SACRAMENTO, Calif. – After taking the first of two games this season against the causeway rivals UC Davis Aggies, 8-2, on Tuesday, Sacramento State baseball will look to continue their winning ways on the road at CSU Bakersfield.
The three-game WAC series between the Hornets (19-16, 7-2 WAC) and the Roadrunners (13-21, 4-5 WAC) kicks off Friday night with a 6:00 pm PDT first pitch. Saturday's game is also scheduled for 6:00 pm while Sunday's getaway day game will start at noon.
Watch The Hornets Live
All three games in this weekend's series at CSU Bakersfield will stream live online via the WAC Digital Network. Tune in to Hornets play-by-play broadcaster Anthony Rifenburg via HornetSports.com/Radio. Live stats will be available on HornetStats.com while in-game updates will be provided on Twitter, @SacStBaseball. All links can also be found by visiting the 2018 Baseball Schedule on HornetSports.com.
- Sacramento State took the first of two games this season against their crosstown rivals, the UC Davis Aggies, 8-2, on Tuesday. They scored seven runs in the sixth inning, setting a new season-high for runs scored in an inning.
- Parker Brahms was named the WAC Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season. He struck out 14 batters in last Friday night's shutout win over Northern Colorado, setting a new program record. He struck out 12 earlier this season against Santa Clara.
- Vinny Esposito went 3-for-5 with four RBIs in Sacramento State's last game. The three hits and four RBIs both match Esposito's career-highs. He has three hits in a game 13 times in his career and has now driven in four in five games throughout his career.
- Sacramento State has won 10 of their last 12 games, including seven against WAC opponents. During that stretch of 12 games, the Hornets are averaging over seven runs and nine hits per game. The pitching staff owns a 2.74 ERA and have posted a 4:1 K:BB ratio in that time.
- CSU Bakersfield enters this weekend's series with a 14-21 overall record, including a 4-5 mark in WAC competition. They are coming off a 5-4 win over the Big West-leading Hawaii Warriors. After losing eight straight, the Roadrunners have won four in a row coming into the weekend.
By The Numbers
7: Runs scored in the sixth inning Tuesday against UC Davis, the highest-scoring inning of the season for Sacramento State.
7: Or more strikeouts for Sacramento State pitchers in each of their last four games, including a season-high 15 vs. Northern Colorado.
7: Shutouts recorded by Sacramento State pitchers this season, the most in the WAC and tied for third most in the nation.
Scouting The Aggies
- The CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners come into this weekend's conference series with a 14-21 overall record and a 4-5 conference mark.
- This is the first time these teams will have faced each other since Sacramento State shutout the Roadrunners, 5-0, in the WAC Tournament Championship game last season.
- CSU Bakersfield has both an eight-game and a five-game losing streak this season, though they have won their last four in a row.
- The Roadrunners have fared well against the Hornets, winning five of nine contests between the two teams in Bakersfield.
- CSU Bakersfield leads the Western Athletic Conference with 67 errors this season, more than 20 more than the next team (Chicago State, 46). Their .949 fielding percentage is the lowest in the league.
- Andrew Penner leads the Roadrunners with a .356 average, the sixth best in the conference, and is the only player to have appeared in every game this season.
Against CSU Bakersfield
This weekend's series between the Hornets and Roadrunners will be the first time these two teams have faced each other since Sacramento State shut out the Roadrunners, 5-0, in the WAC Tournament Championship game last season. The Hornets beat the Roadrunners twice in the postseason after dropping two of three on the road in Bakersfield during the regular season. Sacramento State trails the all-time series 10-14 and is just 4-5 against CSUB at Hardt Field.
The Causeway Classic
Sacramento State took game one of two this season against the Aggies, 8-2 on Tuesday. With the win, Sacramento State pulls within eight points of UC Davis, 32.5 to 25 for the Causeway Cup competition this season. It was the first win in Davis for the Hornets since the 2015 season.
Sacramento State scored seven runs in a wild sixth inning Tuesday in their 8-2 win over UC Davis. The inning started with an inside-the-park home run by Vinny Esposito and was capped by an Esposito bases-loaded, bases-clearing double. The inning included four hits, three walks, and an Aggies error. The seven runs are the most scored in an inning by Sacramento State since scoring eight runs in the eighth inning of a 10-2 win over Washington State on Feb. 18 of last season.
Career Day for Esposito
Vinny Esposito drove in four runs in Sacramento State's seven-run sixth inning, match his career high for RBIs in a single game. He has now driven in four runs in a game five times in his career, the last before Tuesday coming on April 29, 2017 vs. Bakersfield. He also had three hits in the game, matching his career-high for hits in a single game. He has collected three hits in a game 13 times in his career.
A Lot of Big Innings
The Hornets have scored five or more runs in an inning nine times this season. In those nine games, Sacramento State is 7-2, their two losses are an 11-10 extra-inning affair at Santa Clara and a wild 13-7 game at Utah.
Doubles Or Nothing
Sacramento State's five doubles in their 8-2 win over UC Davis matched its most in a game this season. The Hornets also hit five doubles in game two of their doubleheader against Chicago State, a 13-1 win, on April 7.
