SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State baseball team will conclude its eight-game homestand with a three-game series against Utah Valley this weekend at John Smith Field.
The Hornets (4-4) will meet the Wolverines (4-5) at 2 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.
Sacramento State will start RHP Ty Nichols (0-1, 6.75) in the first game while RHP Brennan Leitao (1-0, 3.00) will go in the second game. RHP Zach Morgan (0-1, 12.00) will close out the series on Sunday. Utah Valley will counter with RHP Adam Gunn (1-1, 4.00) on Friday, RHP Blake Krahenbuhl (0-1, 8.53) on Saturday and RHP Devin Nelson (0-0, 1.93) on Sunday.
* A full set of PDF game notes are available via the link above the photo.
Links for live stats and an online radio broadcast of each game can be found on the baseball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.
SACRAMENTO STATE BREAKDOWN
Team BA: .253 Team ERA: 3.73 Errors: 6
All-Time Series: The Hornets are 11-8 against Utah Valley since joining Div. I (1990+).
Recently: Sacramento State has won three of its last four games, including a, 4-1, Tuesday victory over Nevada that saw four Hornet pitchers allow just one unearned run on five hits.
UTAH VALLEY BREAKDOWN
Team BA: .245 Team ERA: 4.85 Errors: 13
Friday SP: RHP Adam Gunn (1-1, 4.00)
Saturday SP: RHP Blake Krahenbuhl (0-1, 8.53)
Sunday SP: RHP Devin Nelson (0-0, 1.93)
Recently: The Wolverines took 2-of-3 from Portland last weekend and split with No. 10 Arizona in two midweek games.
THE LAST SEVEN DAYS
Sacramento State split a four-game series with UC Riverside at home last weekend before defeating Nevada, 4-1, on Tuesday. In those five games, redshirt freshman C Dane Fujinaka hit .375 with a double and two RBIs while OF David Del Grande hit .333 with a team-best six runs scored. SS Scotty Burcham posted a team-high four RBIs in that stretch. Reliever Brandon Creel made three appearances over the last five games and allowed just one unearned run on four hits in five innings with two strikeouts.
LAST YEAR VERSUS UTAH VALLEY
Sacramento State dropped a three-game series at Utah Valley last season, 2-1. The Hornets crushed the Wolverines, 13-3, in the opening game but lost 10-6 in the second game and 13-8 in the third game. Rhys Hoskins mashed in the series, hitting .533 (8-for-15) with two home runs, two doubles, eight runs and a team-best eight RBIs. Brennan Leitao allowed nine runs (eight earned) on 12 hits in 5.1 innings in his start while Ty Nichols surrendered six runs on five hits in 3.1 innings in his start. Both took a loss.
FUJINAKA PICKS UP THE PACE
After going hitless in his first collegiate series at Texas, redshirt freshman C Dane Fujinaka hit a team-best .385 in the four-game UC Riverside series last weekend and went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a double against Nevada on Tuesday. The Aiea, Hawaii native has a five game hitting streak going into the Utah Valley series, the longest active streak on the team.
AYERS BACK IN THE MIX
After being removed during the first game of the UC Riverside series last weekend, Andrew Ayers will be back in the mix at second base for the Hornets this weekend against Utah Valley. Ayers missed four games while serving a NCAA mandated suspension when a player is ejected for fighting. 2B Scott Loper hit .286 in four games with two RBIs in Ayers' place.
IN THE CLUTCH
Sacramento State is out-scoring opponents 10-2 in the eighth and ninth innings, combined, this year. The Hornets 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 last Saturday's 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 have made six errors through their first eight games, a little off by their lofty standards. 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.
DOUBLES FOR DAYS
The Hornets continued to hit extra base hits at a high level to start the 2013 season, with seven doubles through their first eight games. 1B Rhys Hoskins has a team-high three doubles. 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 just .253 through the first eight games of the season but, based on last year's numbers, that is probably not going to be the trend. 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.