SACRAMENTO, Calif. – After a thrilling 7-4 win over Nevada on Tuesday at Raley Field, the Sacramento State baseball team (5-4) returns to action this weekend with a three-game set with San Francisco (3-5). After a rain out on Friday, the first game will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday at John Smith Field before a double header Sunday starting at 11 a.m. in San Francisco.
SAC - Ty Nichols (Jr./RHP 2-0, 1.38 ERA)
USF - Abe Bobb (Sr./RHP, 0-1, 7.50 ERA)
Sunday (Gm 1)
SAC - Brennan Leitao (Jr./RHP, 0-1, 3.00 ERA)
USF - Christian Cecilio (Jr./LHP, 1-1, 5.06 ERA)
Sunday (Gm 2)
SAC - Jared Paderez (Fr./RHP, 0-1, 4.50 ERA)
USF - Matt Narahara (Jr./LHP, 0-2, 7.00 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 Brandon Hunley hit his first career home run and the first Sacramento State home run of the season on Tuesday, breaking a 4-4 tie with a 3-run blast in the eighth...Sacramento State played 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...Closer Sutter McLoughlin has been part of the decision in each of the five Hornet win this season, recording a WAC-best four saves and earning a win against Utah...The NCBWA selected McLoughlin as a 2014 third team Preseason All-American while Baseball America named Hoskins to its Preseason All-America third team.
Scouting San Francisco (3-5)
Nevada started the season 3-2 but has dropped its last three games. The Dons played a three-game series at No. 2 Cal State Fullerton and earned one win, outlasting the Titans 6-5 in a 19-inning game in the series opener. The Dons also have a home win over Kansas State and took one of three at UC Riverside while losing 6-4 at Stanford on Tuesday. San Francisco returned five All-WCC selections in 2014 after going 35-24 last season, but has gotten off to a slow start this year with a 5.84 team ERA through eight games. USF opponents are also 15-for-15 in stolen base attempts this year, while junior Derek Atkinson is hitting .378 with seven RBIs to lead the team offensively. San Francisco has a 29-25 all-time edge against the Hornets.
A pair of Hornet freshman, both of whom graduated high school early in December and enrolled at Sacramento State for the Spring semester, led the Hornets to a 5-4 win on Tuesday night over Nevada. LHP Sam Long made his second career start and threw six quality innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk. Second baseman Brandon Hunley made his sixth start of the season and was the hero, launching a three-run homer with two outs and a tie score in the bottom of the eighth to propel the Hornets to victory. He also had a single and scored two runs in the contest, recording his third multi-hit game and second multi-RBI game already this season. Hunley is hitting .348 on the season with a team-best .478 slugging percentage while Long has allowed just 13 hits and five earned runs over 11 innings pitched.
Starting at the Top
Sophomore Nathan Lukes has started in right field and hit leadoff in every game this season and is hitting .406 with a superb .512 on-base percentage, leading the team in both categories as well as hits (13), runs (6), and walks (7). He also has three RBIs, two doubles, one stolen base, and a 1.000 fielding percentage with one outfield assist. Among his three multi-hit games this season are a three-hit game against Nevada on Tuesday and a four-hit game against Utah.
Rally to Raley
Tuesday night's game against Nevada was 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 had 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.
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 four 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 five victories. Over 6.0 innings he has not given up a run and has allowed just two hits and one walk with seven strikeouts.