BASEBALL HOSTS NEVADA IN HOME FINALE, COACH SMITH'S FINAL HOME SERIES
THE END OF AN ERA: COACH SMITH’S FINAL HOME SERIES SET FOR THIS WEEKEND
The Sacramento State baseball team hosts the Nevada Wolf Pack in the final home series of the season, and in the illustrious career of 32nd year head coach John Smith.
Coach Smith enters the four-game set with 877 career victories, the most of any coach in Sacramento State history. He will be honored in a ceremony prior to Sunday’s home finale.
The series will also be the final at home for seven seniors who will also be honored on Sunday. Robert Butler, Tommy Elrod, Dan McCarthy, Justin Mezzaneras, Josh Powers, Jose Ramirez and Trevor York will play at Hornet Field for the final time this weekend.
Nevada enters the weekend in third place in the Western Athletic Conference standings after taking 3-of-4 from San Jose State last weekend in Reno. Their lone loss in the series came in extra innings on Sunday afternoon.
All four games of the series will be broadcast live on www.hornetsports.com with KSSU Sports Director Nate Goodyear handling the play-by-play.
BASEBALL FALLS IN SERIES FINALE TO LOUISIANA TECH
The Sacramento State baseball team dropped the final game of a four-game series to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs by a score of 7-2 on Sunday, May 9 at J.C. Love Field.
With the loss, the Hornets fall to 16-29-1, 5-11 in Western Athletic Conference play, while the Bulldogs improve to 25-22, 10-10 in the WAC.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring in the bottom of the third, plating three runs, which included RBI singles by Devon Dageford, Joey Ford and Justin Gordey.
The Hornets got a pair of runs in the top of the fourth to pull to within one, as freshman Blake Miller doubled to left-center to lead off the inning, and junior Jake Chilton followed with a single, giving the Hornets runners on first and third and nobody out. Junior Trevor Paine drove in the first run with a RBI groundout, and junior Kirby Young followed with a RBI single to center, scoring Chilton from second to pull the score to 3-2.
The Bulldogs added insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth, an RBI double by Ford, the bottom of the seventh, a sacrifice fly by Clint Ewing and a RBI double by Clint Stubbs, and the bottom of the eighth, a sacrifice fly by Kyle Rolliard, to take a 7-2 lead into the ninth.
The Hornets loaded the bases in the top of the ninth with two down, on singles by senior Justin Mezzaneras, freshman Andrew Ayers and senior Josh Powers. Miller hit a blast toward the left field wall, but Rolliard made a leaping catch into the wall, robbing Miller of extra bases and ending the game.
Senior Tommy Elrod (0-3) picked up the loss for the Hornets, allowing three runs on seven hits in three innings, striking out three batters. Casey Jones (1-0) picked up a victory on a spot start for the second straight year against the Hornets, allowing two runs on nine hits in a complete game performance, striking out eight. Jones had not started a game this season prior to Sunday, and had thrown just 10.1 innings in nine appearances.
Chilton and Paine led the Hornets with two hits apiece, with Paine and Young providing the Hornets lone RBI’s of the game. Seven of the nine Hornet hitters recorded at least one hit in the contest. Dageford led the Bulldogs with a 3-for-4 day at the plate.
BASEBALL FALLS IN DOUBLEHEADER TO LOUISIANA TECH
The Sacramento State baseball team held leads in both games of a doubleheader, but the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs came back to win both on Saturday, May 8 at J.C. Love Field.
Game two saw Louisiana Tech score an early run in the bottom of the first to take a 1-0 lead. The Hornets stormed back in the top of the fourth, as sophomore Justin Lamb hit a three-run homer to give the Hornets a 3-1 advantage. The lead grew to 4-1 in the top of the fifth, as freshman Blake Miller clubbed a RBI double off the third base bag, scoring senior Justin Mezzaneras, who had singled with two down, to give Sacramento State a three run cushion.
But the Bulldogs fought back, scoring a run in the bottom of the fifth and two in the bottom of the seventh to tie the score at 4-4. In the bottom of the eighth, Devon Dageford led off with a double down the left field line, advanced to scond on a flyout to center that recorded the second out of the inning, and scored on a suicide squeeze from Clint Stubbs to give Tech a 5-4 lead. The Hornets got a runner on with one out in the top of the ninth, but failed to bring him home, ending the game with a Louisiana Tech victory.
