BASEBALL HEADS TO GRAND PRAIRIE FOR WAC TOURNAMENT
• For the second consecutive season, the Sacramento State baseball team will be competing in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. The 2013 tourney will take place at QuikTrip Park in Grand Prairie, Texas from May 22-26. The eight-team field is divided into two four-team pools. Each pool will consist of round robin play with the two winners meeting in Sunday's championship to play for the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
• The Hornets will open against UTSA on Wednesday at 9 a.m. PDT. The team will play top-seeded CSU Bakersfield on Thursday at 5 p.m. PDT and San Jose State on Saturday at 9 a.m. PDT.
• Sacramento State enters the week at 33-23 overall and finished WAC play with a 14-13 record. The team was swept by UT Arlington in its most recent series, losing the final two games by one run.
• The Hornets reached the championship game of the 2012 WAC Tournament before losing to Fresno State in the 13th inning.
• An audio broadcast of the game will streamed for free via hornetsports.com with Kyle Madson and Brian Berger calling the action.
• Live stats can be viewed on wacsports.com as well as a video stream which can be purchased.
• Sacramento State is 1-2 all-time against UTSA with each meeting coming this season.
• The Hornets are 2-4 all-time against CSU Bakersfield.
• San Jose State leads the all-time series, 38-23, in the Div. I era.
A LOOK BACK AT THE UTSA SERIES
Sacramento State lost three game series at UTSA, 2-1. The first two games broke the norm for the team and were not close before the third one was decided in the final innings.
On Friday, the Hornets scored first and led 2-0 after the top of the fourth. However, from that point, UTSA scored the final seven runs to win 7-2. The Roadrunners picked up single runs in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh before adding three in the eighth.
Sacramento State had just four hits as a team, including a home run from Justin Higley.
On Saturday, the Hornets' offense awoke and run-ruled UTSA, 12-1, in eight innings. Brennan Leitao allowed singles to the first two batters he faced but allowed only one more for the remainder of the game.
All nine Sacramento State hitters had at least one hit and five players had two or more hits, including a 4-for-5 effort by Nathan Lukes.
The Hornets took charge of Sunday's game early on, leading 4-1 before UTSA tied the game, 5-5, at the end of the sixth inning. The score remained tied until the eighth inning when Daniel Rockett hit a two-out three-run home run for an 8-5 Roadrunner win.
SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS (PART I)
UTSA swept New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech to claim the fourth seed in the tournament. The team is hitting .303 with six regulars hitting above .300. That group is led by RJ Perucki (.354, 10 HR, 40 RBI) and Daniel Rockett (.350, 9 HR, 45 RBI).
The pitching staff owns a 4.55 team ERA. Brock Hartson, who the Hornets will face on Wednesday, is 8-4 with a 3.31 ERA in 14 starts. Matt Sims is the team's closer with eight saves.
A LOOK BACK AT THE CSUB GAME
Sacramento State opened WAC play by winning one of three games against CSU Bakersfield.
The Roadrunners captured the series opener with a 4-2 victory on Friday. The Hornets bounced back with a 5-0 shutout on Saturday. CSUB took the rubber game on Sunday with a 6-3 win in 10 innings.
In the final game, the Hornets led 3-1 in the eighth inning before Bakersfield scored two in that frame to tie the game. Cael Brockmeyer then clubbed a three-run home run in the top of the 10th for the decisive runs.
Brennan Leitao threw seven strong innings as part of four pitchers on Saturday. Leitao scattered nine hits and did not allow a walk in the win.
Friday, the Roadrunners scored three runs in the third inning which proved to be enough.
SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS (PART II)
The top seed in the tournament, CSUB enters after losing two of three at San Jose State last weekend. The Roadrunners are 35-21 overall and tied UT Arlington for the regular season WAC title at 18-9.
Shortstop Tyler Shyrock is the team's leading hitter at .363. Cael Brockmeyer leads CSUB with four home runs at 50 RBIs.
Jeff McKenzie (1.79, 12-2) and Scott Brattvet (2.66, 9-1) highlight a staff that has a 3.48 ERA. Dylan Christensen and Taylor Aikenhead each own five saves.
A LOOK BACK AT THE SJSU SERIES
Sacramento State won its third consecutive series and fifth in its last six by taking two of three games against San Jose State.
The Hornets began the set with a 4-1 win on Friday. Starter Brennan Leitao continued his brilliance against WAC foes, throwing eight innings and allowing five hits and a run. Sacramento State scored two runs in the first and a run in the second to take control of the game.
Saturday, the Hornets squandered a late lead for the first time in over two months as SJSU rallied for an 8-6 victory. The Spartans scored three runs in the ninth off of closer Sutter McLoughlin to even the series.
Sacramento State won the rubber game on Sunday when David Del Grande scored from third on a wild pitch to claim a 3-2 victory.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
San Jose State (17-38, 11-16) claimed the final berth into the tournament by taking two of three at home against CSU Bakersfield.
First baseman Matt Carroll paces the Spartans with a .333 average and 40 RBIs. D.J. Slaton and David Wayne Russo are tied for the team lead with four wins each.
Sacramento State enters this week's tournament with a similar path to last season. In 2012, the Hornets were swept by UNLV during the final weekend of the year but managed to advance to the WAC championship game. The team began the tourney with a 15-5 win over Nevada in eight innings and advanced to the finals with an 8-3 win over Fresno State. The Bulldogs, however, earned the title with a 9-6 win on April 26 and a 4-3 victory in 13 innings the following day.
BACK ON TRACK
Freshman Sutter McLoughlin did not allow his blown save on Saturday against San Jose State to have a lasting effect on him. The closer returned to action at Pacific to record his 17th save of the season. McLoughlin entered with runners on first and second and one out. He struck out the first batter he faced before getting the next hitter to fly out to center.
The Rio Americano HS graduate now has an ERA of 2.36 in his 34.1 innings of work. He ranks third in Div. I this season, trailing only Austin Peay's Tyler Rogers (20) and Oregon's Jimmie Sherfy (20).
His next save will move him ahead of Michael Penbera for sole possession of second on the school career list. The career record of 26 was set by Mike Frame from 1987-89.
Earlier this season, McLoughlin was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Watch List.
BACK ON THE BUMP
Sacramento State will turn the ball over to Brennan Leitao to start the WAC Tournament on Wednesday. The sophomore is coming off a tough start where he was charged for seven runs (four earned) and seven hits in just 1.2 innings.
Despite that off day, Leitao is still the team leader with a 2.79 ERA and an 8-3 record. He's also logged a team best 93.2 innings and has a WHIP of 0.98.
Leitao has been even better in WAC games, logging a 7-2 record with a 2.11 ERA in nine starts.
EXPERIENCE NOT NEEDED
While freshman Sutter McLoughlin may be garnering the national attention, a pair of freshmen have been leading Sacramento State at the plate.
The duo of Chris Lewis and Nathan Lukes have combined for 144 hits, 72 runs, and 77 RBIs during their first active seasons with the team.
Lewis leads all Hornets with a .351 average and is tied for the team lead with 46 RBI. In conference play, he hit .396 with a .439 on-base percentage. Lewis has reached base in all but six games this season and has recorded a pair of 13-game hitting streaks.
Lukes has 70 base hits and his batting .320. The Center HS graduate seems to get his hits in bunches as he leads the team with 23 multi-hit games. Lukes has also been exceptional in right field where he has seven assists.
The previous Hornet freshman record was 62 set by Tim Wheeler in 2007. Wheeler went on to become a first round draft choice of the Colorado Rockies and is currently in Triple-A.