Among players who have yet to commit an error this season, Vinny Esposito's 281 chances are far and away the most in the WAC (second: Jack Reisinger, SU, 122 chances). Esposito, who has played every inning of every game at first base this season, has no errors, 262 put outs, and 19 assists in 281 chances. Only Sacramento State (Esposito, Ian Dawkins) and Chicago State have two players with perfect fielding percentages and 75 or more total chances.
*knocks on wood*
Home Run Barrage
Sacramento State is second in the WAC with 29 home runs (NM State, 39), but 12 of those 29 home runs have come in just their last eight games for an average of 1.5 homers a game. The Hornets had just 17 home runs through the seasons first 27 games, just over .60 long balls per game.
Inside the Park
Vinny Esposito's inside-the-park home run in Sacramento State's 8-2 win over UC Davis is the first recorded inside-the-park homer by a Hornets hitter in 18 seasons. The last was hit by Aurelio Jackson on March 19 of the 2000 season at home against UC Santa Barbara.
Sophomore pitcher Parker Brahms struck out 14 batters in his last outing, setting a new Hornets baseball program record in the process. He struck out 14 over seven scoreless innings and allowed two hits and three walks. He struck out 12 in seven innings earlier this season. With the 14 punchouts, Brahms passed a trio of Hornets pitchers who previously held the record of 13.
WAC Players of the Week
For his program record-setting outing last Friday, Parker Brahms was named the WAC's Pitcher of the Week. The award is his second of the season and the third for Sacramento State this year. PJ Floyd was named the conference's Hitter of the Week last week. The Hornets had just two such awards last season, as former Hornets Justin Dillon and Trent Goodrich were recognized as Pitcher and Hitter of the week, respectively.
Roberts Stretching Out
Junior pitcher Austin Roberts threw a season-high five innings without allowing a run in Sacramento State's 5-0 win over Northern Colorado. Roberts, who started 14 games this year, has been used primarily in relief this season. On Sunday, he faced just one over the minimum, allowing a one-out double in the ninth, but walked none and struck out seven over his five scoreless frames.
Best Staff In Baseball
Sacramento State's pitching staff is among the best in not just the WAC but in all of NCAA Div. I baseball through the season's first 35 games.
- 3.92 ERA (1st WAC, 75th NCAA)
- Seven shutouts (1st WAC, 3rd NCAA)
- 3.18 strikeout-to-walk ratio (1st WAC, 5th NCAA)
- 1.26 WHIP (1st WAC, 28th NCAA)
- 2.43 walks-per-nine innings (1st WAC, 2nd NCAA)
Veteran reliever Austin Ragsdale has been nothing short of excellent for Sacramento State this season. The side-arm right-hander has made 12 relief appearances this season, throwing a combined 13.2 innings out of the bullpen. Ragsdale has yet to allow a run in relief this season. His latest outing, taking over in a bases-loaded situation with three runs already scored and no outs, ended with two weak groundouts and a lazy fly ball. Ragsdale made one spot start for Sacramento State this season, giving up four earned runs in 1.1 innings at Santa Clara.
On the Road Again
After completing their season-long seven game homestand, the Hornets are back on the road for nine straight away games, their second such trip of the season. On the road this year, the Hornets are 8-7, including their latest win at UC Davis. Their last road trip, also nine games, ended with a 5-4 record, including a big series win on the road at New Mexico State to start conference play. They are hitting .243 as a team away from John Smith Field while the pitchers own a 5.30 ERA.
Wrapping a Homestand
Sacramento State took advantage of their season-long seven game homestand, going 5-2, including 5-1 against WAC opponents Chicago State and Northern Colorado. Overall this season, the Hornets are 11-8 at home.
Keeping It Clean
Sacramento State has played clean defense all year, but especially over their last 10 games. Overall, the Hornets own a .976 fielding percentage, the third best mark in the WAC and the 36th best in all of NCAA Div. I. Over their last 10 games, the Hornets own a .980 fielding percentage, having committed seven errors in 84 innings. Sacramento State has traditionally fielded a strong defensive team, finishing one or two in the WAC in each of the last five seasons.
Keep Them Under Six
Sacramento State is 19-5 this season when they are able to hold their opponents to five runs or fewer. When giving up six or more runs, the Hornets are winless, going 0-13 in those 13 games.
When scoring first, Sacramento State is 16-7 this season. When their opponents score first, the Hornets are just 3-9.
The Century Mark
With three wins against Chicago State earlier this season, Sacramento State head coach Reggie Christiansen passed the 100-win mark in WAC competition. Currently in his eighth season as head coach for the Hornets, Christiansen is 104-80 (.565) against WAC opponents. He is the only active WAC coach with more than 100 conference wins (Andy Stankiewicz at Grand Canyon is next with 81). Since taking over as the head coach for the Hornets, Christiansen is 238-216 overall.
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 is Vinny Esposito (First Base), Ian Dawkins (Outfield), and James Outman (Outfield). The selection is Esposito's second (also 2016).
Six Times Thirty
With 32 wins in 2017, Sacramento State recorded its 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 is 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.
-- HornetSports --