Junior Brandon Sandoval (2-3) pitched well for the Hornets, allowing just two runs over his first six innings of work. He finished the outing allowing five runs on eight hits while recording eight strikeouts in his second straight complete game. Mike Jefferson (4-3) picked up the win with a complete game of his own, allowing four runs on five hits while striking out 13.
Game one of the doubleheader saw the Hornets take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, as senior Josh Powers tripled to left-center, and was brought in to score on a RBI single by Miller. After the Bulldogs scored five in the bottom of the first to take a 5-1 lead, the Hornets tied it with four runs in the top of the second. Miller started the rally with a bases loaded walk, and junior Kirby Young followed with a RBI single to center. Junior Trevor Paine was the next batter, and he hit a RBI single to left, and two batters later, Mezzaneras connected on a RBI single to left to tie the score at 5-5.
The Bulldogs, however, put the game out of reach in the bottom of the second, scoring 11 runs on nine hits to take a 16-5 lead. The final score was 27-12, with the teams combining for 43 hits over six and a half innings. Senior Robert Butler (2-2) picked up the loss for the Hornets, allowing seven runs on seven hits in one inning. Mike LeBreton (2-2) picked up the win in relief, allowing five runs on four hits in 4.2 innings of work.
Miller led the Hornets with a 4-for-7 day at the plate with a pair of walks, a double, and four RBI, while Lamb finished 3-for-8 with two homers, a double, and four batted in. Mezzaneras also hit a home run in game one, driving in three on the day. Mark Threlkeld led the Bulldogs with an 8-for-9 day at the plate, which included three doubles, a home run and seven RBI.
THREE BIG INNINGS COST BASEBALL IN LOSS TO LOUISIANA TECH
The Sacramento State baseball team fell to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs by a score of 17-11 in game one of a Western Athletic Conference series at J.C. Love Field.
Sacramento State took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, as junior Trevor Paine hit a three-run homer to right-center, his eighth of the season. The lead held until the bottom of the fourth, when the Bulldogs scored four runs to take a one run lead, which included a three-run double by Ashton Hughes and a RBI single by Kyle Roliard.
The Hornets retook a 5-4 lead in the top of the fifth, as freshman Andrew Ayers scored on a fielding error by the Bulldogs, and junior Kirby Young provided a RBI groundout. But the lead was shortlived, as Louisiana Tech scored seven runs in the bottom half of the inning on six hits, taking an 11-5 lead.
The score remained that way until the top of the seventh, as the Hornets got a pair of two run homers by junior Trevor Bloom and sophomore Justin Lamb to cut the lead to 11-9. Sacramento State would pull the game to within a run in the top of the eighth on a RBI single by Paine, trailing just 11-10 entering the bottom of the eighth.
But, Louisiana Tech mustered six more runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 17-10 lead. The Hornets struck for one more run in the top of the ninth on a fielder’s choice groundout by Lamb, but a bases loaded double play would end the game at 17-11.
Will Alvis (1-1) picked up the victory in relief for the Bulldogs, allowing four runs, two earned, on three hits in 2.2 innings, striking out five. Sophomore Jesse Darrah (3-5) picked up the loss for the Hornets, allowing six runs on 10 hits in four innings. Caleb Dudley (2) picked up the save for Louisiana Tech, allowing one run on three hits in 1.1 innings.
Senior Josh Powers and Paine led the Hornets with three hits apiece, with Paine driving in four and Powers scoring three runs and connecting on a pair of doubles. Lamb finished with three RBI, and connected on his fourth home run of the season. The top five batters in the Louisiana Tech lineup each finished with at least three hits.
THE COACH SMITH ERA, BY THE NUMBERS (PART THREE OF THREE)
16: The number of All-America honors earned by Hornet players under coach Smith.
