SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento State head baseball coach Reggie Christiansen announced several changes to his coaching staff for the upcoming 2020 season. Former Hornet David Flores will return to Sacramento State as the team's hitting coach, Tyler LaTorre will be hired as the pitching coach and Toby DeMello will serve as the volunteer assistant.
The pair replace Jake Angier and Tim Wheeler who both played large roles in the team's success. Angier was recently hired as the pitching coach at Oregon and had spent six seasons under Christiansen at Sacramento State. Wheeler, who was an All-American and first round draft pick for the Hornets, spent three seasons as an assistant before deciding to pursue other career opportunities.
"It's tough to see both Tim and Jake move on as both have been very integral in our program's success," Christiansen said. "My relationship with Jake goes back to 2005 and Tim since 2008, which made it that much more difficult. There was always a level of comfort going to work each day with two men I respected as husbands, fathers and coaches that cared so much for our players. I am excited for them both as they move on to their next challenge."
Flores most recently served as the hitting coach for the Seattle Mariners' Dominican Academy for the past two seasons. Prior to that, he was the hitting coach for the team's affiliate in the Midwest League in 2017. Flores served as the volunteer coach at Sacramento State during the 2015 and 2016 seasons where he was responsible for coaching the infield.
Flores played for the Hornets from 2005-08 and was selected by the Houston Astros in the 18th round of 2008 MLB Draft. He remains the all-time leader at Sacramento State with 57 career doubles and is tied for fourth with 128 runs, sixth with 226 career hits and 10th with 108 career RBIs. He was named first team all-Western Athletic Conference in 2007 and was a second team selection in 2006 and 2008.
LaTorre has been the pitching coach at San Jose State for the past two seasons where he has coached a pair of all-Mountain West selections include a co-MWC Pitcher of the Year. This past season, Andrew Mitchel led the conference with 112 strikeouts and became the first SJSU pitcher to have over 100 strikeouts in back-to-back seasons in 15 years. Fineas Del Bonta-Smith also tied the school record with nine saves and left the program ranked second all-time with 14 career saves.
La Torre signed a free agent contract with the San Francisco Giants following his collegiate career and spent 10 seasons in the minor leagues, including parts of four seasons at Triple-A. He was part of two championship teams and also was invited to the Giants' Major League spring training in 2011 and 2013. La Torre was also recognized for his work off the field as he was the recipient of the Nettle Rappe "Good Guy" award in 2008.
Following his playing career, La Torre spent two seasons coaching at San Francisco State, where he served as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator.
Presently, LaTorre is a catcher for the Italian National Team. The team competed in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, and won the 2012 European Championship.
DeMello recently completed his first season with the program where he was the director of operations and analytics. A local product from Roseville, Calif., DeMello played collegiately at Saint Mary's and was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 2012 MLB Draft. He played three seasons in the minor leagues before beginning his coaching career. He will replace Bill Kernan who returned to retirement following the 2019 season.
"When looking to hire the next two coaches it was very important that I hired someone with familiarity of our program as well as two men that were going to treat our players how they have been accustomed to being treated," Christiansen said. "I think we did both in bringing back David to campus, our players will love his passion for the game and our institution. Tyler is an exceptional pitching coach with similar philosophical beliefs which was very important. We have been accustomed to pitching at a high level for the past eight years and it was important to attract a pitching coach with a similar philosophy. Tyler also has a great feel for recruiting in Northern California as well. Toby will also play an instrumental role in every facet of the game this year, he is truly a rising star in this game. I am thrilled for what is next for our program."
Angier coached the Hornets for six seasons, including three as the team's pitching coach. Sacramento State led the WAC in conference ERA, WHIP, strikeout-to-walk ratio and hits allowed per nine innings during each season he was the pitching coach. In 2019, the Hornets won the WAC Tournament title and had three pitchers drafted following the season. Overall, Sacramento State qualified for three NCAA regionals in Angier's six seasons on staff.
During Wheeler's three seasons on the coach staff, he worked with the team's hitters and outfielders while also assisting in recruiting, analytics, video, strength and conditioning training, and fundraising. The Hornets qualified for two NCAA regionals in his three seasons and combined to win 107 games.
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