-- Throughout the summer, the Sacramento State athletic department will take a look back and honor the student-athletes who have made the biggest impact on their sport over the last 10 years.
To be eligible for the baseball all-decade team, a student-athlete must have played at least one year between the 2000-01 and 2009-10 academic years, and must have finished their collegiate career as a Hornet, or be an active member of the team.
Today marks the announcement of the baseball all-decade team. The squad consists of eight position players, one utility player, two starting pitchers and one reliever.
Tim Wheeler (2007-09)
A native of Sacramento, Tim Wheeler
became the school’s first two-time first team all-Western Athletic Conference selection in 2009. The center fielder hit .385 as a junior with 18 home runs and 72 RBI, setting the school’s single season RBI record in the process. He also broke the school’s all-time RBI mark in just three seasons, boasting 142 in his career. In 2009, Wheeler ranked in the top 30 nationally in six categories, with his highest ranking coming in RBI. He earned second team All-America recognition from the American Baseball Coaches Association, as well as Baseball America. He was also recognized by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Ping Baseball as a third team selection. As a sophomore in 2008, Wheeler hit .330 with three home runs, 43 RBI, and 10 stolen bases. He tied for the longest hitting streak in the WAC that season, hitting safely in 20 consecutive games while posting 17 multi-hit games. He became the program's highest draft pick ever in the 2009 MLB Draft, being selected with the 32nd pick of the first round by the Colorado Rockies. He currently plays for their High-A affiliate, the Modesto Nuts.
Aurelio Jackson (1998-2001)
During a distinguished four-year career as the Hornets everyday center fielder, Aurelio Jackson stands as the school's all-time leader in hits (229), runs scored (138), and stolen bases (85). The San Diego, Calif. native started 180 times and appeared in 204 games for coach Smith, batting .321 for his career. Jackson's speed was his biggest tool, as he is the only Hornet in recent history to record an inside the park home run and a straight steal of home during his career, while also once tagging from second to score on a sacrifice fly. He saved his best season for his senior year, when he hit .338 while leading the team in hits (75), runs (51), and on base percentage (.446). Jackson also recorded 44 stolen bases in 60 chances as a senior, which is the third highest single-season total in program history. Jackson was a two-time all-Big West performer for the Hornets, earning second team honors as a senior in 2001 and honorable mention accolades as a sophomore in 1999.
Mikela Olsen (2003)
A transfer from Santa Ana JC, Mikela Olsen was the catalyst of the Hornet offense in his only season in 2003. He batted .404 with 88 hits, 50 runs, 20 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs, 66 RBI, 160 total bases, a .734 slugging percentage and a .454 on-base percentage. Olsen also led the squad by batting .445 with runners on base and .443 with runners in scoring position. He dipped below the .400 mark on only one occasion during the year (March 28, .396) and was the first Hornet to bat .400 since Dan Ferreira accomplished the feat in 1990. In the Hornet single-season record book, Olsen ranks in a tie for third in RBI, a tie for fifth in home runs, and a tie for sixth in doubles as well as batting average. Olson was drafted in the 15th round of the 2003 MLB Draft by the Florida Marlins, ending his career with the Hornets after one season.
Gabe Jacobo (2006-08)
Gabe Jacobo posted a .362 career average in his three years in the Green and Gold, including a career-best .379 mark in 2008. The Tulare, Calif. native started 116 career games, including 56 games in 2007 and all 58 of the Hornets’ contests in 2008. He ranks fourth in Hornet history in career home runs with 29, while ranking fourth in career RBI with 113. His career batting average ranks eighth in school history, while he ranks sixth in career hits with 170. His 66 RBI during his junior season are tied for the third most in single-season school history, while his 15 home runs rank as the eighth most prolific mark in a season in the Hornet record book. He became just the third Hornet in the Division I era to post three home runs in a single game, after hitting round-trippers in each of his first three at-bats at Louisiana Tech. In 2008 he earned second team all-Western Athletic Conference honors as a utility player, his first career postseason award. Jacobo was selected in the 10th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and currently plays for their High-A club in Rancho Cucamonga.
