SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State baseball team looks to build off their strong start to the season with three games in three days against San Francisco (home/road) and San Jose State (at USF).
The first of the three games is a Friday night home contest at John Smith Field against San Francisco. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.
How To Listen
All three games this weekend can be heard live online at HornetSports.com/Radio with baseball play-by-play broadcaster Anthony Rifenburg. Live stats will be available online at HornetStats.com and in-game updates will be provided on Twitter, @SacStBaseball.
- Sacramento State split their season-opening four game series against Washington, making it the fifth straight season that the Hornets have either split or won a season-opening series against a Power 5 School: 2018 vs. Wash, 2017 vs. WSU, 2016 at Auburn, 2015 vs. Utah, 2014 vs. Utah.
- After one weekend, Sacramento State pitchers own a 3.08 ERA, the best in the WAC and 71st best mark in all of NCAA Div. I. They also own a conference-best 1.21 WHIP (61st NCAA Div. I).
By The Numbers
5: Consecutive years with a season-opening series split or win against a Power 5 school (Wash, WSU, Auburn, Utah).
17: Scoreless innings thrown by Sacramento State's top three starters in their series against the Washington Huskies.
11: Doubles hit by Sacramento State through four games, the most in the WAC and 14th most in NCAA Div. I.
Scouting San Francisco
- Through three games this season, the Dons are 1-2 with a .219 team batting average and an 8.19 team ERA.
- USF was 29-28 overall last season and 11-16 in the WCC last season to finish sixth in the conference.
- The Dons lost 17 letterwinners from last season, including six starting position players and three of their four regular starting pitchers.
- Against the WAC last season, San Francisco was 6-3, including 1-1 against Sacramento State.
- The Dons were picked to finish sixth in the WCC Preseason Baseball Coaches Poll.
- San Francisco was one of the best fielding teams in the WCC last season, posting a .976 mark (tied for first with San Diego).
- Sacramento State is 30-32 all-time against the Dons. The two teams played a home/road series last season, splitting the two games 1-1.
Scouting San Jose State
- Sacramento State will play just one game against San Jose State on Sunday at USF.
- Through five games this season, the Spartans are 2-3 with a .266 team batting average and a 7.00 team ERA.
- Through five games, their .266 batting average is the fourth-best in their conference, though their 7.00 ERA is the worst.
- San Jose State was 19-35-1 last season, including 10-18-1 in Mountain West Conference play. They finished sixth out of seven.
- Against the WAC last season, San Jose State was 2-2, splitting two-game series against Grand Canyon and Northern Colorado.
- The Spartans were picked to finish seventh out of seven in the MWC Preseason Baseball Coaches Poll.
- Sacramento State is 24-38 all-time against San Jose State. The two teams have not face each other since 2013 (SAC took 2-of-3).
Shutting Them Out
Sacramento State shut out Washington, 6-0, last weekend, giving them their first shutout victory of the season. Currently, they are the only WAC team with a shutout in 2018. Last season, Hornets pitchers finished first in the conference and 20th in the nation with six shutouts.
With last weekend's series split against Washington, the Hornets have now won or split a season-opening series against a Power 5 Conference school for five straight seasons. 2014: 2-of-4 vs. Utah (Pac-12); 2015: 3-of-4 vs. Utah (Pac-12); 2016: 2-of-3 at Auburn (SEC); 2017: 2-of-3 vs. Washington State (Pac-12); 2018: 2-of-4 vs. Washington (Pac-12).
Doubles or Nothing
Vinny Esposito and James Outman each had three doubles in last weekend's series, tying them for most in the conference and 15th in NCAA Div. I after the season's first few games. As a team, Sacramento State's 11 doubles are most int the WAC and 14th most in the nation.
It. Is. Outta. Here!
Sacramento State hit three home runs during their four-game series against Washington, getting one from PJ Floyd, Steven Moretto, and Matt Smith. For Moretto and Smith, the homers were each their first as Hornets. Last season, Sacramento State hit 47 home runs, the second most in the WAC. Returner James Outman was tied for the team lead with 11 home runs in 2017.
Brahms Being Brahms
Last year's WAC Freshman of the Year, right-handed pitcher Parker Brahms picked up the 2018 season right where he left off, striking out nine over six shutout innings on Opening Night. He allowed two hits and walked none. His 13.50 K/9 and 0.33 WHIP are both second best in the conference.
Patience Pays Off
Through four games, Sacramento State has drawn 23 walks, second most in the WAC. Vinny Esposito is responsible for five of those walks, more than any other player in the conference. James Outman is not far behind, ranking fifth with four walks. Despite a .205 batting average, Sacramento State is reaching base at a .329 clip, thanks in large part to those 23 walks.
Starts with the Starters
Sacramento State's top three starters - Parker Brahms, Austin Root, and Scott Randall - combined to throw 17 shutout innings last weekend. As a trio, they posted an 0.00 ERA, an 0.82 WHIP, and a 13:4 K:BB ratio. In those three games, the Hornets were 2-1, only losing Brahms start in extra innings.
