BASEBALL LOOKS TO KEEP TOURNAMENT HOPES ALIVE IN COACH SMITH'S FINAL REGULAR SEASON SERIES
The Sacramento State baseball team travels down Highway 99 to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs to close out the 2010 regular season. The four-game series will mark the final regular season contests of the career of 32nd year Hornet head coach John Smith.
Coach Smith enters the four-game set with 878 career victories, the most of any coach in Sacramento State history.
To make the 2010 Western Athletic Conference tournament, the Hornets need to win at least 3-of-4 this weekend, with help. If the Hornets take three, they need either San Jose State or Hawai’i to sweep their weekend series against each other. If Sacramento State sweeps the Bulldogs, they would make the tournament with a sweep by either San Jose State or Hawai’i, or San Jose State taking 3-of-4.
All four games of the series will be broadcast live on www.hornetsports.com with assistant media relations director J.D. Fox handling the play-by-play.
HORNETS PLAY FINAL HOME GAME OF JOHN SMITH ERA
A season-high crowd of 537 fans witnessed the final home game of the John Smith era at Sacramento State, but the Nevada Wolf Pack handed the Hornet baseball team an 11-0 loss in seven innings on Sunday at Hornet Field.
The day started with the Hornets honoring their seven seniors, Robert Butler, Tommy Elrod, Dan McCarthy, Justin Mezzaneras, Josh Powers, Jose Ramirez and Trevor York, who competed in their final game in the Green and Gold. The pregame ceremonies continued as head coach John Smith was recognized with a special retirement ceremony prior to his final home game after 32 seasons as the head coach. Over 50 former players came out for the event, which concluded with Smith receiving a framed jersey with the number 32, signifying his tenure as Sacramento State’s eighth head baseball coach.
In his 32 years as head coach, John Smith has produced 11 seasons with at least 30 wins and four years with at least 40 wins. His teams have advanced to the NCAA West Regionals on four occasions and to the College World Series twice, finishing second in the nation in 1988. Under Coach Smith, 83 Hornets have signed professional contracts, 44 have earned all-conference honors since 1993, and 16 have earned All-America honors. An alumnus of Sacramento State with a bachelor’s degree in social science and a master’s degree in physical education, Coach Smith has posted an impressive 878 victories, the most wins by a head coach in any sport in Sacramento State athletics history.
As for the game, Nevada posted three runs in the top of the first before the Hornets recorded an out, and went on to score one more run in the inning to take a 4-0 lead. The Wolf Pack added two more runs in the top of the third on a Brian Barnett home run, and five more runs in the top of the sixth, which included a three-run homer from Barnett. The Hornets would get a runner past first base just two times in the game, which included the bottom of the seventh with one down. But Sacramento State would fail to score, and the game was shortened due to the WAC run rule.
Brandon Sandoval (2-4) picked up the loss for the Hornets, allowing 11 runs, seven of which were earned, on 10 hits in 5.2 innings, striking out six Wolf Pack batters. Brock Stassi (6-4) got the win for Nevada, allowing just three hits over seven innings, walking three and striking out six.
Sophomore Justin Lamb produced two of the team’s three hit on the game, with junior Trevor Bloom providing the other. Barnett finished the contest 3-for-3 with seven RBI to pace Nevada.
BASEBALL DROPS DOUBLEHEADER TO THE NEVADA WOLF PACK
The Sacramento State baseball team dropped both games of a doubleheader to visiting Nevada on Saturday at Hornet Field. The Hornets fell in game one 4-2, and were defeated in game two by a score of 7-6 in seven innings.
Game one was a pitcher’s duel that saw both starters produce quality starts for their respective teams. Nevada struck for two runs in the top of the first to take an early lead, as Cullen Mahoney hit a solo home run, and later in the inning, Garrett Yrigoyen drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in another run. The Hornets came back to score one run in the bottom of the second to cut the lead in half, as freshman Andrew Ayers produced a two-out double, and senior Dan McCarthy drove him home with a RBI single.
After the Wolf Pack added an unearned insurance run in the top of the seventh to make the score 3-1, the Hornets got a run back in the bottom half of the inning, as with the bases loaded and one out, freshman Blake Miller connected on a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Ayers to cut the Wolf Pack lead to 3-2.
Nevada added another insurance run in the top of the eighth on a bases loaded RBI single by Kevin Rodland, and the Hornets were retired in order in the eighth and ninth, accounting for the final score of 4-2.
Sophomore Jesse Darrah (3-6) threw six strong innings, allowing just the two first inning runs on five total hits while striking out nine, but picked up the loss in the contest. Tom Jameson (4-1) threw 6.2 innings, allowing just one earned run on six hits while striking out three. Tyler Graham (5) pitched a one-two-three ninth, striking out two, to pick up the save.
In game two, Nevada once again took an early 2-0 lead, as in the top of the first, Ronnie Mitchell II and Yrigoyen each drove in a run with a single and a fielder’s choice groundout. This time the Hornets would come back to tie it at 2-2 in the bottom of the third, as junior Kyle Baskett hit his first career homer over the left field fence, driving in a pair to even the score.