Carlos Morales (1998-01)
A two-year standout at second base for the Hornets, Carlos Morales was a two-time second team All-Big West Conference performer. As a senior in 2001, Morales hit .325 with a team-leading 16 doubles, while ranking second on the team in hits (64), RBI (41) and total bases (95). A native of Cudhay, Calif., Morales was a career .337 hitter, as he tied for second on the team as a junior with a .348 batting average while leading the club with 43 RBI. A solid hitter and fielder, Morales had a knack for getting on-base, boasting a career on base percentage of .415. A key to this was the 32 times he was hit by a pitch in his career, the second most in school history. In 2000, he was hit by a pitch a school-record tying 19 times.
David Flores (2005-08)
David Flores was a four-year starter for the Hornets at third base, collecting a career .314 batting average. He is the school’s career leader in two categories, while ranking second in four categories. The Union City, Calif. native is the Hornets all-time leader in at bats (719) and doubles (57), while ranking second in hits (226), runs (128), single-season doubles (26) and hits in a game (5). Flores saved his best year for his senior campaign, hitting .366 with 26 doubles, 8 home runs and 46 RBI, all of which marked career highs. A three-time all-Western Athletic Conference selection, Flores was a second team choice in 2006 and 2008, while being named to the first team in 2007. As a sophomore in 2006, Flores hit .331 with 16 doubles while committing just three errors at the hot corner. He was selected in the 18th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros, and currently plays for their High-A affiliate, the Lancaster Jethawks.
Everet Rincon (2002-06)
A constant in the Hornet lineup during the mid-2000's, Everet Rincon started 141 career games at shortstop and 58 at second base. A native of Riverside, Calif., Rincon's name appears in the Hornet record books multiple times, as he ranks as the school's all-time leader with 34 sacrifice bunts. Rincon also ranks third in school history in at-bats with 651, and seventh in runs scored with 103. One of the top defensive infielders of the Division I era, Rincon had his best year at the plate in 2006, hitting .266 with 13 stolen bases and 11 sacrifice bunts. As a junior in 2005, he was honored as a member of the all-River City Classic team, after hitting .333 in the tournament. In 2002 as a freshman, Rincon became the eighth player in school history to record five or more hits in a game when he went 5-for-6 with four runs scored against Cal Poly.
Matt Wilson (2001-05)
A five-year member of the Hornet program as a player, Matt Wilson started 125 career contests behind the plate, including 53 during his senior season in 2005. A native of Canoga Park, Calif., Wilson shared the team lead in home runs as a senior with six, and ranked second on the team with 28 RBI. A standout defensively behind the plate, Wilson threw out 23 would be base-stealers during the 2005 campaign. In 2003, as a sophomore, Wilson hit .279 with two homers, six doubles and 18 RBI. For his career, Wilson compiled 24 doubles and 14 home runs, scoring 50 runs while driving in 69. He later went on to serve as a volunteer assistant coach with the Hornets for two seasons.
Chris Kinsey (2001-03)
Chris Kinsey proved to be a dominant force in the Hornet lineup as both a pitcher and hitter. As a pitcher, Kinsey appeared in 47 career games including 29 starts while tallying 11 career victories. The Elk Grove, Calif., native threw 202.8 innings, totaling 175 strikeouts, two shutouts and three saves. In 2003, he led the squad in appearances (21), innings pitched (95.1), strikeouts (98) and opponents batting average (.234). His strikeouts placed him sixth in the single-season record book and his 12-strikeout performance against Pacific placed him second in single-game history. At the plate, Kinsey batted .300 in 606 at-bats, cranking out 182 hits, 98 runs, 38 doubles, 30 home runs, and 128 RBI as a first baseman and designated hitter. He ranks in a tie for second in career HR's and doubles, third in career RBI and fourth in hits. Kinsey ranks in a tie for first in the record book in home runs in a game with three and second in single-game RBI with eight. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2003 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, and made it as far as Triple-A.
