SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State (8-11) continues its season long nine-game home stand on Tuesday in its third of seven games this season at Raley Field. The Hornets will host their neighbor to the south Pacific (10-12) with first pitch at 6:35 p.m.
Tuesday will be a Green Army game with the first 50 students receiving free admission and the first 25 students also getting a free hot dog. Fans are also encouraged to bring donations for goodwill, which will be at Tuesday's game as well as the April 21 Oregon State game at Raley Field. Tickets for Hornet games at Raley Field are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children with $5 parking.
The First Pitch
Sacramento State is 3-0 in mid-week games this season, including two wins at Raley Field, hitting .301 and averaging five runs per game with a 2.25 team ERA...After being held to a single run in four consecutive games Sacramento State has scored nine runs in its last two games on 17 hits, including a home run and three doubles...The Hornets are in the midst of a season-long nine game home stand with seven games at John Smith Field, including three WAC games, and two contests at Raley Field...Closer Sutter McLoughlin has been part of the decision in seven of the eight Hornet wins this season while not allowing a run over 13.0 innings with a .116 opponent batting avg...Redshirt freshman Justin Dillon will make his first career start for the Hornets while Pacific freshman Stuart Bradley will do the same after throwing five scoreless innings in relief.
SAC - Justin Dillon (RFr./RHP 0-0, 0.00 ERA)
PAC - Stuart Bradley (Fr./RHP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Scouting Pacific (10-12)
Pacific took 2-of-3 games last weekend at Pepperdine. Those were the first games for the Tigers in conference play in the West Coast Conference (WCC) after moving from the Big West prior to this season. The Tigers are hitting .272 as a team but have a 4.24 team ERA, allowing an average of 4.95 runs per game. Projected Tuesday starter Stuart Bradley has not allowed a hit or a run in 5.0 innings this year in relief, however, while the team is led offensively by a pair of brothers. Sophomore Brett Sullivan is hitting .402 with 14 RBIs and his brother Tyler, a junior, is hitting .368 with a team-high 20 runs. The pair are the sons of Mike Sullivan, a former Sacramento State quarterback that ranks fourth in program history in career passing yards and touchdowns. The Hornets are 38-30 all-time against Pacific including a win in Stockton last year.
Bats Coming Alive
Sacramento State's offense picked up significantly over the last two games of the Minnesota series. The team had scored just one run in four straight contests before putting six runs on the board on Saturday and three more on Sunday. The team had 17 hits, seven walks, and two hit batters over the two games and cashed in nine runs, though it did leave 18 men on base. On Sunday senior Clay Cederquist hit the first Sacramento State home run since March 2 and the team's first long ball of the season at John Smith Field.
Sacramento State is 3-0 in midweek games so far this season behind solid pitching and an uptick in hitting. Though it is a small sample size, the squad is hitting .301 in midweek games but just .234 in series games, and the team's era is 2.25 in the three midweek games and 4.18 in series. The Hornets also have sizeable gaps in slugging percentage (.408-.296) and on-base percentage (.365-.290) in going 3-0 in midweek games and 5-11 otherwise.
Sophomore closer Sutter McLoughlin leads a potent three-man bullpen combination that has been mostly lights out late in games this season. McLoughlin, a 2013 Freshman All-American, has not allowed a single run in 13.0 innings pitched this season, allowing just five hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts and a .116 opponent batting average to total a 2-0 record and five saves. Junior Alex Palsha leads the team with 11 appearances and is 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA over 19.0 innings of relief, allowing just 13 hits this season. Additionally, freshman Sterling Humphry has not allowed a run in 7.1 innings, giving up just two hits with a .087 opponent batting average. The trio has allowed just four earned runs over 39.1 combined innings.
Good in a Pinch
Sacramento State pinch hitters are a combined 5-for-12 (.417) this season. Redshirt freshman Ryan Locke is 3-for-3 in pinch-hit at-bats and senior Clay Cederquist is 2-for-3. The Hornets also have a .371 batting average hitting leadoff, with No. 1 hitter Nathan Lukes setting the tone with a .342 season average.
Rally to Raley
The Hornets are 2-0 with still five games remaining this season 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. Sacramento State has remaining midweek games this season against Pacific, Air Force, San Francisco, Oregon State and, for the third time, Causeway rival UC Davis under the Raley lights.
In For The Long Hall
LHP Sam Long made his fourth career start on Saturday against Minnesota and was strong again, allowing just two runs on seven hits and one walks over 6.0 innings, his third quality start oh the season. Long has allowed just 24 hits and six earned runs over 23.0 innings pitched as a starter this year with a 2.62 cumulative ERA and is tied for the team lead with two wins. In his collegiate debut at Fresno State the Rancho Cordova native allowed just one earned run on six hits and no walks with three strikeouts over five innings to earn the win and he beat the Bulldogs again with six scoreless innings when the teams met at Raley Field March 5.
Starting at the Top
Sophomore Nathan Lukes has started in right field and hit leadoff in every game this season and is hitting .342 with a .424 on-base percentage, leading the team in both categories as well as hits (25), runs (11), and walks (10). He also has five RBIs, three doubles, one stolen base, and a 1.000 fielding percentage with three outfield assists. Among his five multi-hit games this season are a three-hit game against Nevada and a four-hit game against Utah and he has reached base in 13 consecutive games.