The run of All-Americans started in 1985, which was the first year of a stretch of four out of five years where the Hornets advanced to the postseason. Kevin Kobza earned first team honors in 1985, after hitting a school record .465 with a school record 27 doubles and 64 RBI. Pitcher Steve Brueggeman earned second team honors the same year, posting a school record 12-1 record with a 2.91 ERA. The following season, in 1986, Doug Eastman earned second team honors and Deron Curran was named to the third team. Eastman hit .361 with four homers, 29 RBI and 48 stolen bases, while Curran hit .333 with nine home runs, 18 doubles and 65 RBI.
Kevin Creamer earned first team honors in 1987 as a designated hitter, finishing the season with a .407 average, nine home runs and 43 RBI. Three Hornets earned All-American honors in 1988, as Mark Gieseke and Brian Hewitt earned first team honors and Erik Bennett earned second team honors. Gieseke hit .449 with eight homers and 48 RBI, while Hewitt hit .377 with 37 RBI. Bennett went 10-3 with a 2.95 ERA in 1988, and followed it up in 1989 with a first team honor after going 6-5 with a 1.88 ERA, the lowest ERA in school history. Mike Frame was a second team honoree in 1989, posting a 6-2 record with 11 saves and a 2.63 ERA, and Gieseke earned third team honors, hitting .363 with nine home runs and 45 RBI.
The Division I era has since five players earn All-America honors, with three Hornets earning the accolades during the 1993 season. In that year, Roland de la Maza and Matt Martinez were pegged to the second team, while Will Fitzpatrick earned third team honors. de la Meza was 11-2 with a 3.17 ERA, throwing six complete games and striking out 113 batters in 113.2 innings pitched. Martinez hit .374 with 36 stolen bases, while Fitzpatrick hit .323 with 17 HR and 64 RBI.
Harvey Hargrove earned third team All-America honors in 1997 after posting a school record 26 home runs and 62 RBI in his lone year in the Green and Gold. Hargrove hit .361, walked 33 times and stole 11 bases.
The latest Hornet to earn All-America status was Tim Wheeler, who earned second team honors in 2009. Wheeler became the school’s first two-time first team all-Western Athletic Conference selection, hitting .385 on the season with 18 home runs and 72 runs batted in, setting the school’s single-season RBI record in the process.
INJURIES TAKING THEIR TOLL ON HORNET CLUB
The Sacramento State baseball team has had a rough start to the season on the injury front. Sophomore Zach Morgan (arm) was injured just prior to the season, and will miss the entire season. Junior Russell Havens (arm) was also an early season loss, and he two will miss the entire year after making just one appearance on the hill
The week of March 15 was especially tough for the Hornets, as three players were injured over the course of a six day span. Junior Brent Hottman (elbow) was a late scratch from the Hornet lineup that Tuesday against Pacific, and he will be out the rest of the season. In Friday night’s contest against Arizona, junior shortstop Derrick Chung (hand) was hit by a pitch on his glove hand and will be out for the remainder of the season. Freshman Blake Miller (finger) was injured on Sunday prior to the game against Arizona, but has already made his return to the Hornet starting lineup. With Chung out, Kirby Young has taken over the shortstop duties.
BASEBALL PROGRAM DONATES $1,200 TO PINCH HIT FOR HAITI CAMPAIGN
The Sacramento State baseball program held its first annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Fundamentals camp with all proceeds from the camp benefiting the college baseball initiative “Pinch Hit for Haiti.”
The camp, which featured Hornet first round pick Tim Wheeler returning to campus for the first time as a guest instructor, saw 34 children ages 6-14 brave rainy conditions to hone their baseball skills through various drills from Sacramento State coaches and players.
Associate head coach Reggie Christiansen confirmed that over $1,200 will be donated to the Red Cross relief fund as part of the initiative, which was started by Elon University (N.C.) catcher Mike Melillo. The 7.0 earthquake in Haiti has had an effect on nearly 3,000,000 people in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The capital city of Port-au-Prince was nearly leveled. Estimates have casualties numbering in the 10’s of thousands.
Schools from 31 different states and Washington, D.C. have donated towards the cause. A total of 82 different schools were represented. Donations in the name of Elon total $4,139 while Charlotte checks in with $1,076 towards the total. Sacramento State in California added $1,200 to the total after donating the proceeds from their first-ever Martin Luther King Jr. Day Fundamentals Camp toward the project.
Instructions for how you can donate to the cause are listed on the following page.
