THE COACH SMITH ERA, BY THE NUMBERS (PART TWO OF THREE)
This is the second installment of a three-part series highlighting the career of 32-year head coach John Smith. Leading up to his final home series, May 14-16 against Nevada, interesting facts from coach Smith's tenure will be presented in a by-the-numbers format.
The Athletic Department is extending an invitation to all baseball alumni to attend the May 16th 1 p.m. game against Nevada and take part in an on-field recognition ceremony for coach Smith's final home game. There will also be a pre-game BBQ for baseball alumni starting at 11:30 a.m. Please contact Tina Westerhold at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-278-4263 for tickets to the game on May 16th, as well as to RSVP for the pre-game BBQ.
44: The number of all-conference players under Smith since 1993.
Spanning two conference affliations and a three year stretch as an independent team, the Sacramento State baseball team has had 11 of the 43 players earn first team all conference honors. That number does not include the first stretch of time in the Western Athletic Conference (1993-1996) for the Hornets, when the league was split up into divisional play and there was simply and all-West division and an all-East division team.
The initial Hornet player to earn first team honors was Josh Payne back in the 1998 campaign. Honored as a designated hitter, Payne slugged out 39 extra base hits, including 18 home runs, earning first team all-Big West honors.
Mikela Olson and Jesse Schmidt both had banner years in 2003, earning first team all-independent honors. Olsen also added hitter of the year and newcomer of the year honors after hitting .404 with 20 doubles, 16 homers and 66 RBI. Schmidt hit .389 with 16 home runs and 55 RBI, and produced the longest hit streak of the Division I era, a record 24 consecutive games which is still the school's all-time mark.
Jack Arroyo, Craig Johnson and Ethan Katz followed the next season with three first team all-independent nods in 2004. Arroyo led the team in hits (81), home runs (eight), total bases (113) and stolen bases (20), while Johnson led the team in the majority of the other offensive categories, including batting average (.337), RBI (42) and on-base percentage (.488). Katz was the top hurler on the mound for the Hornets, boasting a 9-5 record with a 4.01 ERA, striking out 90. Katz was a repeat winner in 2005, the last independent season for the Hornets, posting six wins and leading the team with 95.2 innings pitched and 67 strikeouts.
Buddy Morales earned first team all-WAC honors in 2006, hitting .344 for the season and .349 against WAC foes, and struck out just 15 times in 189 at bats. After earning second team honors in 2006, David Flores was named to the first team in 2007, hitting .311 with five home runs and 23 RBI.
Tim Wheeler is the most recent Hornet to earn first team honors, having been pegged by the WAC during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Wheeler hit .330 as a sophomore in 2008 with three home runs and 43 RBI, and went on to hit .385 with 18 homers and 72 RBI as a junior, propelling him into the first round of the Major League Baseball draft.