BASEBALL MEETS FRESNO STATE AT RALEY FIELD
• Sacramento State will welcome a familiar foe for a non-league game on Tuesday as Fresno State will meet the Hornets at Raley Field. First pitch will come at 6 p.m.
• The game against the Bulldogs will mark the first time that Sacramento State has played at Raley Field since 2002. The Hornets have previously faced Stanford, UC Davis and Cal Poly at the ballpark which serves as home to the Sacramento River Cats — the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A's.
• The two teams were rivals in the Western Athletic Conference from 2006-11. Last season, the teams played in the WAC Tournament championship game where Fresno State outlasted the Hornets, 4-3, in 13 innings.
• Sacramento State enters the game with a 13-10 overall record after dropping two of three against CSU Bakersfield over the weekend.
• The Bulldogs are 4-16 overall and have lost nine of their last 10 games. The team was able to play just one of its three scheduled games at Air Force over the weekend due to snow.
• All Sacramento State baseball home games, and selected road games, can be heard for free on hornetsports.com with Nate Goodyear and Kyle Madson combining for the action. Each broadcast begins approximately five minutes before the scheduled first pitch.
• Live stats for all home games will also be available on hornetsports.com
• Fresno State leads the all-time series, 112-29. The teams first met in 1951.
Below is a look at how Sacramento State stacks up against this weekend's opponent in overall statistics.
|Conference Record||2-1 (WAC)||1-3
|Last 10 Game||5-5||1-9|
A LOOK BACK
Sacramento State opened WAC play by winning one of three games against CSU Bakersfield.
The Roadrunners captured the series opener with a 4-2 victory on Friday. The Hornets bounced back with a 5-0 shutout on Saturday. CSUB took the rubber game on Sunday with a 6-3 win in 10 innings.
In the final game, the Hornets led 3-1 in the eighth inning before Bakersfield scored two in that frame to tie the game. Cael Brockmeyer then clubbed a three-run home run in the top of the 10th for the decisive runs.
Brennan Leitao threw seven strong innings as part of four pitchers on Saturday. Leitao scattered nine hits and did not allow a walk in the win.
Friday, the Roadrunners scored three runs in the third inning which proved to be enough.
A LOOK AHEAD
Sacramento State returns to conference play this weekend at new WAC member Dallas Baptist. Due to the Easter holiday, the series will take place Thursday-Saturday.
The trip will mark the Hornets' second of three voyages to the Lone Star state this season.
Sacramento State and Dallas Baptist have never met prior to this series.
AGAINST FRESNO STATE
Sacramento State and Fresno State have played annually since the Hornets returned to the WAC in 2006. In that stretch, the Bulldogs have gone 26-8.
Last season, Fresno State took two of three during the regular season at Beiden Field in Fresno. The team's met in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament in Arizona where the Hornets won 8-3. The Bulldogs then played their way to a rematch in the finals and defeated the Hornets 9-6 on May 26 and 4-3 in 13 innings on May 27.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Fresno State enters the week in the midst of a four-game losing streak and having lost nine of its last 10 games. The only common opponents between the two schools this season has been UC Santa Barbara and CSU Bakersfield. Both teams were 1-2 against the Gauchos. Fresno State lost a midweek game to CSUB while the Hornets were 1-2.
Right-hander Derick Velazquez is scheduled to make the start on Tuesday night for Fresno State. Velazquez has started five games in 2012 and owns a 5.79 ERA and 1-2 overall record.
Preseason All-American Aaron Judge has been the top hitter for the Bulldogs. Judge is batting .304 with five doubles, a triple and team-leading four home runs. He also leads the team with 14 RBIs.
Fresno State is coached by Mike Batesole who is currently in his 11th season with the Bulldogs. Prior to taking the job, Batesole was the head coach at Cal State Northridge.
Despite having seven games decided by one run, Sunday's contest marked the first time this year that Sacramento State has gone into extra innings.
The Hornets played four extra-inning games last season, posting a 2-2 record.
HOT HITTING HIGLEY
Over the last 10 games there has been no one hotter at the plate for Sacramento State than Justin Higley. The junior outfielder is batting .417 during the stretch with four doubles, a triple and two home runs. Higley has also driven in eight runs and has an on-base percentage of .444.
The Jesuit HS product have been even more productive in his last five games, hitting .471 (8-17) and slugging .647 with an OBP of .591.
TWICE AS NICE
Sophomore Brennan Leitao worked double duty last week, coming out of the bullpen for an inning in the team's come-from-behind win at Saint Mary's before picking up the victory against CSU Bakersfield.
Leitao did not allow a baserunner in his inning against the Gaels. His effort helped the Hornets overcome a 6-2 deficit and rally for a 9-7 win.
On Saturday, he took the mound with the stomach flu and managed to last seven innings without allowing a run or walk against the Roadrunners.
The Irvine, Calif., native now ranks second among starters on the team with a 3.29 ERA and a 2-1 record. His 41.0 innings pitched is the most on the team by 13 innings. Leitao also has a strikeout to walk ratio of 5.75 to 1.
NOT A LOT OF TURNOVER
While the order has changed, the faces have remained relatively the same for the year for Sacramento State. Head coach Reggie Christiansen has started just 11 players (excluding pitchers) in the team's 23 games.
Catcher Dane Fujinaka, first baseman Rhys Hoskins, third baseman Will Soto, shortstop Scotty Burcham, right fielder Nathan Lukes and designated hitter Nathan Lukes have started every game at their respective positions. Higley (LF) and David Del Grande (CF) are close behind, having earned the start in 22 games.
One of the exceptions to the group has been reigning WAC MVP Andrew Ayers who's started "only" 19 games at second base. However, the four games Ayers missed were due to a suspension for an altercation against UC Riverside.
• Burcham has reached base safely in 10 straight games.
• The Hornets have committed just 16 errors in 23 games and have a team fielding percentage of .982.
• The home run allowed in the 10th inning against CSUB was just the second surrendered all season by Sacramento State.
• The team has stolen just 11 bases all year long in only 17 attempts.
• CSU Bakersfield, Seattle, Texas State, UTSA, UT Arlington and Dallas Baptist are all in their debut season in the WAC.
• Four Hornet relievers, who have all made at least six appearances, have ERA's of 2.21 or below.
• Sacramento State has nine home runs with no one individual with more than two.
• Tyler Hoelzen has pitched in 13 of the team's 23 games.