SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State (17-18) plays its ninth home game over a 13-day stretch and closes its longest home stand of the season hosting San Francisco (18-18) in a non-conference game at 6 p.m. Monday at John Smith Field. The Hornets and Dons will also play a second game in San Francisco on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
- In consecutive weeks Sacramento State handed a previously unbeaten, WAC-leading team its first conference loss. Parker Brahms was the starting pitcher in both games, a 7-1 win over Grand Canyon and a 2-1 win in 12 innings over New Mexico State. GCU and NMSU were both 7-0 in WAC play.
- Austin Root made his first start of the season last Tuesday and threw five shutout innings on just 54 pitches with 44 strikes. The four Hornet relievers that followed also threw a plethora of strikes as the staff combined to throw just 93 pitches with 72 strikes and only 21 balls without issuing a walk.
- Sacramento State pitchers struck out 34 New Mexico State batters in the three-game series, averaging more than 11 strikeouts per game with at least 11 in each contest. Hornet pitchers have tallied double-digit strikeouts in five of the last seven games, averaging over nine K's per game
- The Hornets have been successful on eight straight stolen base attempts, having not had a runner caught stealing since April 4 at UC Davis. Sacramento State was a perfect 6-for-6 in steals against New Mexico State and the Hornets rank second in the WAC with 36 stolen bases this year.
- San Francisco ranks 28th nationally with a .978 fielding percentage. The Dons are second in the West Coast Conference with a 3.54 team ERA and also rank second in the conference with 348 hits. The Hornets have won three straight meetings and five of the last seven games against USF.
All Sacramento State home games stream live for free on HornetSports.com/Radio with Anthony Rifenburg and Noah Alvarez on the call. San Francisco will provide live video on Tuesday via usfdons.com. Links for the broadcast and live stats are available above and on the baseball schedule page on hornetsports.com. Follow @SacStBaseball on twitter for in-game updates and see more on the official team pages on facebook and instagram.
Scouting San Francisco (18-18)
Like Sacramento State, San Francisco is one of the top fielding teams in the country, ranking 28th nationally with a .978 fielding percentage this year. The Dons are second in the West Coast Conference with a 3.54 team ERA and also rank second in the conference with 348 hits. The Dons played non-conference series against both Northern Colorado and Grand Canyon, winning 3-of-4 against the Bears and 2-of-3 over the Antelopes. USF took 2-of-3 games over Portland last weekend and have won four of its last five games after a six-game losing streak. Allen Smoot and Ross Puskarich lead the team with 24 RBIs apiece with Smoot hitting .328. The Dons have 53 stolen bases in 67 attempts with two players having double-figure steals. Sacramento State has won three straight games and five of the last seven meetings between the teams though USF leads the all-time series 31-29.
First League Losses
In consecutive weeks Sacramento State handed a previously unbeaten, WAC-leading team its first conference loss. On April 8 Parker Brahms allowed just one run over 7.2 innings and Vinny Esposito hit a pair of 2-run homers as the Hornets handed Grand Canyon, which was 7-0 in WAC play, a 7-1 loss. Less than a week later Brahms pitched another gem, allowing just one unearned run in seven innings, and James Outman had a walk-off RBI single in the 12th when the Hornets beat New Mexico State 2-1 last Friday, handing the Aggies their first league loss after also starting 7-0.
Sacramento State pitchers struck out 34 New Mexico State batters in the three-game series, averaging more than 11 strikeouts per game with at least 11 in each contest. Hornet pitchers have tallied double-digit strikeouts in five of the last seven games, averaging over nine punch outs per game while permitting just 2.6 walks per game in that span.
Walk It Off
Sacramento State picked up its second walk-off win of the season beating New Mexico State 2-1 in 12 innings on Friday. James Outman delivered the walk-off knock, singling up the middle to drive in Blake Edmonson from second base. Earlier this year the Hornets had a 6-5 walk-off victory over Northern Kentucky in 11 innings, winning on an infield single from Ian Dawkins.
Outman Brings Them In
Sophomore James Outman drove in the winning run in both Hornet victories last week. His second-inning home run provided the lone Hornet hit in a 1-0 win over UC Davis and he delivered the walk-off hit in the 2-1 Hornet win over New Mexico State. This season he leads the team with 27 runs batted in with five multi-RBI games with three 3-RBI games and a 4-RBI performance. He totaled 11 RBIs in the Northern Kentucky series and also leads the team with 24 runs.
Walk That Way
Hornet hitters drew 19 walks in three games against New Mexico State. The team had seven walks in the series opener and nine in the 2-1 extra-inning win in game two. Sacramento State ranks fourth in the WAC with 126 walks drawn this year.
Sacramento State beat UC Davis, 1-0, last Tuesday night with its only hit a James Outman home run in the second inning. Both teams had only two base runners through the first eight innings and the game took just one hour and 45 minutes, Sacramento State's shortest home game of the season by 22 minutes. It was the quickest nine-inning game played by the Hornets since a 1-0 home win over Louisiana Tech on April 27, 2013 that lasted just 1:42. Just one week prior Sacramento State and UC Davis played to a 7-6 final in Davis in a game that included both starting pitchers and took 2:59 to complete. The three Hornet games against New Mexico State averaged over three hours per game.
