BASEBALL BEGINS WAC PLAY AT HOME AGAINST CSU BAKERSFIELD ON FRIDAY
• Sacramento State opens a four-game homestand and Western Athletic Conference play on Friday with a three-game set against CSU Bakersfield at John Smith Field.
• Following the CSU Bakersfield series, the Hornets will face Fresno State on Tuesday, March 26, at Raley Field at 6 p.m. The game against the Bulldogs will mark the first time that Sacramento State has played at Raley Field since 2002.
• Sacramento State has won seven of its last 10 games, including a 9-7 come-from-behind win at Saint Mary's on Tuesday. The victory has improved the Hornets to 12-8 overall which matches the program's best start in the school's Div. I era.
• CSU Bakersfield is off to a 15-6 and most recently won at Cal State Northridge on Tuesday, 5-3. The Roadrunners swept Northern Colorado in a four-game series over the weekend.
• All Sacramento State baseball home games, and selected road games, can be heard for free on hornetsports.com with Nate Goodyear and Kyle Madson combining for the action. Each broadcast begins approximately five minutes before the scheduled first pitch.
• Live stats for all home games will also be available on hornetsports.com
• The Hornets and Roadrunners met for the first time last season in Bakersfield where CSUB was able to capture two of three games. Sacramento State's lone win came in game one of the series, 2-0.
Below is a look at how Sacramento State stacks up against this weekend's opponent in overall statistics.
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A LOOK BACK
Sacramento State has split its last four games, dropping the first two contests at UC Santa Barbara before winning the finale as well as Tuesday's game at Saint Mary's.
On Friday, Austin Pettibone allowed just four hits in a 5-0 shutout for the Gauchos. The sophomore struck out four and did not allow a walk.
Saturday, the Hornets rallied to tie the game after trailing 4-0 but an unearned run in the eighth proved to be the winner for UCSB.
The Hornets exploded for eight runs in the first inning and cruised to a 13-7 victory on Sunday. Chris Lewis (four RBI) and Justin Higley each provided three hits in the victory.
On Tuesday, Sacramento State scored the final six runs of the game en route to a 9-7 win at Saint Mary's.
A LOOK AHEAD
After the three-game set with CSU Bakersfield, Sacramento State will welcome Fresno State for a midweek game on Tuesday, March 26, at Raley Field. The game will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Parking is free.
The Hornets and Bulldogs met in last season's WAC Tournament championship game. Fresno State departed the WAC for the Mountain West Conference. The two teams were slated to meet on Feb. 19 in Fresno but the game was rained out.
AGAINST CSU BAKERSFIELD
Sacramento State and CSU Bakersfield met for the first time in 2012. The Hornets won the first game of the series, 2-0, behind a complete-game, five-hit, seven-strikeout performance from Tanner Mendonca.
Bakersfield came back to win the series with an 11-4 win on Saturday and a 5-2 victory on Sunday.
SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS
Like Sacramento State, CSU Bakersfield has also won seven of its last 10 games. The Roadrunners are on a five-game winning streak which dates back to March 15. CSUB swept Northern Colorado in a four-game series, outscoring the Bears, 29-4, during the set.
The team features one of the top pitching staffs in Div. I, owning a team ERA of 2.60 which ranks 20th nationally. Jeff McKenzie is the reigning WAC Pitcher of the Week after earning his second shutout of the year. The lefty is 4-1 with a 1.46 ERA with 29 strikeouts and 10 walks. Scott Brattvet (4-1, 1.91), Jonathan Montoya (3-1, 1.47) and Taylor Aikenhead (3-2, 2.93) all have added at least three wins. Dylan Christensen has been the team's closer with four saves.
Offensively, the 'Runners are hitting .311 and rank eighth with 12 triples. Tyler Shyrock leads the team with a .402 average and Christensen, who plays first base, ranks second at .360.
Cael Brockmeyer is the top power threat with a team-high three triples and two home runs.
Friday marks Sacramento State's 21st game of 2013. Through 20 games, the Hornets are 12-8 and have won seven of their last 10.
The 12-8 mark ties the team for the best start to a year in the last 20 seasons. The Hornets were also 12-8 in 2009 (finished 27-27) and 2001 (24-35).
The hottest start in the Div. I era came in 1993 where Sacramento State opened 16-4 and finished the year 36-22.
LET'S GO STREAKING
Justin Higley has been a key component during the team's recent success as the junior leads the Hornets with a .400 average over the last 10 games. Higley is 16-for-40 with seven doubles, a triple and two home runs during the span. He's also scored nine runs and driven in nine.
As a team, Sacramento State is hitting .309 with six starters owning an average of .310 or better. Not only have the Hornets hit for average, the team also has a .466 slugging percentage and has hit seven home runs during the stretch.
On the mound, Sacramento State has a 3.89 ERA over the last 10 games compared to a 7.01 mark by the opposition. Ty Nichols is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and Hunter Greenwood owns a 0.78 ERA in 12.0 innings of work.
EIGHT IS ENOUGH
Sacramento State has scored eight runs in an inning twice this season. The first outburst came in a 10-0 win at Saint Mary's where the Hornets plated eight runs in the sixth inning. Most recently, Sacramento State matched that total in the first inning at UCSB on Sunday.
The big inning is nothing new to the team as the Hornets have scored four or more runs in an inning in seven games this season, including two at UC Davis on March 5. The team has scored 3-plus runs in 13 innings this season.
Conversely, opposing teams have only had four innings with at least four runs. However, three of those occurrences have come in the last three games.