hornets play host to Cal State Northridge for a three-game series at John Smith Field.
The Hornets and Matadors will meet at 2 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturdy and noon on Sunday. Tickets are available at the gate, with reserved chair-back seats costing $10 and general admission bleacher seats going for $5. Students and faculty can gain free entry by showing their OneCard.
SACRAMENTO STATE BREAKDOWN
Team BA: .267 Team ERA: 3.23 Errors: 6
Friday SP: RHP Ty Nichols (1-1, 2.38)
Saturday SP: RHP Brennan Leitao (1-1, 4.50)
Sunday SP: TBA
All-Time Series: The Hornets are 19-42 against Cal State Northridge since joining Div. I (1990+).
Recently: Sacramento State has won five of its last six games and has scored 24 runs over its last two contests. Last week the Hornets took 2-of-3 from Utah Valley before beating UC Davis on Tuesday. At the conclusion of this three-game series with Cal State Northridge, the Hornets will have played 11 of their last 12 games at home.
CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE BREAKDOWN
Team BA: .256 Team ERA: 4.50 Errors: 12
Friday SP: LHP Jerry Keel (1-1, 2.75)
Saturday SP: RHP Calvin Copping (1-2, 2.65)
Sunday SP: TBA
Recently: The Matadors have lost seven of their last eight games, but all came against Pac-12 foes (USC, Washington State, Oregon). They dropped a pair at No. 15 ranked Oregon on Monday and Tuesday after losing 3-of-4 at Washington State. Cal State Northridge will close out its 10-game road trip against the Hornets.
Sacramento State offers live stats and an online radio broadcast for all home games. Links can be found on the baseball schedule page at hornetsports.com. Fans can also follow along via twitter @hornetsports.
THE LAST SEVEN DAYS
Sacramento State took 2-of-3 from Utah Valley last weekend and blasted rival UC Davis, 14-0, in a midweek road game on Tuesday. Over that four game stretch, third baseman Will Soto is hitting a team-high .385 with six RBIs, three doubles and four walks. Center fielder David Del Grande also has three doubles in that span while hitting .375. Reliever Tyler Hoelzen did not allow a hit in any of his three appearances (3 IPs). RHP Ty Nichols combined with reliever RHP Sutter McLoughlin to post a 1-0 shutout win over Utah Valley on Friday before RHP Hunter Greenwood and three relievers combined for a shutout of the Aggies on Tuesday.
LAST YEAR VS. CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE
Sacramento State dropped a three-game season-opening series to Cal State Northridge at home last season, 2-1. The Matadors took the first game, 6-4, before the Hornets won 2-0 in the second game behind a shutout performance by RHP Tanner Mendonca. CSUN claimed the series with a 5-3 win in the third and final game. Outfielder Kyle Moses hit .500 in the series last year (5-for-10) with three runs scored and a triple. Andrew Ayers tied Trevor Paine with a team-high two RBIs. Mendonca allowed just five hits with two walks and two strikeouts in nine innings in the Hornets' lone win of the series. RHP Brennan Leitao tossed four innings of one-run relief while RHP Zach Morgan gave up four runs on three hits and three walks over four innings in his start.
ON A ROLL
Sacramento State is on a roll lately, having won five of its last six games dating back to a 7-4 series clinching victory against UC Riverside on Feb. 24. The Hornets have outscored their opponents 40-14 during that stretch.
IN THE ZONE
Sacramento State pitching has been in command of the strike zone lately and the Hornets have issued just one walk in the last 28.2 innings. Starting with one out in the eighth inning last Friday against Utah Valley, Sacramento State went 25 innings without a walk before UC Davis drew a free pass with one out in the sixth inning on Tuesday. A Sacramento State starting pitcher has not allowed a walk in 16 innings over the last three games.
PITCHING SHOWING PROMISE
Over the last 45 innings, Sacramento State has allowed just nine earned runs, for a 1.80 ERA, and posted a 31-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Hornets have recorded two shutouts in the last four games after tallying four shutouts in 59 games last year.
HOELZEN'S SO HOT RIGHT NOW
In his last four appearances, LHP Tyler Hoelzen has allowed just one hit in seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and two walks. Opponents are hitting just .156 off Hoelzen so far this season, a mark bested by only one other pitcher on the roster - RHP Sutter McLoughlin's .154 batting average against over eight innings and five appearances.
The Hornets have made just six errors through their first 12 games, and have not made an error in four straight games. Sacramento State set a new school record and ranked No. 5 in the nation with a .979 fielding percentage last year. The Hornets had the No. 1 mark in the NCAA for four straight weeks earlier in the season. The Hornets made just 47 errors in 59 games. Head coach Reggie Christiansen led Sacramento State to its third-best fielding percentage in program history in 2011 at .969.
BIG PRODUCTION IN LATE INNINGS
Sacramento State is outscoring opponents 18-3 in the eighth and ninth innings, combined, this year. The Hornets tallied five runs in the ninth on Tuesday against UC Davis. They also posted five runs in the eighth inning at Texas in the season opener but came one run short of the comeback, falling 6-5. In the first game of the Feb. 23 doubleheader against UC Riverside, Scotty Burcham dropped down a walk-off squeeze bunt in the ninth for a 4-3 win. The Hornets nearly walked off again, but scored only two runs in 7-6 loss to to the Highlanders in the second game of the doubleheader. The Hornets scored three runs in the eighth of last Sunday's 10-3 victory over Utah Valley to put the game, and the series win, on ice.
DOUBLES FOR DAYS
Sacramento State has hit 12 doubles in the last two games while scoring 24 runs. Overall, the Hornets have 20 doubles through 12 games this year. Sacramento State had 122 doubles in 59 games last season, good for No. 21 in the NCAA. The Hornets tallied at least one double in all but seven games and hit 3-or-more on 16 occassions. Sacramento State had a season-high seven doubles (out of 10 total hits) in a game at UC Riverside last season. The Hornets hit at least one double in 23 of the last 24 games and tallied 10 doubles in four games at the WAC Tournament.
BETTER WITH THE BATS
The Hornets are hitting .267 through the first 12 games of the season, (fifth best in the WAC) but based on last year's numbers, that is definitely room to grow. Last year, the Hornets had eight regular starters hit .270 or better, with five players hitting over .300. The Hornets batted .298 as a team and finished strong, with 10+ hits in 20 of their last 24 games. In four games at the WAC Tournament, Sacramento State scored 32 runs on a whopping 60 hits. In 2011, Sacramento State had just one regular starter who hit over .270 and none break .300.
HOSKINS PARKS ONE ON THE ROOF
First baseman Rhys Hoskins hit his first home run of the season in a big way last Sunday in the Hornets' 10-3 win over Utah Valley. On a 1-0 count with one out in the fifth inning, Hoskins crushed a home run to left field that landed on top of the six-story parking garage beyond the outfield fence. Head coach Reggie Christiansen said he has never seen a ball land on top of the garage in his five seasons (three as head coach) with the Hornets.