Ian Does it All
Junior center fielder Ian Dawkins is the only Hornet that has started every game this season and has reached base in 32 of the 35 games. He reached in each of the first 13 games of the season and had a 14-game hitting streak into WAC play. He leads the team with 16 multi-hit games with a pair of four-hit contests. He is tied for third in the WAC with 51 hits and also leads the team with 10 stolen bases while playing outstanding defense with just one error. Dawkins is hitting .380 in WAC play.
Sacramento State has been successful on eight straight stolen base attempts, having not had a runner caught stealing since April 4. The Hornets rank second in the WAC with 36 stolen bases this year after leading the league and ranking 68th in the nation with 70 stolen bases last year. The squad was a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen bases vs. New Mexico State and Ian Dawkins leads the team with 10 steals
The Hornets lead the WAC in nearly every pitching category including ERA (3.61), opposing batting average (.236), strikeout to walk ratio (2.45), WHIP (1.22), walks allowed per nine innings (3.01) and hits allowed per nine innings (7.99). Hornet pitchers have also hit the fewest batters in the league (20) and are third with 257 strikeouts.
Two Two-Homer Games
Over the span of eight days two Hornets had two-homer games. Andrew McWilliam hit two home runs in the first game of the doubleheader at Utah Valley on March 31 before Vinny Esposito hit a pair of two-run homers against Grand Canyon on April 8. There have now been 75 multi-homer games in program history and McWilliam has two of them, having also hit two in a home win over Chicago State last year.
Junior Tanner Olson and sophomore Alex Dentoni have anchored a strong Hornet bullpen this year. Olson leads the team with 20 pitching appearances this season and is 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA. Olson has not walked a single batter this season while striking out 14 over 16.1 innings pitched, allowing a run in just two of his 17 appearances. Dentoni is tied for the team lead with four wins and leads the squad with three saves while posing a 1.91 ERA over 28.1 innings. He has recorded four straight scoreless appearances with nine straight scoreless innings.
Call to the Hall
The Hornets inducted five players and two teams in the Sacramento State Baseball Hall of Fame prior to the game April 8. Mike Alberghini, who played at Sacramento State from 1967-68, was inducted as well as former players Josh Payne (1997-98), Brandon Marshall (1998-99), David Flores (2005-08), and current assistant coach Tim Wheeler (2007-09). The 1986 team, which finished third at the College World Series, and the 1988 team, which finished as the national runner-up and won a program record 43 games, were also inducted.
Working the Field
Sacramento State leads the WAC while ranking 23rd in NCAA Div. I with a .979 fielding percentage this season. The team has committed multiple errors in just eight games this year and has 18 error-free games. The Hornets have committed just 19 errors in 22 home games this year.
Liking the Lights
In their first full season under the lights at John Smith Field the Hornets are 9-5 in home night games and 11-5 overall at night this season. Sacramento State's pitching has been particularly impressive at night with a 2.84 ERA and .200 opposing batting average through 16 night games.
Former Hornet first baseman Rhys Hoskins is playing his first season at Triple-A, starting for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. Hoskins is hitting .352 with three homers through 11 games this season after he hit 38 home runs in Double-AA last year and was invited to the Phillies big league Spring Training leading up to the 2017 season.
The Hornets are concluding a season long nine-game homestand over a 13 day stretch with home series against Grand Canyon and New Mexico State and individual games against Fresno State, UC Davis, and San Francisco. Sacramento State has a 12-10 home record this season, averaging 4.5 runs per game with a 3.06 team ERA and .227 opposing batting average through 22 games at John Smith Field.
Best in the WAC
Senior pitcher Justin Dillon leads the WAC in WHIP (0.84), opposing batting average (.178), and hits allowed per nine innings (5.66). The Hornet senior ranks 16th in NCAA Div. I in WHIP and 26th in hits allowed per nine innings after leading the nation in both of those categories earlier this year. Dillon has allowed just 39 hits and 13 walks in 62.0 innings pitched with 59 strikeouts and has gone at least five innings in every start.
WHIP it Good
Sacramento State pitchers lead the WAC and rank 23rd in NCAA Div. I with a 1.22 WHIP (Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched) this season. The Hornets are also 31st nationally with 3.01 walks allowed per nine innings and 34th with 7.99 hits allowed per nine innings so far this season.
Head Coach Reggie Christiansen won his 200th game at Sacramento State in the first win in the Hornets' doubleheader sweep March 31 at Utah Valley. Christiansen reached 200 Sacramento State wins in less than six and a half seasons as head coach, winning his 200th game with just 182 losses. Christiansen earned his 300th overall career victory in 12 years as a head coach when the Hornets beat Northern Kentucky on Feb. 26.
Happy at Home
The Hornets have had winning home records in four straight seasons and are 75-38 at home over the last five years. The team is 12-10 at home this year and has had at least 16 home wins in five straight seasons.