BASEBALL HOSTS LOUISIANA TECH IN KEY WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE SERIES
HORNETS HOST BULLDOGS IN PIVOTAL WAC SERIES
Coming off of a tough weekend in Hawaii, the Sacramento State baseball team will look to reverse their fortunes when they host Louisiana Tech in a four-game weekend Western Athletic Conference Series.
The Hornets dropped three-of-four to the Rainbows this past weekend, and have now lost four of their last fve, their worst stretch since they started the season 1-7. The lone win at Hawai’i came in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, 2-1, with Hornet freshman Jesse Darrah picking up the victory, his seventh of the season.
After starting conference play 1-7, the Bulldogs swept the defending National Champion Fresno State Bulldogs at home to move to 5-7 in WAC play. Overall, Louisiana Tech has won seven straight ballgames entering Friday’s contest.
The series will be contested over four days, due to a scheduling quirk in the WAC that sees the Bulldogs leaving home on Thursday, April 23, and not returning home until May 4th. La Tech will travel directly to Hawai’ii Tuesday following the series to face the Rainbows in a four-game series from April 30th-May 3.
Live audio and live stats for all four games of the series will be available on www.hornetsports.com
LAST SUNDAY: RAINBOWS 8, HORNETS 4
Junior Tim Wheeler hit a pair of home runs, but the Hawai’i Rainbows hit three of their own to take home a 8-4 victory over the Sacramento State Baseball team on Sunday, April 19 at Les Murakami Stadium.
The Rainbows took a 2-0 lead in the first, as for the third time in the series, Hawai’i first baseman Kevin Macdonald hit a two-run home run in the first. He combined with Vinnie Catricala to produce back-to-back solo homers in the third, extending the lead to 4-0.
The Hornets cut the Rainbow advantage to 4-2 in the top of the sixth, as Wheeler connected on his 13th home run of the season, a two-run opposite field shot to left.
Hawai’i, however, got an insurance run right back in the bottom of the inning, as Sean Montplaisir connected an RBI double to extend the lead to 5-2. The Rainbows then put the game away in the bottom of the eighth, scoring three runs to take a commanding 8-2 advantage.
Sacramento State attempted a comeback in the ninth, as Wheeler connected on his second opposite field home run of the day, another two run shot which gives him 14 on the season, but the Hornets would end up falling 8-4.
Junior Tommy Elrod (4-2) picked up the loss for the Hornets, allowing four runs on five hits in three innings of work. Jared Alexander (1-1), the preseason WAC Pitcher of the Year, picked up his first win of the season, allowing two runs on four hits in six innings.
Sophomore Derrick Chung led the Hornets offensively with a 3-for-3 day, while Wheeler finished 2-for-4 while driving in all four of the club’s runs. Senior Jeff Roth went 1-for-4 with a single, extending his hitting streak to a team active high 12 games.
Kolten Wong went 3-for-5 to lead Hawai’i, while Catricala and Macdonald finished with a pair of hits apiece.
LAST SATURDAY: HORNETS 2, RAINBOWS 1, RAINBOWS 7, HORNETS 2
The Sacramento State baseball team split a conference doubleheader with the Hawai’i Rainbows, winning game one 2-1 before falling in game two 7-2 on Saturday, April 18 at Les Murakami Stadium.
In game one, Hawai’i opened the scoring in the bottom of the second, as Kevin Macdonald hit a solo home run, his second of the series, to give the Rainbows a 1-0 lead.
The Hornets came back to tie the contest at 1-1 in the top of the fourth, as junior Tim Wheeler and seniors Blake Crosby and Jeff Roth hit three straight two-out singles, with Roth’s being an RBI effort that scored Wheeler from second base. They took the lead in the top of the fifth, as following a lead off single by freshman Aaron Crouch and a sacrifice bunt by freshman Justin Lamb that moved Crouch into scoring position, senior Hunter Martinez hit an RBI single to make the score 2-1 in favor of the Hornets. That was all the runs the Hornets would need, as they took home a 2-1 victory.
