SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State baseball team (4-4) plays the first of an unprecedented seven games this season under the lights at Raley Field on Tuesday hosting Nevada (2-5) at 6:35 p.m.
Admission to Tuesday night's game and all seven contests at Raley Field this season is $10 general admission for adults and $5 for kids and students with $5 parking. Fans unable to attend can listen to a free audio broadcast on HornetSports.com/Radio and follow the action via live stats.
SAC - Sam Long (Fr./LHP 1-0, 1.80 ERA)
NEV - Barry Timko (Jr./LHP, 1-0, 1.59 ERA)
The Hornet win over #21 Texas A&M was the first victory by a WAC team against a ranked opponent this season and was the first game in program history vs. an SEC team...Freshman LHP Sam Long, who will start on Tuesday, defeated Fresno State in his collegiate debut allowing just one earned run and six hits with three strikeouts over 5.0 innings....Sacramento State plays its first of seven games this season at Raley Field on Tuesday after the team had only played there five previous times since it was constructed in 2000...Sutter McLoughlin, who has three saves and a win already this year, is one of three former Freshman All-Americans on the roster along with Chris Lewis and Rhys Hoskins...The NCBWA selected McLoughlin as a 2014 third team Preseason All-American while Baseball America named Hoskins to its Preseason All-America third team.
Rally to Raley
Tuesday night's game against Nevada will mark the first of an unprecedented seven scheduled games this season for the Hornets under the lights at Raley Field, the home of the Sacramento Rivercats. Since the field was constructed in 2000 Sacramento State has played there just five times with a 2-3 record: two games each in 2001 and 2002 and a single game last year, a 3-2 loss vs. Fresno State in front of 1,212 fans. The Bulldogs will return to Raley field this season while the Hornets will also host, Pacific, Air Force, San Francisco, Oregon State and, for the third time, Causeway rival UC Davis under the Raley lights. The stadium seats 14,014 fans, nearly 12 times the size of the Hornets on-campus home, John Smith Field.
Scouting Nevada (2-5)
Nevada won its first two games of the season, topping Boston College and Santa Clara in a tournament at Santa Clara, but has dropped its last five, including a three game sweep by Fresno State last weekend after the Hornets beat the Bulldogs on Wednesday. The Wolfpack's opening day starter, Barry Timko, has not pitched since Feb. 14 but will get the call on Tuesday. He earned a win in his first start, allowing just one run on four hits and two walks over 5.2 innings. The Wolkpack are hitting just .237 as a team, but three Nevada starters are hitting .300 or better on the year while junior Austin Byler leads with six RBIs. Sacramento State has played Nevada more times than any other team in program history, with the Wolkpack holding a 50-25 all-time edge, but the Hornets have won five of the last six meetings, including two last year.
In For The Long Haul
Freshman LHP Sam Long, who will start Tuesday vs. Nevada, had a brilliant collegiate debut last Wednesday leading the Hornets to a 6-4 win at Fresno State. Long went five innings in the game, allowing just one earned run on six hits with three strikeouts and no walks. He threw just 67 pitches before giving way to the bullpen, which preserved a win for the lefty in his first collegiate game. Long threw 46 of his 67 pitches for strikes and he only had one three-ball count in the game, never reaching 3-0 or 3-1.
Junior RHP Ty Nichols has been nearly unhittable through his first two starts of the season. On Friday at No. 21 Texas A&M Nichols threw seven shutout innings, allowing just six hits and one walk with two strikeouts, needing just 77 pitches to blank an Aggie team that had scored 34 runs through its first four games of the season. That start came after Nichols held Utah to just two runs on five hits with five strikeouts over six innings in Sacramento State's season opener. On the year Nichols is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP while holding opponents to a .244 batting average.
Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun
Sacramento State pitchers benefited from seven double plays turned by the Hornets over four games last week. The squad had two doubles plays Wednesday at Fresno State, three on Friday at Texas A&M, and two on Saturday against the Aggies. The team had turned just one double play in its four-game set vs. Utah.
No Sophomore Slump
2013 Freshman All-American Sutter McLoughlin has picked up right where he left off last season when broke the program record with 17 saves. He leads the WAC this season with three saves already recorded, including a six-out save to preserve a shutout against No. 21 Texas A&M. McLoughlin also has a win this season as he has factored in each of the Hornets four victories. Over 5.0 innings he has not given up a run and has allowed just two hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
Sacramento State and Utah alternated one-run wins over their four game series, with the Hornets winning the season opener and getting a walk-off win on Sunday. In the series the teams had the same number of runs and RBIs (13), errors (3), wild pitches (6), assists (39), and sacrifice flies (2). The Hornets hit .254 and had 32 hits and nine walks while Utah hit .256 and had 33 hits and 10 walks in a remarkably even series.
With consecutive 30-wins seasons over the last two years for the first time since 1992 and 1993, Sacramento State opens 2014 primed contend for a WAC title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Hornets bring back seven starting position players, top starting pitchers Brennan Leitao and Ty Nichols, and preseason All-American closer Sutter McLoughlin. Sacramento State has a challenging non-conference schedule, including a pair of home contests against No. 2 Oregon State, while the team plays 32 games of 56 games in Sacramento. The squad also plays 15 of its 27 WAC games on John Smith Field, as a strong group of returners, a promising crop of newcomers, and a challenging but home-friendly schedule makes the Hornets a prime candidate for the WAC crown.
A pair of Hornets have been named Preseason All-Americans leading up to the 2014 season. Coming off a freshman season in which he shattered the Sacramento State saves record and earned multiple Freshman All-American honors, sophomore pitcher Sutter McLoughlin was named to the 2014 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Division I Preseason All-America Third Team. Meanwhile, junior first baseman Rhys Hoskins was named to the 2014 Baseball America Division I Preseason All-America Third Team after being named the No. 68 collegiate prospect by Baseball America. Hoskins was also a Freshman All-American in 2012 and was an all-star in the Cape Cod league this past summer.
Sacramento State junior first baseman Rhys Hoskins was named the No. 68 college prospect on Baseball America's College Top 100 list. Hoskins is one of just two WAC baseball players to appear on the list, along with Bakersfield pitcher Austin Davis, and is the highest ranked WAC player among 100 of the best college ballplayers in the nation. Baseball America named Hoskins a first team Freshman All-American after his rookie season in 2012 in which he hit .353 with 10 home runs, 44 runs, and 53 RBIs and was also named WAC Freshman of the Year. Last season Hoskins hit .283 with 22 RBIs and 37 runs scored while adding three home runs and tying for the team lead with 15 doubles. Over the summer Hoskins played in the prestigious Cape Cod League and was named an All-Star after leading the Falmouth Commodores with 30 RBIs, 30 runs, and 44 hits while hitting .321 and adding five home runs.
The 2014 Sacramento State roster is almost entirely from the state of California, with just two of 32 players coming from outside the Golden State. The California players stretch the entire state, from as far north as Eureka (David Del Grande) and McArthur (Sterling Humphry) to as far south as Irvine (Brennan Leitao) and La Quinta (Scotty Burcham). Among the group are 14 players from the Greater Sacramento area, including five from within the city limits. Coincidentally, both players from outside of the state play catcher, Dane Fujinaka (Aiea, Hawaii) and Gunner Pollman (West Linn, Oregon).