SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State Hornets baseball team will travel to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to participate in a historic international tournament from August 13-18, 2019.
The tournament will be hosted by the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds with the majority of games played at Tourmaline West Stadium on the UBC campus. In addition to the Hornets and Thunderbirds, two Japanese programs - the University of Tokyo and Keio University - will participate in the four-team tournament.
For the Hornets, the tournament will be a program first. Sacramento State baseball has never participated in an international tournament.
"This is a special experience for us to compete against international competition and we are excited for this once in a lifetime opportunity," said Christiansen of the upcoming tournament. "With nine Canadian-born players on our roster, it makes the whole experience that much more unique as they get a chance to again compete on their own soil."
The two teams from Japan will also be making history for their country, becoming the first Japanese universities to compete on Canadian soil. UBC is hosting the tournament after doing a tour of Japan last summer, during which it visited both the University of Tokyo and Keio University.
The tournament will feature a round-robin format followed by two semifinals and culminating in a championship game on the final day of the tournament, Sunday, August 18. A full schedule is available below.
Although the trip to Canada is the first for the Hornets as a program, it is not Sacramento State baseball's first interaction with the country. Nine players on the Hornets roster are Canada natives, including junior third baseman Steven Moretto, who grew up in Coquitlam, just outside of Vancouver.
"I've been looking forward to this tournament ever since we first found out about it," said Moretto. "Personally, I'll have a chance to play in front of some family and friends for the first time. I've also played against a number of guys who are now at UBC, so taking them on again will be a lot of fun.
"With Sacramento State having such a strong Canadian connection," Moretto continued, "it's going to be really cool to have my teammates see where nine of us come from. That, plus the opportunity to play against some of the best players from Japan is going to make this a really great week of baseball!"
While much of the trip will be filled with practice and competition, the tournament includes a built-in off day on Friday to allow the teams a day for sightseeing and cultural experiences.
"This is a unique opportunity not just on the field, but also off the field," added Christiansen. "Our players will get to interact with the teams and players from Japan as well as the UBC program. It will be an awesome experience for our players to learn from, and interact, with teams from other parts of the world. It will also provide our 2020 team a chance to start building relationships with one another as we gear up for the fall."
Sacramento State is coming off a successful 2019 season that included 40 wins and a thrilling WAC Tournament Championship. The Hornets advanced to their third NCAA Regional tournament in the last six seasons, defeating and eliminating No. 18 UC Santa Barbara from postseason play. Nearly all of the players from the 2019 squad will return for the 2020 season.
For fans able to or interested in making the trip north, single-game tickets and tournament packages are on sale now. Details can be found online at GoThunderbirds.ca/baseballclassic. Tickets will also be available at the gate.
Collegiate Baseball Classic Schedule
Aug. 13-18, 2019
Tuesday, August 13
Sacramento State vs Keio University – 6:30 p.m.
UBC vs University of Tokyo – 7:00 p.m. – Nat Bailey Stadium
Wednesday, August 14
Keio University vs University of Tokyo – 2:30 p.m.
Sacramento State vs UBC – 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 15
University of Tokyo vs Sacramento State – 2:30 p.m.
Keio University vs UBC – 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 17
Semifinal Game 1 – 2:30 p.m.
Semifinal Game 2 – 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 18
Consolation Final – 11:00 a.m.
Final – 3:00 p.m.