SACRAMENTO, Calif. – With a three-game sweep of Utah Valley last weekend, the Sacramento State baseball team clinched the No. 2 seed and secured a first round bye in the 2018 WAC Tournament.
The double-elimination tournament begins Wednesday, but with their bye, the Hornets (31-23, 17-7 WAC) will not play until Thursday. They will host either the No. 3, 4, or 5 seed, depending on the outcome of Wednesday's action. First pitch for Thursday's game is set for 3:00 pm PT.
Additional WAC Tournament information can be found online at the WAC Tournament Central page.
Today, the Hornets head off to Mesa, AZ for the @WACsports Championship Tournament looking to be ���� back to back champions...— Hornet Baseball (@SacStBaseball) May 21, 2018
Check out this short video made by Freshman LHP, Brady Rodriguez!#StingersUp pic.twitter.com/4nEndWK53O
Watch The Hornets Live
All WAC Tournament games will stream live online on WACSports.com/watch. Hornets play-by-play broadcast Anthony Rifenburg will also be on the call all week at HornetSports.com/Radio. Live stats will be available at WACStats.com while in-game updates will be provided on Twitter, @SacStBaseball.
All links can be found by visiting the 2018 Baseball Schedule online at HornetSports.com.
- Sacramento State clinched their seventh consecutive 30-win season, winning 31 regular season games. The Hornets last won 30 games in the regular season in 2016, going 30-25 before going 3-2 in the WAC Tournament.
- With their weekend sweep of Utah Valley, the Hornets clinched the #2 seed in the WAC Tournament. Sacramento State and New Mexico State finished the regular season 1ith 17-7 WAC records, but the Hornets hold the tiebreaker. The #2 seed is Sacramento State's highest since earning the #1 seed in 2014.
- The Hornets are 10-6 when playing at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Arizona and are 16-15 in the WAC Tournament all time. Last season, Sacramento State was a perfect 4-0 in Mesa as they captured their second WAC Tournament title in four seasons.
- Sacramento State has a chance to be the first team to repeat as WAC Tournament Champions since Fresno State won two straight from 2010-11. Since 1982, only three teams have captured the WAC Tournament title in consecutive seasons (Fresno State, Rice, San Diego State).
- The Hornets come into the 2018 WAC Tournament with the conference's best team ERA (2.99) and fielding percentage (.985) in WAC play this season. Their .276 conference batting average ranks fifth.
By The Numbers
7: Consecutive seasons with 30 or more wins. The Hornets are one of two Div. I California teams with such a streak.
6: Pitching categories in which Sacramento State leads the WAC: ERA, Hits per Nine, Shutouts, K:BB ratio, WHIP, and Walks per Nine.
7: Consecutive seasons in which the Hornets have clinched a WAC Tournament spot, including this year.
Sacramento State enters the 2018 WAC Tournament as the #2 seed. As the #2 seed, they have a first round bye and will not play until Thursday, May 24 at 3:00pm when they host either #3 New Mexico State, #4 Seattle U, or #5 Northern Colorado, depending on Wednesday's action. The double elimination tournament is being held at Hohokam Park in Mesa, Ariz., the spring training home of the Oakland Athletics, for the fourth consecutive season.
By reaching the WAC Tournament this year, the Hornets have now clinched a postseason berth in seven straight seasons, the longest streak in program history. Sacramento State is 16-15 all-time in the WAC Tournament with tournament victories in 2014 and 2017.
Defending The Title
Sacramento State came into the 2017 WAC Tournament as the #3 seed and rolled through the bracket, ripping off four straight wins en route to their second title in the last four seasons. The Hornets outscored their opponents 36-8 in four tournament games last season, including an 11-1 win over Seattle U in the first round (seven innings, 10-run rule). The last time a team won back-to-back tournament championships was 2010-11 (Fresno State).
Sacramento State is ranked 142nd in the nation by RPI, the third highest among WAC schools (NM State, 103; Grand Canyon, 115). The Hornets have faced just one top-50 RPI team this season (Arizona), going 0-1. Against teams ranked 51-100, the Hornets are 3-5. The Hornets finished last season with an RPI of 178.
The Hornets pitching staff enters the WAC tournament leading the conference in six different pitching categories. They are tops in the league in ERA (3.78), Hits Allowed Per Nine Innings (8.66), Shutouts (7), Strikeout to Walk Ratio (3.37), WHIP (1.22), and Walks Allowed Per Nine (2.35). Among those, they are second in the nation in BB/9, third in K:BB, tied for fourth in shutouts, and 13th in WHIP.
WAC Players of the Week
Sacramento State finished the 2018 regular season with six WAC Player of the Week awards, two more than they received last year. Parker Brahms (March 5, April 16) and Tanner Dalton (April 23, April 30) each won Pitcher of the Week twice, while PJ Floyd (April 9) and Ian Dawkins (May 14) each won Hitter of the Week. Sacramento State won a weekly award in four straight weeks from April 9 through April 30.
With 31 wins this season, Sacramento State has now won 30 or more games in seven consecutive seasons, the longest such streak since a string of nine straight 30-win seasons from 1985-1993.
Nothing Regular About It
Sacramento State won 31 regular season games this season, their most in a season since winning 35 during the regular season in 2014. The last time the Hornets won 30 games during the regular season was 2015, when they won exactly 30 before beginning postseason play.
Best In the West
Sacramento State and Cal State Fullerton were the only two programs to start the 2018 season with six consecutive 30-win seasons. With 31 wins so far this season, the Hornets have extended that streak to seven seasons. As of Monday, May 21, Cal State Fullerton has 29 wins with four games remaining in their regular season schedule.
