BASEBALL CONTROLS TOURNAMENT DESTINY AS HORNETS HOST FRESNO STATE
BASEBALL CONTROLS TOURNAMENT DESTINY AS FRESNO ST. VISITS THE CAPITAL
With the NAPA Auto Parts Western Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament just one week away, Sacramento State enters a series knowing exactly what they need to do to make a return trip to Honolulu
The tournament, which will take place at Hawai’i’s Les Murakami Stadium, features the top six teams of the seven team league. The Hornets currently sit in sixth place, and need at least two victories during a four-game series with Fresno State to clinch a tournament berth. Although both the Bulldogs and Hornets have eight victories, thanks to two rainouts against San Jose State, Sacramento State has played two fewer games and holds a percentage edge over Fresno State,
Fresno State needs to win at least three games to reach the conference tournament, which they have won the past three seasons. The Bulldogs turned the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament they earned last year from a tournament championship into a magical run that ended in the 2008 national championship.
The two teams split the regular season series a year ago, with the Hornets taking the first two games, and the Bulldogs taking the last two. Fresno State also started its postseason momentum with a 3-2 victory in game one of last year’s WAC Tournament in Ruston, Louisiana.
TUESDAY: CALIFORNIA 15, HORNETS 0
The Sacramento State baseball team was shutout by the California Golden Bears by a score of 15-0 on Tuesday, May 12 at Evans Diamond.
California struck first in the bottom of the second, scoring two runs on RBI singles by Marcus Semien and Brett Jackson.They went on to open the game up in the bottom of the third scoring eight runs, which included a grand slam by Jackson, to give the Golden Bears a 10-0 lead.
The home team struck for five more in the bottom of the fifth, which included a bases clearing triple by Jackson that gave him eight RBI on the day, making the score 15-0.
Sacramento State had their best scoring chance in the top of the eighth as they loaded the bases without a hit with one away, but reliever Michael Bugary induced a pair of weak popouts to the outfield to end the threat.
Chris Petrini (3-3) picked up the win for the Golden Bears, throwing two innings of hitless baseball. Sophomore righthander Chris Baek (4-5) started and picked up the loss for the Hornets, allowing seven runs on six hits in two innings of work.
Five Hornets had a lone hit apiece, senior Jeff Roth, juniors Josh Powers and Tim Wheeler, sophomore Derrick Chung and freshman Justin Lamb. Junior Brian Filice was the last Hornet out of the bullpen and pitched well, allowing just two hits while striking out a pair in two innings pitched.
LAST SUNDAY: WOLF PACK 7, HORNETS 6
The Sacramento State baseball team took a 6-5 lead into the ninth, but allowed two runs in the bottom half of the inning to fall 7-6 to the Nevada Wolf Pack on Saturday, May 10.
Nevada opened the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the first, as Matt Bowman led off the inning with a double and Westley Moss moved him to third base with an infield single to shortstop. After Moss stole second base, Kort connected on a single off the glove of senior Hunter Martinez at second, scoring both runners to give the Wolf Pack a 2-0 lead.
The Hornets fought back in the top of the second to pull to within one run, as senior Blake Crosby connected on a leadoff single, advanced to second after sophomore Derrick Chung was hit by a pitch, and scored on a RBI single by redshirt freshman Ivan Otsuka.
The Wolf Pack ran their lead back to two runs at 3-1 in the bottom of the third as Brett Hart provided an RBI single scoring pinch runner Brock Stassi. Senior Jeff Roth got the run right back for the Hornets with a solo home run to left field in the top of the fourth, his 10th of the season, making the score 3-2. But Nevada answered with a home run of their own in the bottom of the fourth, as Bowman went deep to left field on a two-run blast, extendING the lead to its largest of the game at 5-2.
Sacramento State scored two runs to pull to within one once again at 5-4 in the top of the fifth, as junior Tim Wheeler reached on a fielder’s choice and drove in a run, and Crosby provided a RBI single. Wheeler became the school’s single season RBI leader in the inning, posting a Hornet-high 69 RBI during his third campaign in the Green and Gold. The Hornets then took advantage of two Wolf Pack errors in the to take their first lead of the game in the top of sixth.
