BASEBALL RETURNS TO TEXAS TO PLAY UTSA IN WAC SERIES
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• One of the hottest teams in the Western Athletic Conference, the Sacramento State baseball team will look to continue its recent surge when it plays a three-game series at UTSA beginning on Friday. The first game of the series will take place at 4 p.m. PT. Saturday night's contest will begin at noon and the series will wrap up on Sunday at 10 a.m.
• The Hornets have won eight of their last 10 games after taking three of four last week. In the most recent action, Sacramento State took two of three at New Mexico State to improve its overall record to 21-15 and its conference mark to 7-5.
• After never playing a game in the state of Texas prior to 2013, this weekend will mark the third trip of the year to the Lone Star State. The Hornets opened the season at Texas and have also played at Dallas Baptist. The team is hoping for a fourth trip as it would mean a return trip to the WAC Tournament which will be held in Grand Prairie, Texas.
• An audio broadcast of all three games of the series will streamed for free via goutsa.com with Glynne Collenback and Ed Suarez calling the action.
• Live stats for all games can be also viewed on goutsa.com.
• This will be the first meeting between the two teams.
• UTSA is the fourth of five new opponents the Hornets will be facing in 2013. The team has gone 5-4 in games against Texas, Dallas Baptist and Texas State.
Below is a look at how Sacramento State stacks up against this weekend's opponent in overall statistics.
|Last 10 Game||8-2||5-5|
A LOOK BACK AT THE NMSU SERIES
Sacramento State won its second consecutive conference series by taking two of three at New Mexico State. In a hitter friendly ballpark, the Hornet pitchers combined to limit the Aggies to 13 runs over the three games.
On Friday, Tanner Rust's bases-loaded single in the ninth inning drove in the winning run for NMSU in a 5-4 decision. Sacramento State took an early 3-0 lead behind Justin Higley's home run but saw the Aggies score three unearned runs to take a 4-3 lead into the ninth.
The Hornets tied the game in the top of the ninth when Higley scored on a David Del Grande single.
Sacramento State's offense came alive in a 16-4 run-ruled game on Saturday. The Hornets pounded out 18 hits, including 11 from the top four of the lineup to record for the convincing victory.
Nathan Lukes, Rhys Hoskins and Chris Lewis each had three hits and Andrew Ayers, Will Soto, Scotty Burcham and Dane Fujinaka each had two. Included in Hoskins' efforts were a double and home run.
Starter Brennan Leitao improved to 4-2 with the win. The sophomore threw 5.2 innings and allowed three runs and seven hits.
Sacramento State recorded its first series victory in Las Cruces, N.M., since 2007 after winning 6-4. The Hornets scored four runs in the seventh inning to pull away. Three of those runs came in on a bases-loaded triple by Lukes.
Five Hornet pitchers combined for the victory which was capped by two perfect innings from freshman Sutter McLoughlin for his ninth save.
A LOOK AHEAD
Sacramento State will play five games next week beginning with a home game against Saint Mary's on Tuesday at 3 p.m. The team will play at USF on Wednesday (3 p.m.) before hosting Louisiana Tech for a three-game WAC series which runs from Friday-Sunday.
SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS
The best hitting team in the WAC, UTSA enters the weekend with a 19-17 overall record and a 4-7 record in league games.
The Roadrunners are hitting .315 as a team and are the only team in the WAC to hit above .300. Individually, Daniel Rockett leads the WAC with a .402 average. Rockett is also second in slugging (.686).
The UTSA pitching staff has a combined ERA of 4.94 which ranks seventh in the league. Jordan Pacheco has a 7-1 record in 16 appearances (two starts). Brock Hartson's 3.68 ERA is the lowest among the team's starters.
UTSA has lost its last four games beginning with a sweep at CSU Bakersfield. The Roadrunners also lost 4-0 at Lamar on Tuesday.
Sacramento State has turned to the young players on its team to spark its recent streak. Freshmen Chris Lewis and Nathan Lukes and sophomore Rhys Hoskins have been the team's top three hitters over the last 10 games in which the Hornets are 8-2.
Lewis is hitting .526 during that span going 20-for-38 with two doubles and triple, a home run, 15 RBIs and 10 runs scored. The redshirt freshman also has a slugging percentage of .711 and an on-base percentage of .548.
Lewis enters the weekend riding a team-best 13-game hitting streak which trails only UTSA's John Welborn (14 games) for the longest active streak in the WAC. This streak is Lewis' second 13-game streak of the year. He has hit safely in 26 of the last 27 games and has reached base safely in all 27 contests. His .365 batting average ranks fifth among all players in the WAC while his .444 clip in league games is tied for the WAC high with UTSA's RJ Perucki.
Lukes, a true freshman from Antelope, Calif., has moved above .300 (.302) after hitting .436 over the last 10 games. Lukes also has six doubles, two triples and a home run on the year. He also leads the team with four outfield assists.
Hoskins, last season's WAC Freshman of the Year, began slowly but has picked up his pace over the last 10 games as he's hitting .368. The sophomore clubbed his second home run of the year on Saturday in the team's 16-4 victory.
McLOUGHLIN CLOSES IT OUT
Another freshman who's made an immediate impact is reliever Sutter McLoughlin. The Sacramento native won the closer role during the fall and has responded with a WAC leading nine saves this year. That total places McLoughlin 11th in NCAA Div. I and ties him for the most by a freshman in the country.
A week after recording four saves in as many chances, McLoughlin converted his only chance at New Mexico State. In Sunday's game, he faced just six batters in two innings of work, striking out three.
McLoughlin now ranks third in school single season history and is only one off the Div. I era record of 10 set by Michael Penbera in 2001. Mike Frame holds the overall record with 11 in 1989. Frame also had 10 in 1988.
• The Hornets' nine primary starters have accounted for 96.6 percent (1192-1234) of the team at-bats this season.
• The team ranks eighth in Div. I this season with a .980 fielding percentage.
• 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.
• The team's shutouts against Texas State and Simpson marked the first back-to-back blankings in the Div. I era (1990-present).
• Pitchers Justin Dillon and Dallas Chadwick and first baseman Clay Cederquist will all miss the season due to elbow surgery.
• The team is 18-0 win leading after eight innings but 0-12 when trailing entering the ninth.
• Sacramento State is 9-2 in games in which it hits a home run.
• CSU Bakersfield, Seattle, Texas State, UTSA, UT Arlington and Dallas Baptist are all in their debut season in the WAC.