Sacramento State would go on to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth, as senior Justin Mezzaneras hit a solo home run over the left field wall, his fifth of the season, to give the Hornets the lead. Insurance would then follow in the bottom of the fifth, as the Hornets scored three more runs to take a 6-2 lead. With runners on first and second and one out, Miller and Baskett executed a double steal, and Wolf Pack catcher Carlos Escobar Jr. threw the ball into left field, allowing Miller to score for the first run of the inning. Junior Trevor Paine then followed with a RBI double down the left field line, scoring Baskett to give the Hornets a three run cushion. The fourth run of the inning came in the form of a pinch-hit RBI single off the bat of junior Jake Chilton, scoring Paine to make the score 6-2.
But the Wolf Pack would come back in the top of the sixth to take the lead. After loading the bases with a walk followed by back-to-back singles, Brock Stassi hit a grand slam over the right-center field wall, tying the score at 6-6. Yrigoyen followed with a single, and came around to score on a pinch hit triple off the right field wall by Nick Leid, giving Nevada a 7-6 advantage. The Hornets mustered first and second with two down in the bottom of the seventh, their last at bat, but a groundout ended the game, giving Nevada the doubleheader win.
Making his first career start, junior Andrew Galvan (1-4) pitched well until the sixth, picking up the loss. Galvan allowed seven runs on seven hits in 5.1, walking two and striking out four. Jerad Harvey (1-0) picked up the win in relief of starter Jeremy Cole, allowing one base runner in a third of an inning of work. Cole allowed six runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings, which ended his streak of consecutive complete games at three. Graham (6) picked up the save for the second straight game, allowing one hit and one hit batter in two innings.
Six Hornets, Chilton, McCarthy, Mezzaneras, Miller, Paine and senior Josh Powers, each provided two hits apiece on the day, with six different Hornets also producing RBI on the day. Stassi led the Wolf Pack with three hits, including the home run, and four RBI.
PITCHING HOLDS NEVADA TO FOUR HITS AND OFFENSE PRODUCES IN 6-4 SERIES OPENING VICTORY
Four pitchers combined to allow just four hits over nine innings, as the Sacramento State baseball team defeated the visiting Nevada Wolf Pack in game one of a four-game series at Hornet Field.
Sacramento State opened the scoring in the bottom of the second, as with one out sophomore Justin Lamb homered to left-center, his seventh home run of the season, to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead. Nevada struck back in the top of the third, as Shaun Kort connected on a two out, two-run bloop single to left field, taking a 2-1 advantage.
The Hornets were then able to take advantage of some erratic Wolf Pack pitching, plating four runs on just one hit in the bottom of the third to take a lead they would never reliquish. Seniors Dan McCarthy and Josh Powers walked to lead off the inning, and with one down junior Jake Chilton walked to load the bases. Junior Trevor Paine earned a RBI on a walk that tied the score at 2-2, and then the Hornets took the lead on a RBI sacrifice fly off the bat of junior Kirby Young. After Lamb walked to reload the bases, senior Justin Mezzaneras connected on a RBI single through the left side, increasing the Hornet lead to 4-2 and keeping the bases loaded with two down. The final run of the inning came in as freshman Andrew Ayers drew a RBI walk, giving the Hornets a 5-2 lead.
Nevada cut the Hornet advantage to just a run in the top of the fifth, as Kort connected on a two-run homer to right field that made the score 5-4. The Hornets got a run in the bottom of the inning, as Lamb hit a one-out double down the left field line, advanced to third on a single by Mezzaneras, and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Ayers, giving the Hornets a 6-4 lead. The Wolf Pack put the tying run aboard in the top of the seventh but failed to score, and again failed to score in the top of the ninth after bringing the tying run to the plate.
Sacramento State starter, senior Tommy Elrod, pitched well, allowing three runs on three hits in four innings of work while striking out four. Freshman Brandon Creel (3-0) earned the save out of the bullpen, allowing one run on one hit in 2.2 innings of work. Junior Logan Todd allowed just one baserunner in 1.2 innings of work, and junior Mike Guglielmo threw the final two outs to pick up his first save as a Hornet. Chris Garcia (6-3) picked up the loss for the Wolf Pack, allowing five runs on one hit in 2.2 innings, walking six batters.
Lamb, Mezzaneras, freshman Blake Miller, and Powers led the Hornets with two hits apiece, while Ayers led the Hornets in RBI with two. Kort led the Wolf Pack with a 2-for-4 day, driving in all four Nevada runs.
PAINE CONTINUES TO SHINE IN NEW ROLE
Sacramento State designated hitter/first basemen Trevor Paine continues his breakout season at the plate, in what is his first season taking swings with the Hornets. Paine was a pitcher in the Hornet bullpen during his first two seasons, and led the team in ERA as a freshman in 2008. The 2010 season has seen the junior hit .371, which ranks tenth in the WAC, while leading the team in home runs (eight) and ranking second in RBI (38). Paine is also the 75th toughest player in the nation to strikeout, with the event happening just once out of every 13.3 at bats. For the season, he has struck out just 12 times in 159 at bats, and with 20 walks to his credit, Paine ranks first on the team with a .451 on base percentage. He also leads the club in slugging percentage, with his 10 doubles, eight homers and 41 singles equating to a slugging percentage of .585.
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 email@example.com
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 878 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.