Chung led off the sixth with a single, and freshman Justin Lamb layed down a sacrifice bunt that pitcher Daniel Timlin.threw away, giving the Hornets runners on second and third with no out. Otsuka grounded to shortstop, scoring Chung, but shortstop Kevin Rodland threw the ball away as well, giving the Hornets runners of first and third with no one out. Sophomore Brent Hottman took advantage of the situation to connect on his first hit of the series, a RBI single through the right side, giving the Hornets a 6-5 advantage.
The Hornets held off a Nevada rally in the bottom of the eighth, as after Bowman reached base after being hit by a pitch, Moss hit a hard line drive to right center that looked like a game-tying double. Roth came fast from his right field position, laid out, and made the diving catch to preserve the lead. Hottman then threw out Bowman trying to steal to end the inning.
Insurance looked imminent in the top of the ninth for Sacramento State, as they had the bases loaded and one out. Chung attempted a suicide squeeze with Wheeler breaking from third, but popped the bunt up to third baseman Tyson Jaquez, who tagged Wheeler to end the threat.
Nevada mounted a second rally in the bottom of the ninth, as Stassi connected on a leadoff double, and advanced to third on a groundout by Kort. Hart was then hit by a pitch, putting the go-ahead run on base for Tyson Jaquez, who took a 1-2 pitch into the right center gap for a game-winning two run double, giving the Wolf Pack a 7-6 victory.
Junior Trevor York (0-1) picked up the loss for the Hornets, allowing two runs on two hits in 1.1 innings in relief of sophomore starter Brandon Sandoval. Sandoval allowed five runs on nine hits in seven innings of work, not factoring into the decision. Stassi (6-3) picked up the win, throwing the final 1.2 innings, allowing no runs on two hits.
Crosby led the Hornets with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, while Otsuka finished 2-for-4 with two RBI. Five other Hornets added a lone hit on the day.
BACK-TO-BACK HOMERS A FAMILIAR SIGHT
After posting back-to-back home runs just twice in the season’s first 45 games, Sacramento State accomplished the feat three times in their weekend series at Nevada. In Friday night’s 14-13 victory, the Hornets did it twice, with freshman Justin Lamb and junior Justin Mezzaneras going back-to-back in the second inning, and juniors Josh Powers and Tim Wheeler following it up with back-to-back shots in the fourth.
WHEELER ENTERS RECORD BOOKS; AMONG NATIONS LEADERS
Junior outfielder Tim Wheeler has amassed 69 RBI so far during the 2009 season, giving him 139 runs batted in for his career. He passed Will Fitzpatrick (135 RBI from 1990-93) as the school’s all-time leader on May 9th at Nevada. Wheeler became the school’s single-season RBI king the following day on May 10th, with his 69th run driven in on the season, passing Jason Bolton (68 RBI in 1998).
Wheeler is also making his mark in other categories: he is tied for second in school history in single season home runs with 18, third in career hits with 208, tied for fourth in career triples with seven, fifth in career home runs with 27, sixth in career at bats (605) and doubles (34), and 14th in career batting average (.344).
The El Camino HS product entered the week in the top 25 in the country in six statistical categories. His highest rankings are in the RBI, RBI per game (1.41) and slugging percentage (0.788) departments, ranking 14th in the nation. He also ranks in the top 25 in home runs (15th, 18), total bases (20th, 145) and home runs per game (23rd, 0.37).
Senior Hunter Martinez entered the week ranked 24th in the country with 81 hits on the season. Martinez was also in the top 30 in runs, ranking 27th with 63.
Junior Josh Powers leads the Western Athletic Conference and ranks fourth in the nation in doubles with 24 on the season. Powers also ranks sixth in the nation in doubles per game (0.49).
Freshman Jesse Darrah is ranked 11th in the nation in wins, posting a 9-2 record during his first season in the Green and Gold. Darrah became the first Hornet to amass nine wins since Ethan Katz, who who accomplished the feat in 2005. He is the first Hornet freshman to collect eight victories during the team’s Division I era (1990-present).
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 five players due to season ending injuries.
Senior lefthander Jose Ramirez was hit in the arm by a line drive during the Hornets first game at Arizona, and will be out the remainder of the season. Senior righthander 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. Senior lefthander Brian Smith, who led the team in wins last season, is also out, having just recently having surgery on his pitching arm..
Junior outfielder Dan McCarthy suffered a broken foot against Utah Valley, and he will also miss the remainder of the season
Senior righthander 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.