SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State baseball team will play host to former Western Athletic Conference rival Nevada on Tuesday afternoon at John Smith Field.
The Hornets (3-4) will meet the Wolf Pack (5-3) at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. A pair of left-handers will be on the mound to start with Sacramento State starting senior LHP Tyler Hoelzen (0-0, 6.75) against Nevada sophomore LHP Barry Timko (0-0, 16.20).
SACRAMENTO STATE BREAKDOWN
Team BA: .255 Team ERA: 4.28 Errors: 5
All-time series: The Hornets are 23-50 against Nevada in the Div. I era (1990+)
Notable: Sacramento State is coming off a four-game series split versus UC Riverside. The Hornets took game one of a doubleheader on Saturday and the final game of the set on Sunday. Redshirt freshman C Dane Fujinaka hit a team-best .385 in the series (5-for-13) while SS Scotty Burcham paced the squad with four RBIs. One of which was a game-winning walk-off squeeze bunt on Saturday to drive in 3B Will Soto from third for a 4-3 victory. The Hornets were the beneficiary of some sloppy defense in their Sunday win, as they scored five unearned runs on six UC Riverside errors in a 7-4 victory. Sacramento State hit .263 in the series while limiting UC Riverside to a .228 team batting average. Starting pitcher RHP Tanner Mendonca took a loss in the opening game of the series but it was hardly his fault. The junior allowed just two runs on five hits in eight innings with six strikeouts and four walks but UC Riverside starter LHP Dylan Stuart recorded a complete game in the Highlanders' 2-1 win.
Team BA: .297 Team ERA: 5.01 Errors: 4
Notable: Nevada opened up the 2013 season with a split of a four-game series against Kansas in Mesa, Ariz., at Hohokam Stadium, the site of last season's WAC Tournament. Sacramento State head coach Reggie Christiansen was an assistant at Kansas for two seasons (2003-04). Last weekend the Wolf Pack hosted Northern Illinois in a four-game series, and won three games, including a 13-0 shutout on Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader. Kewby Meyer and Brooks Klein have shined for the Wolf Pack, with each posting a .580+ slugging percentage. Meyer leads the team with two home runs whlie Klein has two doubles and two triples amongst his team-high 12 total hits this year.
LAST YEAR VS. NEVADA
Last year Sacramento State shared the Western Athletic Conference regular season title with Nevada and New Mexico State, as all three teams went 11-7 in league play. The last meeting between the two teams was in the WAC Tournament, when the Hornets run-ruled the Wolf Pack, 15-5, in eight innings. Sacramento State saw eight different players record at least two hits, while Will Soto led the team with his 3-for-4 performance with three runs and two RBIs. 2B Andrew Ayers tripled and OF Justin Higley hit a two-run homer in the Hornets' three-run sixth inning. The Hornets also posted three runs in the seventh before finishing the game with a five-run eighth inning. Sacramento State was down, 3-2, heading to the bottom of the fourth and the Hornets answered with at least one run in each of the last five frames. Tyler Hoelzen, who is scheduled to start on Tuesday, tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless two-hit baseball in relief that game.
Sacramento State is in the midst of its longest homestand of the season. The Hornets' Tuesday game against Nevada will be the fifth in an eight-game homestand. It wraps up this weekend with a three-game series against Utah Valley. Sacramento State will head to rival UC Davis on March 5 before coming back to John Smith Field for a three-game series against Cal State Northridge. In fact, the Hornets will not leave Northern California until a three-game series at UC Santa Barbara from March 15-17.
LUKES' HOT START
So far this season, freshman OF Nathan Lukes leads the Hornets with a .345 batting average. The Antelope, Calif., native has hit leadoff in all seven games this year. Lukes has a team-high 10 hits to go with a team-best seven runs scored. He also leads the team with a .406 on-base percentage and is 2-for-2 on stolen base attempts.
Second baseman Andrew Ayers, the reigning WAC MVP, will serve the final game of his four-game suspension for fighting on Tuesday against Nevada. He will return for the Hornets' three-game series with Utah Valley starting at 2 p.m. on Friday at John Smith Field.