BASEBALL HOSTS TEXAS STATE FOR WAC SERIES
• After splitting a pair of midweek games, the Sacramento State baseball team returns to Western Athletic Conference play to host Texas State in a three-game series at John Smith Field. The series begins on Friday at 3 p.m. followed by a 1 p.m. game on Saturday and a noon start on Sunday.
• This weekend marks the third consecutive against one of the WAC's new teams. The Hornets went 1-2 against both CSU Bakersfield and Dallas Baptist in their first two conference series.
• Following the split against UC Davis (W, 6-4) and San Francisco (L, 8-4), Sacramento State stands at 15-14 overall and 2-4 in WAC games. The team has been at .500 or better since winning at UC Davis on March 5.
• After beginning the season 7-12, Texas State (12-16) began conference play with a 12-6 loss at New Mexico State. The Bobcats have since won five straight WAC games and share first place in the conference with a 5-1 record. Included in that streak were two wins at NMSU and a home sweep of Seattle.
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.
This is the first meeting between the two schools.
A LOOK BACK AT UCD GAME
Nathan Lukes went 3-for-4 and Sacramento State overcame a three-run deficit to defeat UC Davis, 6-4, on Tuesday at John Smith Field. The victory was the second by the Hornets this season over the Aggies in the ScholarShare Causeway series.
After UC Davis claimed a 3-0 lead in the second inning, Sacramento State tied the game with a three runs of its own in the third. The inning was highlighted by a triple from Chris Lewis which scored two runs.
The Hornets took their first lead of the contest in the sixth inning with a bases loaded walk by Dane Fujinaka. However, UCD countered with a run in the seventh to tie the game, 4-4.
Sacramento State secured the win with a pair of runs in the eighth. The first came in on a bunt from Fujinaka with the bases loaded.
A LOOK BACK AT USF GAME
Uncharacteristically sloppy defense led to four unearned runs as Sacramento State fell to San Francisco, 8-4, in a non-league game on Wednesday at John Smith Field.
The Hornets (15-14) committed two errors in the sixth inning where the Dons (14-14) scored four runs and a third error in the seventh resulted in another run. Sacramento State entered the game with a fielding percentage of .982 which ranked sixth among the 297 NCAA Div. I teams.
San Francisco used nine pitchers in the game who combined to allow 10 hits but did not allow a walk. Starter Christian Cecilio was the lone Don to throw more than one inning and improved to 3-0 in the controlled start.
Zach Morgan (2-2) took the loss for the Hornets after lasting 6.1 innings and allowing seven runs (four earned) on six hits and four walks.
A LOOK AHEAD
Sacramento State will host Simpson in a recently-added game on Tuesday at 2 p.m. The game against the Redhawks will be the only non-Div. I team that the Hornets will play all season.
Sacramento State will then travel to New Mexico State for a three-game set against the Aggies.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS
After a slow start to the season, Texas State has caught fire in WAC play and leads the league with a 5-1 record. The Bobcats have had trouble away from home, posting a 2-9 mark in 2013.
Outfielder Kevin Sah enters the weekend riding an a team season long eight-game hit streak. Once on base, Sah is a threat to run as he leads the WAC with 11 stolen bases.
Sophomore Cody Lovejoy is the team's top hitter with a .350 average.
The trio of Taylor Black, Scott Grist and Kyle Finnegan, who are slated to start this weekend, have each made seven starts on the mound this year.
Chris Lewis dominated opposing pitching last week, hitting .500 (7-14) in four games. Lewis' streak included a home run in the game on Saturday. He also walked twice during the week and had an on-base percentage of .563.
The redshirt freshman now leads the team with a .318 average and 23 RBIs. Lewis also owns a team-high seven multi-RBI games, including the lone four RBI performance this season. His nine multi-hit games are tied for second on the team.
Lewis has reached base in all but two games this season, including the last 20. He also is in the midst of a six-game hit streak which is the longest active on the team.
A MEMORABLE FIRST TIME
Dane Fujinaka will always remember his first collegiate stolen base. On Saturday at Dallas Baptist, the redshirt freshman catcher doubled past the diving first baseman and took third on the throw to the plate. With the pitcher working out of the wind up, Fujinaka broke for the plate and, with some fancy handwork, avoided the tag for a straight steal of home.
Fujinaka, who has started every game at catcher this season, also had a solid week at the plate, hitting .333 with a double and three RBIs.
With five games on the docket this week, the Hornet bullpen could see frequent work. Over the last few weeks, that bullpen has transformed into a three-man rotation comprised of right-hander Brandon Creel, left-hander Tyler Hoelzen and closer Sutter McLoughlin.
Creel has appeared in 15 games and now has 73 career appearances. The senior has an ERA of 2.77 in 26.0 innings of work this season.
Hoelzen leads the team with 17 appearances, including one midweek start. The lefty has held opponents to a .246 batting average has a 3.24 ERA with his 1-1 overall record.
McLoughlin has thrown 17.0 innings in his 13 appearance and leads the team with five saves.
Head coach Reggie Christiansen has not been shy of using weekend starters in relief during the week as Tanner Mendonca, Ty Nichols and Brennan Leitao have combined for four relief appearances.
GETTING AROUND THE BASES
Junior Justin Higley has showcased his unusual combination of speed and power in 2013. Higley owns a team high two triples and three home runs. His three-run home run in the eighth inning on Saturday at Dallas Baptist helped secure the team's 11-7 victory over the Patriots.
On Friday, Higley picked up his second triple of the year and his eighth three-bagger of his career. That career total brings him into a tie for third in school history and places him just one off the career total of Lashelle Tarver and Bob Crump.
Tarver's career total is even more impressive when you consider that all nine came during the 1980 season. He went on to play with the Boston Red Sox.
• Burcham has reached base safely in 16 straight games.
• After allowing only two home runs through the first 24 games of the season, the Hornets surrendered six in the three games at Dallas Baptist.
• Sophomore Rhys Hoskins picked up his 100th career hit at Dallas Baptist.
• CSU Bakersfield, Seattle, Texas State, UTSA, UT Arlington and Dallas Baptist are all in their debut season in the WAC.