BASEBALL TRAVELS TO PACIFIC FOR FIRST MIDWEEK GAME OF THE SEASON
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State baseball team will play their first midweek game on Tuesday as they make the quick trip to Stockton to take on the Pacific Tigers.
First pitch for Tuesday's matchup is set for 6:05 p.m.
How To Listen
Tuesday's game at Pacific can be heard live online at HornetSports.com/Radio with baseball play-by-play broadcaster Anthony Rifenburg. In-game updates will be provided on Twitter, @SacStBaseball.
- Steven Moretto hit his second home run of the season on Sunday and now leads the team in home runs (two), batting average (.304), slugging (.609), and RBIs (six) through the first seven games. Moretto is a true freshman out of Coquitlam, BC, Canada.
- Matt Smith stole four bases in four attempts this weekend, making him a perfect 6-for-6 for the season. He leads the conference in the category and is eighth in all of NCAA Div. I. As a team, the Hornets have swiped 14 bags, most in the WAC and 14th most in NCAA Div. I.
- Sophomore starter Parker Brahms was fantastic in his second start last Friday striking out nine over seven shutout innings. In two starts, Brahms is 0-0 with an 0.00 ERA, a 12.46 K/9, and a WAC-leading 0.46 WHIP and 18.00 K:BB ratio.
- Senior Vinny Esposito drew two walks Sunday against San Jose, giving him a team-leading seven on the season. That number is third in the conference and 68th in all of NCAA Div. I and puts him on pace for 60 walks this season. Last year, Esposito had just 19 walks in 59 games.
- Pacific enters Tuesday's game with a 3-5 record. They have last their last two and are 2-3 over their last five. At home, the Tigers are re playing .500 ball through the early season. Overall, Sacramento State is 42-34 against Pacific
By The Numbers
6: Steals in as many attempts for redshirt sophomore Matt Smith. Smith leads the WAC in stolen bases.
18: Strikeouts for starter Parker Brahms through his first 13 innings. His 18.00 K:BB ratio is the best in the conference.
Scouting The Tigers
- Through eight games this season, the Pacific Tigers are 3-5 with a .222 team batting average and a 4.57 ERA.
- Members of the WCC, the Tigers finished the 2017 season with a 18-34 record, including 6-21 in conference play.
- Pacific was picked to finish ninth in the WCC this season, receiving 19 points, seven more than last-place Portland.
- Tigers catcher James Free II was selected to the WCC All-Conference Preseason Team and was also named one of the nation's Top 5 catchers by D1Baseball.com prior to the season. So far this year he is hitting .208 with a home run, a double, and three RBIs in eight games.
- Last season against Pacific, Sacramento State went 2-0, with a 5-2 win at Pacific and a 9-1 win at home.
- Pacific is 2-2 at home this season with wins against Seattle University and Utah Valley University.
Tuesday's starting pitcher Parker Brahms was lights out in his Opening Day start, throwing six shutout innings against Washington while striking out nine. He was even more impressive in his second start, throwing seven more scoreless frames while again punching out nine. In the two starts combined, Brahms has an 0.46 WHIP, a 12/46 K/9, and an 18.00 K:BB ratio. Brahms is following up his 2017 WAC Freshman of the Year performance with a strong start to his sophomore campaign.
Sacramento State Stealers
Sacramento State is 14-for-16 in stolen base attempts this season, leading the WAC in the category and ranking 14th in all of NCAA Div. I baseball. Matt Smith leads the team with six stolen bases, the most in the conference and eighth most in the nation. Seven different Hornets have swiped a bag this season, including three (Smith, Vinny Esposito, Alec de Watteville) who have stolen at least two.
Wrong Kind of Streak
After starting the season 2-1, Sacramento State has dropped their last four contests, including two at home to Washington and San Francisco. This weekend, they dropped two games on the road at San Francisco, one to the Dons and another to the San Jose State Spartans. The four-game skid is the longest for the Hornets since from April 1 through April 4 of last season.
On the Road Again
Tuesday's game will be Sacramento State's third straight game away from John Smith Field. They are winless in two tires away from Sacramento State this season (0-2) and have scored six runs while allowing 13. Last season, the Hornets went just 11-15 on the road compared to 17-13 at home.
Loving the Long Ball
Through seven games, the Sacramento State offense has five home runs, the third most in the Western Athletic Conference. They have home runs from four different players so far this season.
Moretto Making His Mark
Freshman Steven Moretto has come into his Hornets career in a strong way, leading the team in batting average (.308), slugging percentage (.609), home runs (2) and RBIs (6) through the season's first seven games. After missing Opening Day, Moretto has hit safely in each of his first six career games with three extra base hits. He also one stolen base in one attempt.
Outman Going Yard
After tying for the team lead in home runs last season with 11, junior James Outman has his first home run of the season after leaving the yard last Saturday against San Francisco. In addition to one home run, Outman also has three doubles, tied for the team lead (Vinny Esposito).
All five of Sacramento State's home runs this season have been solo home runs. Last season, the Hornets never hit more than three consecutive solo shots.
McPhillips' Big Game
Freshman catcher Dylan McPhillips had his first big game of the season for Sacramento State on Sunday, collecting a career-high three hits while driving in a run. McPhillips, who started the game on the bench, took over behind the plate in the second inning and ended his day 3-for-4. His third hit was a single in the ninth inning against San Jose, potentially serving as the game-tying run.
Patience Wearing Thin
After drawing 23 walks through the season's first four games (nearly six per game), the Hornets have just seven free passes over their last three (just over two per game). The team fell from first in the WAC in bases on balls to sixth in the stretch of one weekend.
Instability at the Top
Sacramento State has used four different lead off hitters through seven games this season - Ian Dawkins, Bronson Grubbs, Keith Torres, and Matt Smith. Only Dawkins (2-for-17 as a leadoff hitter) has more than one game at the spot, while Grubbs (1-5), Smith (1-4), and Torres (1-3) each have one.
Leaving Them Stranded
Sacramento State has struggled this season knocking runners in when they have the opportunity. The Hornets are just 8-for-67 with runners in scoring position through the season's first seven contests. The problem has plagued the lineup up and down as no Hornets player has better than a .250 average in such situations.
The Sacramento State pitching staff owns a combined 1.23 WHIP, the best mark in the conference. They are lead in that respect by starting pitcher Parker Brahms (0.46), Alex Dentoni (0.67), and Travis Martizia (1.00). Their 1.23 staff WHIP is the 62nd lowest in the nation (Florida Atlantic, 1st, 0.85).
Starts with the Starters
After starting the season by allowing just two earned runs in 25 innings of work, Sacramento State starters have given up eight runs over their last five innings. Prior to last weekend's games, Hornets starters owned a collective 0.08 ERA. With rough starts on Saturday and Sunday, that number has climbed to 3.00.
The Hornets' bullpen hasn't quite clicked so far this season. As a unit, the relievers are responsible for 18 of the team's 26 allowed earned runs this season. Of the team's five losses, four have been charged to the bullpen. Of Sacramento State's nine relievers, four are true freshman and another is a first-year player for the Hornets.
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 and has started just four games this season. The senior leadoff man is 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. He pinch ran in the team's last game.
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.
-- HornetSports --