DENVER - Three players from the Sacramento State baseball team were named to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Preseason Team Wednesday, the league announced. Additionally, the Hornets were selected to finish third in the Preseason Coaches Poll.
Sacramento State seniors Ian Dawkins (Outfield) and Vinny Esposito (First Base), and junior James Outman (Outfield), were all selected to the 2018 All-WAC Preseason team, as voted by the league's coaches.
Dawkins is coming off an exceptional 2017 campaign in which he led the Hornets in multiple categories, including games (61), at bats (262), hits (89), runs (56), batting average (.340), on-base percentage (.401), and steals (15).
Esposito also put together a solid 2017 season, anchoring the infield at first base for the Hornets. His 10 home runs, .300 batting average, 52 RBI, and .520 slugging percentage were all second on the club.
Outman, who was named the Summer Collegiate Player of the Year by Perfect Game, had a breakout season for the Hornets in 2017. He led Sacramento State with 16 doubles and 53 RBI and was tied for the team lead with 11 home runs while playing in 60 of the team's 61 games.
The 2017 Defending WAC Tournament Champions, the Hornets were picked to finish third in the coaches' preseason poll, earning one first place vote and 51 total points. Defending regular season WAC champion Grand Canyon was picked to win the league with 61 points and five first place votes. Also picked to finish ahead of the Hornets is New Mexico State, earning 54 points and two first place votes.
Sacramento State has finished in fourth place in each of the last three seasons, though they clinched the tournament championship last year after winning their last four regular season games and all four tournament games.
In addition to the trio above, the Hornets also return 2017's Freshman of the Year, pitcher Parker Brahms, who went 8-4 in 17 games (16 starts) with a 3.13 ERA. Matt Smith (injury) and Andrew McWilliam also return, rounding out an incredibly talented Sacramento State outfield.
The Hornets have won 30 or more games in six straight seasons, the longest such streak since a string of nine straight 30-win seasons from 1985-1993. They are one of two California Division I teams to have at least 30 wins in each of the last six seasons and have the eighth most wins among all 24 California Division I schools over that time.
Sacramento State opens the season with five straight home games, opening a four-game series vs. Washington on Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. The Hornets begin WAC play March 29-31 at New Mexico State.
|2018 WAC BASEBALL
PRESEASON COACHES POLL
|#||Team||Points (1st Votes)|
|1.||Grand Canyon||61 (5)|
|2.||New Mexico State||54 (2)|
|3.||Sacramento State||51 (1)|
|7.||UT Rio Grande Valley||23|
|2018 ALL-WAC BASEBALL
|C||Mason Fishback, Sr.||NM State|
|1B||Vinny Esposito, Sr.||Sacramento State|
|1B||Ian Evans, Sr.||Grand Canyon|
|2B||Austin Bull, Jr.||Grand Canyon|
|3B||Andrew Penner, Sr.||CSU Bakersfield|
|SS||Joey Ortiz, So.||NM State|
|OF||Tristen Carranza, Jr .||NM State|
|OF||Ian Dawkins, Sr.||Sacramento State|
|OF||James Outman, Jr.||Sacramento State|
|OF||Jack Pauley, Jr.||Northern Colorado|
|SP||Kyle Bradish, Jr.||NM State|
|SP||Jake Wong, Jr.||Grand Canyon|
|SP||Tarik Skubal, Jr.||Seattle U|
|RP||Nathan Dewsnap, Sr.||CSU Bakersfield|