SACRAMENTO, Calif. – With Tuesday night's 4-3 win over the visiting Nevada Wolf Pack (25-24), the Sacramento State Hornets (30-18) won their 30th game of the 2019 campaign, marking the eighth consecutive season in which the Hornets have won at least 30 games.
With tonight's W, the Hornets pick up their 30th win of the year, clinching their eighth straight 30-win season.— Sac State Baseball (@SacStBaseball) May 8, 2019
Sacramento State is the ONLY Div. I program in California with 30+ wins in each of the last eight seasons. #StingersUp #MadeAtSacState #WACbsb pic.twitter.com/RfgR8xaWxP
Sacramento State's streak of 30-win seasons stretches back to 2012, when then second-year head coach Reggie Christiansen and the Hornets finished with a 31-28 record. During this stretch, Sacramento State was won exactly 30 games once (2016, 30-28) while winning as many as 40 (2014, 40-24).
"Eight consecutive years is special," said Christiansen in his postgame interview. "It's special for the players that started this thing back in 2012, those guys are proud of that. And it's special still for these guys, who are proud to continue that."
The eight-season stretch is the longest for the Hornets since the team won 30 or more games in nine consecutive seasons from 1985 through 1993.
Sacramento State is the only Div. I baseball program in California to have won 30 or more games in every season since 2012.
Coming into the 2019 campaign, Sacramento State and Cal State Fullerton were the only two Div. I programs in the state with 30-plus wins in seven consecutive seasons. The Titans have had a down season and have 20 wins as of Tuesday night. With just nine games left on their regular season schedule, it is not likely that Titans will reach the 30-win milestone this year, leaving the Hornets with California's longest active Div. I streak of 30-win seasons.
Win number 30 didn't come easy in Tuesday's midweek matchup with the visiting Nevada Wolf Pack. After taking a 1-0 lead on a Keith Torres RBI-double in the third inning, Nevada took a 3-1 lead with a three-run fifth.
Sacramento State had chances throughout the game, but it wasn't until the eighth that they finally broke through.
McPhillips was 0-for-3 coming into the at bat and Christiansen called time to have a quick chat with his second baseman.
"Reg called time, had me come over, and real quick and easy said 'Shooters shoot and hitters hit,'" McPhillips said after the game. The sophomore jumped on the first pitch he saw, lining it into right field to score two and tie the game.
This game is tied! Dylan McPhillips delivers with a two-run single in the eighth to even the score at three! Hornets still looking for more, two on and one out. #StingersUp— Sac State Baseball (@SacStBaseball) May 8, 2019
B8 | SAC 3, NEV 3 pic.twitter.com/0YD58j9teO
"What a huge at bat out of Dylan right there," said Christiansen. "And then a huge at bat out of Trevor Doyle, too, in his first at bat coming back from injury."
Trevor Doyle came to the plate with runners on second and third and still one out. After falling behind in the count, 0-2, the freshman battled back to a full count before hitting a sacrifice fly to left to score McPhillips and put the Hornets ahead for good. It was just Doyle's second at bat in over a week.
The come-from-behind win was Sacramento State's 12th of the season and seventh when trailing after five innings. It is the second time they have come from behind in the eighth inning or later to win.
"It was just a real team effort," added Christiansen. "You look at the box score and so many guys were a part of that and it's pretty cool to win 30 in that fashion."
The box score did indeed show just how many players factored into Tuesday's win. The Hornets used 20 different players against Nevada - 11 position players and nine different pitchers.
In his postgame interview, Christiansen singled out each of his nine pitchers, but spent an extra moment on sophomore right-hander Stone Churby, who threw an immaculate 8th inning, striking out the side on nine pitches.
"Stone comes in and has the immaculate inning," he started after the game. "Punching out the side on nine pitches, that's definitely something you don't see very often."
Churby was also rewarded with his first win of the year while senior closer Tanner Dalton retired the side in order in the ninth for his fifth save.
As much excitement as there was at John Smith Field on Tuesday night getting win number 30 in come-from-behind fashion, the Hornets remain focused on what lies ahead - a schedule that still includes six conference games in a very tightly contested Western Athletic Conference.
Sacramento State is currently in a three-way tie with New Mexico State and UT Rio Grande Valley atop the WAC standings at 15-6. With current tiebreakers, the Hornets are the number two team in the conference.
"We put in all this work for this reason, we're not looking to come in second place," said McPhillips. "Our goal is to end this thing in first and win the title."
Christiansen echoed McPhillips, adding that the team is focused on "the next step."
"Hopefully we can take the next step, and that is putting another number up on these walls out here that has conferences championships and NCAA tournaments.
"That's what their goal is, to have 2019 written up there down the right field line where it says NCAA Tournaments and 2019 down the left field line where it says Conference Championships."
With six games remaining on the conference schedule, Sacramento State is still very much in a position to clinch their third conference championship in the last six seasons.
The first step in achieving that comes this weekend with a three-game series on the road at Utah Valley. The series opens on Friday with a 5 p.m. PT contest. All three games this weekend will stream live online on the WAC Digital Network and online at HornetSports.com/Radio.
For more details on this weekend's series and all upcoming games, be sure to visit the 2019 Hornet Baseball Schedule online at HornetSports.com.