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Hornets in the Pros

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Eight former Sacramento State baseball players are continuing their careers in the professional ranks this summer, including 2014 draft picks Rhys Hoskins and Alex Palsha.

There are a pair of Hornets just one step below Major League Baseball in Triple-A. Tim Wheeler, who was a first round draft pick by the Colorado Rockies in 2009, continues to play for the franchise with the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox. His ascension through the Rockies organization was slowed by a broken hamate bone after the 2011 season but he is playing in Triple-A for the second consecutive year and has six home runs and 30 RBIs in 80 games.

Former Hornet pitcher and football player Mitch Lively is in his eighth season in professional baseball. He was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2007, reached Triple-A in 2012 with the Fresno Grizzlies in the San Francisco Giants organization, and just a week ago opted out of his Giants contract and signed with the Washington Nationals. He was 6-4 with a 5.08 ERA this season with the Grizzlies and made his first start with the Nationals Triple-A affiliate Syracuse Chiefs on Sunday.

A 2012 draftee in the 31st round, catcher Derrick Chung reached the Double-A level this year with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. He hit .320 with 2 home runs and 16 RBIs with the Dunedin Blue Jays this year to earn the promotion to Double-A, where he is currently hitting .235.

Now in his seventh season in pro ball, Gabe Jacobo hit .335 overall in 2012 and .315 with 11 home runs at Double-A last season. He also played for the Fisher Cats this season and is now with the Lancaster Barnstormers, an independent team in Pennsylvania, where he is hitting .261 in 17 games.

Outfielder Justin Higley was a 13th round draft pick by the Oakland Athletics in 2013 and began the 2014 season with the Vermont Lake Monsters. He hit .281 with five homers and 25 RBIs over 24 games in Short Season Class A to earn a promotion to High-A and the Beloit Snappers.

Another 2013 draftee, RHP Tanner Mendonca, pitched in the Minnesota Twins organization last year and is with the Chicago White Sox Rookie Arizona League team this season. He has pitched in seven games in relief with 20 strikeouts and just two walks in 10.1 innings pitched this year, holding opposing hitters to a .231 average.

Hoskins became the fourth-highest drafted player in program history when the Philadelphia Phillies took the Hornet junior in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. Playing for the Williamsport Crosscutters in the Class-A New York-Penn League, Hoskins has four home runs, 21 RBIs, and 17 runs scored in 32 games. He hit home runs in three consecutive games last week, driving in six runs.

The New York Mets selected Palsha in the 27th round of the 2014 draft after he broke Hornet program records for ERA and appearances last season. Pitching for the GCL Mets in the Rookie Gulf Coast League, Palsha has appeared in five games and has three saves without giving up a run, allowing just four hits and no walks over 4.1 innings with three strikeouts.

For more information and to track the eight former Hornet ballplayers see Hornets in the Pros.