Don't Forget Dentoni
Junior reliever Alex Dentoni threw four innings in relief in the series against Washington, more than any other reliever. He allowed just one hit and struck out two while walking none. He enters this weekend's games with a team- and conference-leading 0.25 WHIP. That number is also the 10th best in NCAA Div. I after one weekend.
Make Room for Moretto
After missing Opening Day, freshman third baseman Steven Moretto made his presence in the Sacramento State lineup felt over the series' remaining three games. The freshman from Canada hit .273 (3-for-11) with three runs scored, a double, a home run, and a team-leading four RBIs. He also made a number of nice plays while manning the hot corner for the Hornets. Moretto is expected to be a regular at third base and in the middle of the Sacramento State lineup.
Veteran reliever Austin Ragsdale proved his value early with a clutch relief appearance against Washington last Saturday. With Washington threatening in the seventh inning, Ragsdale inherited a one-out, bases loaded situation and maneuvered his team out of the jam with a harmless pop up and ground out to end the inning.
Sacramento State Stealers
The Hornets were 7-of-8 in stolen base attempts last weekend against Washington. Matt Smith led the team and was a perfect 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts. With seven total steals, Sacramento State is tied for the conference lead and is 25th in NCAA Div. I. Last season, the Hornets swiped 65 bags, second most in the WAC.
Leaving Them Stranded
Sacramento State were unable to find success with runners in scoring position in their first series, going just 5-for-47 (.106) in such situations. They left nine or more men on base in three of their first four games, including 13 left on base in game four's 8-5 loss.
Slow Start for Dawkins
Center fielder Ian Dawkins, who last year led the team in games, games started, hits, batting average, and more, is off to a slow start through the season's first four games. The senior leadoff man is just 2-for-17 in the early going, though one of his two hits was an RBI triple that he crushed down the line. Defensively, he has been perfect with 11 put outs in 11 chances.
Defense Wins Championships
Last season, Sacramento State led the WAC with a .978 fielding percentage, two points better than second-place Grand Canyon (.976). Through four games this season, own another .978 fielding percentage, again leading the conference. In 2017, the Hornets committed 51 errors, second fewest in the conference, over 2291 chances. The Hornets' 620 assists were far and away the most in the conference, 25 more than second place Grand Canyon and New Mexico State (595).
In Monday's game four against Washington, Sacramento State used four different pitchers - all of them true freshman. It was the first time under head coach Reggie Christiansen that four different freshman pitchers were used.
WAC Preseason Coach Poll
The Hornets were picked to finish third in the WAC in the 2018 Preseason Coaches Poll. They received 51 points, including one first place vote, finishing behind first-place Grand Canyon (61 points, five votes) and New Mexico State (54 points, two votes). The rest of the conference breaks down as follows: 4. Seattle U (46), 5. CSU Bakersfield (32), 6. Utah Valley (30), 7. UT Rio Grande Valley (23), 8. Northern Colorado (19), 9. Chicago State (8).
All-Conference Preseason Team
Sacramento State had three players named to the 2018 All-WAC Preseason Team, the most since they had five named to the 2015 team. This year's trio are Vinny Esposito (First Base), Ian Dawkins (Outfield), and James Outman (Outfield). The selection is Esposito's second (also 2016).
Defending the Crown
The Hornets come in to the 2018 season as the WAC Defending Tournament champions and will look to defend that title this season. After finishing third in the WAC in the regular season, Sacramento State dominated the postseason tournament, going 4-0 while outscoring their opponents 36-8 in those four games. Their 11-1 run-rule win in seven innings over Seattle U was the just second such game in the WAC Tournament since 2008. Sacramento State hit .333 in the tournament with seven home runs while the pitching staff posted a sparkling 2.12 ERA and a .226 batting average against.
Continuing Under Christiansen
Hornets head coach Reggie Christiansen agreed to a seven-year contract extension this past offseason, keeping him in Green and Gold through the 2024 season. Since taking over the program, the Sacramento State baseball team is 219-198 over seven seasons. Christiansen was named the WAC Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2014, led the Hornets to a 40-win season in 2014, and has guided the team to two NCAA Div. I Regional Tournament appearances.
Six Times Thirty
With 32 wins in 2017, Sacramento State recorded it's sixth consecutive 30-win season, the longest such streak since a string of nine straight 30-win seasons from 1985-1993. The team has also recorded double-digit conference wins in each of the last six years.
Best In the West
Sacramento State and baseball powerhouse Cal State Fullerton are the only two NCAA Div. I baseball programs in California to have won 30 or more games in each of the last six seasons. They have just 35 fewer wins during that stretch than Cal State Fullerton.
In addition to winning 30 or more games in each of the last six seasons, Sacramento State has won a combined 200 games during that stretch, eighth-most among all Div. I teams in California. They have more wins than perennial postseason qualifiers including Long Beach State, Pepperdine, Cal, and USC.
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