Hornet freshman starter Jesse Darrah (7-2) pitched a gem, allowing just one run on five hits in 7.2 innings pitched, walking one while striking out two. Roth moved from right field to the pitcher’s mound to record the final four outs and pick up his fourth save of the season. Darrah’s win total is the most for any Hornet pitcher since Ethan Katz won nine games during the 2004 season.
After seeing his 17-game hitting streak snapped in game one of the series on Friday, Crosby finished game one of the doubleheader 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Hornet charge, while Roth finished 2-for-4 with a RBI.
Game two, a scheduled seven inning affair, started with the Rainbows opening the scoring in the bottom of the first, as after Shane Hoey reached on a wild pitch after striking out, Vinnie Catricala hit a two-run homer to left center field, giving Hawai’i a 2-0 lead.
The Hornets cut the lead in half in an unusual way in the top of the second, as Roth doubled with one out, and went on to score from second base on a wild pitch thrown by Rainbow starter Nate Klein.
The Rainbows extended the lead in the bottom of the third, scoring one run on a RBI single by Kolten Wong and another on a RBI groundout by Christian Johnson to take a 4-1 lead. The advantage grew to 5-1 in the bottom of the fourth, as Catricala provided a RBI two-out single that scored Greg Garcia.
Sacramento State cut the advantage to 5-2 in the top of the sixth, as after Wheeler drew a one-out walk, Crosby connected on a RBI double down the left field line. But the Rainbows blew it back open with two runs in the bottom half of the inning, as Macdonald connected on a RBI groundout, and Johnson provided a RBI infield single, accounting for the final margin of 7-2.
Sophomore Brandon Sandoval (4-4) picked up the loss for the Hornets, allowing seven runs on six hits in 5.1 innings of work. Klein (1-2) picked up his first win of the season, allowing one run on four hits in five innings pitched.
Junior Joe España led the Hornets in game two with a pair of hits, while Roth extended his hitting streak to 11 games with the second inning double.
LAST FRIDAY: RAINBOWS 5, HORNETS 4
The Sacramento State baseball team dropped a tough 5-4 decision to the host Hawai’i Rainbows in game one of a four-game series on Friday, April 17 at Les Murakami Stadium.
The Rainbows opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning, as following a two-out single by Vinnie Catricala, Kevin Macdonald hit a two-run homer to left center field, giving Hawai’i a 2-0 advantage. The Hornets cut the lead to a lone run in the top of the third, as senior Hunter Martinez connected on a two-out single that scored freshman Aaron Crouch, making the score 2-1.
But Hawai’i again would provide a home run in the bottom of the inning, as two runners on and no one out, Kolten Wong hit a three-run blast to right field to make the score 5-1 in favor of the Rainbows.
The score would remain that way until the top of the eighth, when the Hornets loaded the bases with nobody out. But after two straight outs without a runner crossing the plate, senior Jeff Roth finally drove home a run with a RBI single, pulling the Hornets to within three at 5-2. Leaving three runners on to end the eighth would prove costly for the Hornets, as after a pinch hit single by junior Joe España led off the inning, sophomore Brent Hottman took the first pitch he saw from Hawai’i reliever Sam Spangler over the left field wall for his fourth home run of the season, closing the gap to 5-4. Spangler, however, rebounded to record the final two outs and perserve the one-run victory for the homestanding Rainbows.
The Hornet bullpen was the story in the contest, as after sophomore starter Chris Baek got off to a rough start, allowing five runs in two innings, freshmen Alex Taku and Brent Harrison combined to allow no runs on just three hits the remaining six innings of play. Taku scattered two hits over four innings, while Harrison allowed just one hit pitching the final two frames.
Jayson Kramer (3-3) pitched a strong outing for the Rainbows, allowing just two runs on seven hits in eight innings of work. Despite giving up two runs on two hits in the ninth, Spangler held on to pick up his third save of the season. Baek (3-4) was saddled with the loss for the Hornets.