Jeff Groeger (2001-02)
A two-year member of the Hornet pitching staff after transferring from Santa Ana JC, Jeff Groeger threw 231.1 innings, which ranks as the fifth most in a career in school history. Groeger's first season in 2001 saw the Diamond Bar, Calif. native set a new school single-season record by tossing 122.1 innings. Over 18 starts as a junior, Groeger threw four complete games, which does not include a 9.2 inning no-decision against Long Beach State, which is the fourth longest outing by a Hornet pitcher in school history. Groeger posted a complete-game victory against Stanford as a junior where he did not allow an earned run over nine innings. He came back to throw five complete games in 14 starts as a senior, including three of his last four trips to the mound, which were all victories for the Hornets. He tallied seven wins in 20 appearances, posting a 4.95 ERA while striking out 77 batters in 109 innings. He earned honorable mention all-Big West Conference honors in 2002. Groeger played in the Cincinnati Reds organization for two seasons, and competed in four additional seasons of independent minor league baseball.
Ethan Katz (2004-05)
Ethan Katz competed for two seasons with the Hornets after transferring from East Los Angeles JC, and became one of the top arms in recent memory. He finished his collegiate career at Sacramento State with a 15-14 record, while garnering three victories over top-10 teams. The Los Angeles native was also named to the Division I Independent first team in both 2004 and 2005, and ended his career at Sacramento State with 205.2 innings pitched, cracking the program's top-10. He also sits eighth all-time with 157 career strikeouts. In 2005, the right-hander was Sacramento State's ace, making a team-high 16 starts on the mound. He led the staff in innings pitched (95.2) and strikeouts (67), while finishing the year with a 4.52 ERA and six victories. In Sacramento State's 4-3 upset win over then 10th-ranked Stanford, he threw eight innings and faced two batters in the ninth, allowing just three hits and two runs. Later in the year, Katz pitched seven innings in a 7-4 victory over then fifth-ranked Arizona. As a junior in 2004, Katz went 9-5 with a 4.01 ERA, striking out 90 batters in 110 innings of work. He was selected in the 26th round of the 2005 MLB Draft by the Colorado Rockies.
Michael Penbera (1999-01)
After playing his freshman season at Seton Hall, Michael Penbera transferred to Sacramento State and, in three seasons, became one of the top closers in school history. Penbera had a banner senior year in 2001, collecting 10 saves in 24 appearances, which are tied for the second most in a single-season in school history. He posted a 3.65 ERA as a senior, while holding opponents to a .250 batting average. All told, Penbera totaled 16 saves for his career, which ranks second in the Hornet record books. As a junior, Penbera had one of the most impressive streaks of any Hornet pitcher, as the Fresno, Calif. native did not allow a run for a stretch of 19.1 straight innings. Penbera was a key contributor to the hottest conference start in school history in 2000, earning a win and a save in two games against Long Beach State which moved the Hornets to 6-2 in the Big West and earned the right-hander Big West Pitcher of the Week honors.
Remaining All-Decade Timeline
Friday, July 2 - Men’s Basketball
Monday, July 5 - Women’s Basketball
Wednesday, July 7 - Football
Friday, July 9 - Men’s Golf
Monday, July 12 - Women’s Golf
Wednesday, July 14 - Gymnastics
Friday, July 16 - Rowing
Monday, July 19 - Men’s Soccer
Wednesday, July 21 - Women’s Soccer
Friday, July 23 - Softball
Monday, July 26 - Men’s Tennis
Wednesday, July 28 - Women’s Tennis
Friday, July 30 - Men’s Track and Field/Cross County
Monday, Aug. 2 - Women’s Track and Field/Cross Country
Wednesday, Aug. 4 - Volleyball