As an individual:
1. Visit www.redcross.org and donate any amount of money via credit or debit card.
2. Once the process has been completed, Red Cross will provide you with a page that has your tracking number, name, and the amount donated.
3. Copy the information and paste it into an email document.
4. Email the information along with the school you cheer for or the school you wish to represent to firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Pay it forward and tell as many student-athletes as you can about the objective.
JOHN SMITH TO STEP DOWN AS HEAD BASEBALL COACH FOLLOWING 2010 SEASON
Sacramento State head baseball coach John Smith has announced that he will be retiring at the end of the 2010 season, which will be his 32nd season at the helm of the program.
“I’ve always felt like, in coaching, I knew their would be a moment when it would feel right to retire,” Smith said. “At this stage in the program, we have a team full of hungry, hard-working student-athletes, which is something I always strived for. I feel I can walk away now knowing that the program is going in the right direction.”
In his 31 years as the head coach at Sacramento State, Smith has compiled 877 victories in the Green and Gold. Since taking over the program in November of 1978, Smith has produced 16 winning seasons, including 11 years with at least 30 wins and four years with at least 40 victories.
“It’s been a great run,” Smith said. “Sacramento State is my home, and it wouldn’t have felt the same if I had went anywhere else. I didn’t have the itch to go from school to school to climb up the ladder, I wanted to stay where my home was and make the program the best that it could be. The relationships I’ve developed with the faculty, staff, and my coaching peers have made this a worthwhile experience. I will miss it greatly, but I am ready to take on the next stage in my life.”
A two-time American Baseball Coaches Association West Region Coach of the Year, Smith led the Hornets to the Division II College World Series in 1986 and 1988. The 1986 club defeated Cal State Dominguez Hills in the West Regional before posting a 2-2 record at the CWS. The 1988 team made it to the doorstep of the National Championship, before falling in the title game to Florida Southern, 5-4.
“Coach Smith will always be remembered as a great mentor to young men,” Director of Athletics Terry Wanless said. “He has been diligent in running his program in a first-class fashion, in which he always put the student-athlete first. Very few coaches spend an entire career at one institution, and he should be commended for his loyalty to the Hornets. While he will be missed on the field, we look forward to Coach Smith helping the athletic department in other facets in the coming years.”
Under the guidance of Smith, 14 Hornets have earned All-America honors. That list includes Kevin Kobza (1985), Kevin Creamer (1987), Brian Hewitt (1988), Mark Gieske (1989) and Erik Bennett (1989), who all earned first team honors. Smith also has produced 49 players who were drafted in the Major League Baseball Draft, including Tim Wheeler, who was selected in the first round by the Colorado Rockies this past June.
“My congratulations to Coach Smith on a wonderful career,” Kansas head coach Ritch Price, a close friend of Smith’s, said. “For him to end his career with the most wins of any coach in Sacramento State history is a big accomplishment. He is one of the finest people in the game of baseball, and his team’s always have played the game the right way with a tremendous amount of class.”
Under Smith, Sacramento State battled for a spot in the NCAA Tournament down to the final weeks of the 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1998 seasons. The Hornets, who narrowly missed out to Cal State Northridge on the final weekend of the 1991 season, were also a factor in the Western Athletic Conference race in the latter stages of the 1992 and ’93 seasons. In 1998, Sacramento State again nearly found a spot in the postseason, losing to Long Beach State in the championship game of the Big West Tournament.
“I had a unique situation where I both played for him and coached alongside him,” Brian Hewitt, a player from 1988-89 and coach for 12 seasons from 1991-02, said of Smith. “Two weeks before my senior season, my father passed away and Coach Smith was there for me and my family, and really became a father figure. He is a big part of my life, even to this day.”
During his time at Sacramento State, Smith was also responsible for the construction and subsequent renovation of Hornet Field, which in 2003 was equipped with new dugouts and permanent seating for 1,200, including premium chairback seats. In 2008 a large banner was hung over the left field wall that features action photos of current and former players with the phrase “Home of Hornet Baseball” inscribed.
Smith will leave Sacramento State as one of two coaches to lead a program for 32 seasons, the most in school history. Debby Colberg retired in 2007 after a 32 year tenure as the women’s volleyball head coach.