Five Is Good
The Hornets are 30-7 this season when holding their opponents to five or fewer runs. Sacramento State has won just one game this year when allowing their opponent to score six or more runs, going 1-16 in those games.
Two Is Better
The Sacramento State pitching staff has held opposing teams to two runs or fewer and incredible 24 of 54 games (44%). Among those 24 games are seven shutout wins, most in the conference and tied for fourth most in the nation. In those 23 games, the Hornets are 23-1. Their lone loss came on Feb. 23 at home, 2-0 against San Francisco.
Sacramento State is 24-10 when scoring first the season, compared to just 7-13 when allowing their opponent to get the game's first run.
When taking a lead into the ninth inning, Sacramento State is 25-1 this season. They have just two wins when trailing after nine innings, going 2-19 in those situations this season.
Home Run Leaders
Sacramento State's 48 home runs this season are second most in the WAC (New Mexico State, 57). The team is led by James Outman, who has 11 home runs so far this season, matching his career-high. Just behind him is PJ Floyd, who has hit a career-best nine home runs. Outman leads the WAC while Floyd is tied for second.
40+ Homers Streak
Sacramento State's 48 home runs are one more than they hit all of last season (47) and their most since hitting 48 during the 2010 season. The Hornets have hit 40+ home runs in back to back seasons for the first time since the 2009-10 seasons. Those two seasons were part of a four-season streak in which the Hornets hit 40+ homers (2007-10). Sacramento State hit a franchise-high 81 home runs during the 1998 season, led by Josh Payne with 18.
No Multi-Homer Games
Despite hitting 48 home runs this season, Sacramento State still does not have a player with a multi-home run game this season. If no Hornet hits two or more home runs in a game this season, it will be the first season without a multi-homer game from a player since 2013.
Dawkins Does It All
Entering the 2018 WAC Tournament, Sacramento State centerfielder Ian Dawkins leads the team in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.355), at bats (217), runs (41), hits (77), doubles (16), slugging percentage (.530), and on base percentage (.415). Additionally, Dawkins enters the tournament riding an 11-game hit streak, one shy of his season long and three shy of his career long.
Another Thing About Dawkins
Ian Dawkins has a team-leading 25 multi-hit games this season, nine more than the next closest player (Matt Smith, 16). Dawkins matched a program record with 28 multi-hit games last season. Through two seasons, Dawkins leads all active Hornets with 53 multi-hit games, three more than the next closest active Hornet (Vinny Esposito, 50).
Piling Up The Ks
One season after being named the WAC Freshman of the Year, starter Parker Brahms continued to impress in his sophomore campaign, pitching to a 4-4 record with a WAC-best 2.51 ERA. Brahms enters the tournament with a career-high 105 strikeouts, second-most in the WAC and just 14 back of the Sacramento State program record for strikeouts in a single season (Erik Bennet, '89; Mike Ebby, '95). Brahms set the program record for most strikeouts in a single game, striking out 14 on April 13 at home against Northern Colorado. Three weeks later, he matched his own record, striking out 14 at home against Seattle U on May 6. He is currently fifth all-time for most strikeouts over a two-season stretch.
Sitting Down the WAC
Sophomore reliever Austin Roberts has been excellent all season, but especially in conference play. The right-hander has appeared in 12 WAC contests this season, putting together a 3-1 record with two saves. He has thrown 25.2 innings and allowed just two earned runs, good for a 0.70 ERA, best among pitcher in WAC-only games. He has also struck out 36 while walking just two in those 25.2 innings, good for a 12.6 K/9 and a 12:1 K:BB ratio. Conference opponents are hitting a miniscule .167 against Roberts this season.
Depending on Dalton
Newcomer Tanner Dalton has made an immediate impact in his first season with the Hornets, appearing in a team-high 29 games. He owns a 2.41 ERA for the season and has recorded 10 saves. His 10 saves are the most by a Hornets pitcher since Tyler Beardsley recorded 11 during the 2016 season. With 10 saves, Dalton is now tied for fourth for most saves in a single season. Two players are tied for second with 11 saves while the school leader, Sutter McLoughlin, recorded 17 saves in 2013.
Relying on the New Guys
According to a survey of baseball programs across the country, Sacramento State ranks among the top five in the nation for most starts by freshmen players. Steven Moretto (53 starts), Keith Torres (52), Josh Urps (34), Dylan McPhillips (32), Scott Randall (15), Travis Martizia (1), and Brady Rodriguez (1) have combined for 188 total starts this season.
Defense Wins Championships
Sacramento State enters the WAC Tournament with a conference-best .978 fielding percentage (25th best in all of NCAA Div. I). Sacramento State has traditionally fielded a strong defensive team, finishing one or two in the WAC in each of the last five seasons.
Gold Glove Caliber
Vinny Esposito and Ian Dawkins are perfect this year in the field, both boasting a 1.000 fielding percentage. Esposito's 362 chances are far and away the most by a player in the WAC without committing an error (Jack Reisinger, SU, is second with 226). Dawkins has been perfect in centerfield with 130 chances, third most in the conference.
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 114-85 (.573) against WAC opponents. He is the only active WAC coach with more than 100 conference wins. Since taking over as the head coach for the Hornets, Christiansen is 250-223 (.529) overall.
WAC Preseason Coach Poll
The WAC Preseason Poll very nearly predicated the end of season standings. Grand Canyon was picked to finish first while the Hornets and New Mexico State flipped second and third. Seattle U was picked to finish and did finish fourth. CSU Bakersfield was picked for fifth and finished sixth. The big surprise was Northern Colorado, who was picked to finish eighth and finished fifth. Chicago State and Utah Valley also flipped spots (eighth and ninth).
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