Offensively, the Hornets were led by Martinez, who went 3-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored in the contest. Six other Hornets picked up one hit apiece, but senior Blake Crosby (0-for-4) saw his team-high hitting streak end at 17 games. Hawai’i got two hits apiece from Catricala and Landon Hernandez, while Macdonald and Wong collected all five RBI for the Rainbows.
WHEELER ENTERS CAREER RBI RECORD BOOK; AMONG NATIONS LEADERS
Junior outfielder Tim Wheeler has amassed 54 RBI so far during the 2009 season, giving him 124 runs batted in for his career. This places him third on the school’s career RBI chart, surpassing Gabe Jacobo (2006-08). Wheeler now sets his sights on second place Chris Kinsey (2001-03), who amassed 128 RBI in his three years in the Green and Gold. Will Fitzpatrick is the school’s all-time leader with 135.
With 19 games remaining on the Hornets regular season schedule, Wheeler’s 54 RBI are just two away from ranking in the school’s single-season top ten. The El Camino HS product is also in the top 25 in the country in six statistical categories. His highest ranking is in the RBI department, ranking ninth in the nation. He also ranks in the top 25 in RBI per game (14th, 1.42), home runs (14th, 14), home runs per game (22nd, 0.37), slugging percentage (23rd, 0.773), and total bases (24th, 109).
ROTH PROVIDING PUNCH ON MOUND AND AT THE PLATE
Senior Jeff Roth has been serving a dual role as of late for the Hornets, both serving as the team’s everyday right field, as well as filling the role of closer. On the hill, Roth is 2-0 with a 3.09 ERA and a team-high four saves, striking out 17 batters in 23.1 innings. At the plate, he is hitting .293 with six home runs and 26 RBI, and is in the midst of a career-high 12 game hitting streak.
Freshman Jesse Darrah ranked 13th in the nation in wins, posting a 7-2 record during his first season in the Green and Gold. Darrah became the first Hornet to amass seven wins since Ethan Katz, who posted nine victories in 2005.
GRAND SLAMS A PLENTY
The Sacramento State baseball team has four three grand slams in a season for the first time since 1998. Junior Tim Wheeler started the festivites with a grand slam in the team’s 14-2 victory over Saint Mary’s on March 8. The next two came four days apart, as senior Jeff Roth hit one in the squads 18-5 victory over Cornell on March 21, and senior Blake Crosby followed that with a grand slam in the Hornets 10-5 victory over Oregon on March 24. Wheeler struck again on April 11, hitting a grand slam in the team’s 7-1 victory over Utah Valley.
The Hornets are currently without three starting pitchers due to injury. The latest injury came in the opening game of the series against Arizona, when senior lefthander Jose Ramirez was hit in the arm by a line drive. Ramirez continues to be out indefinitely.
Senior Eric Fregosi suffered a broken hand against San Francisco on March 17 after being hit in his pitching hand with a line drive. He will miss most likely miss the remainder of the season.
Junior outfielder Dan McCarthy suffered a broken foot against Utah Valley, and his timeline for a return this season is unknown.
Out for longer periods of time are junior righthander Trevor York and senior lefthander Brian Smith. York, who led the team in innings the past two seasons, is rehabbing from offseason surgery, and is looking at a late-April return. Smith, who led the team in wins, is also rehabbing from offseason surgery, and has a less definitive timetable for return.
Senior Mike Weiss is out for the season following Tommy John surgery. He will look to make a return to the mound during the 2010 season.
MINOR LEAGUE UPDATE
Four former Hornets are currently playing affiliated minor league baseball, with a fifth playing on the independent circuit. David Flores (2005-08) and Mitch Lively (2004-07) are playing at the High-A level, with Flores playing with the Astros affiliate Lancaster Jethawks and Lively pitching for the San Jose Giants, both of the California League. Gabe Jacobo (2006-08) and Ryan Blair (2007-08) are each playing in Low-A, with Jacobo a member of the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Midwest League) for the second straight year, and Blair a member of the Lake County Captains (South Atlantic League). Ethan Katz (2004-05) was recently signed by the Chico Outlaws of the independent Golden Baseball League, after being released by the Colorado Rockies organization during spring training.