SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Following a four-game split with Utah in its first series of the 2014 season, Sacramento State (2-2) heads out on the road this week with a single game Wednesday at Fresno State (2-1) and a three-game weekend set at No. 21 Texas A&M.
Sacramento State split a season opening four-game series with Utah in which all games were decided by a single run and the teams were nearly even in batting average...The Hornets return seven starting position players, three starting pitchers, and their closer with three All-WAC selections coming back after the team went 34-25 in 2013...The 2013 squad set single-season records in opponent batting average (.255) and shutouts (9) while closer Sutter McLoughlin shattered the school record with 17 saves...McLoughlin, who earned a save vs. Utah on Friday, is one of three former Freshman All-Americans on the roster along with sophomore Chris Lewis and junior Rhys Hoskins...The NCBWA selected McLoughlin as a 2014 third team Preseason All-American while Baseball America named Hoskins to its Preseason All-America third team.
All three games of the Texas A&M series will have a free live radio broadcast available at HornetSports.com/Radio with Andrew Tomsky providing the play-by-play. Live stats for all three games as well as the game at Fresno State and all multimedia links can be found on the baseball schedule page. For more content and updates like Sacramento State Athletics on facebook and follow @hornetsports, @SacStBaseball, and #WACbsb on twitter.
Sacramento State and Utah alternated one-run wins over their four game series, with the Hornets winning the season opener on Friday and getting a walk-off win on Sunday. In the series the teams had the same number of runs and RBIs (13), errors (3), wild pitches (6), assists (39), and sacrifice flies (2). The Hornets hit .254 and had 32 hits and nine walks while Utah hit .256 and had 33 hits and 10 walks in a remarkably even series.
The Hornet bullpen combined for a 1.93 ERA over 14 innings pitched in the Utah series. Sophomore closer Sutter McLoughlin earned a win and a save in the series, allowing just two base runners while striking out five over two innings while junior transfer Alex Palsha allowed just one hit with no walks over four innings. Freshmen Julian Barron and Sterling Humphry also combined to throw 5.1 innings of scoreless ball as the pen struck out 12 with just three walks and 11 hits allowed.
Off to a Swinging Start
Sophomore right fielder Nathan Lukes and freshman second baseman Brandon Hunley both hit better than .450 over the Hornets first series of the year. Lukes had a two-hit game on Friday and a four-hit game on Sunday, hitting .467 with 2 RBIs and 3 runs. He went 7-for-15 with two walks for the week, totaling seven singles and seven strikeouts over 15 official at-bats. Hunley, who graduated high school early in the fall and enrolled at Sacramento State less than two months ago, started the final two games of the series and went 5-for-8 (.625) with an RBI and a run.
Scouting Fresno State (2-1)
Fresno State won 2 of 3 in its season-opening series at UC Irvine, winning in extra innings in each of the first two games and losing 1-0 in the finale. The Bulldogs will open their home schedule hosting another WAC school on Tuesday in a 6:35 start against Grand Canyon. Fresno State, which won the College World Series in 2008, went 23-33 last year but returned six starting position players and three starting pitchers. Sacramento State and Fresno State played together in the WAC from 2006-2012 and the Bulldogs hold a 54-17 all-time advantage including a 3-2 win last season at Raley Field.
Scouting Texas A&M (3-0)
Texas A&M holds a #21 ranking in the NCBWA poll and swept Northeastern at home last weekend while outscoring the visitors 22-4. The Aggies will also host Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday before the weekend series with the Hornets. Texas A&M went 34-29 last season, including a 23-10 home record, and advanced to the NCAA regional round. The Aggies return 17 lettermen from 2013, including seven starting position players and four starting pitchers. The Hornets and Aggies have never before met on the baseball diamond.