SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Riding the longest active winning streak in all of NCAA Div. I, Sacramento State (20-11, 9-0 WAC) begins a five-game road stretch at 6 p.m. Tuesday night at Pacific (14-19, 5-7 WCC).
The game will be the second meeting of the season between the teams after the Hornets began their current winning streak with a 4-2 victory over the Tigers on March 18 at Raley Field. The Hornets received votes in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) national poll for the first time on Monday.
The First Pitch
Sacramento State's 12-game winning streak is the second longest in program history, just shy of a 16-game streak in 1992, and is the longest active winning streak in NCAA Div. I...During the winning streak the Hornets are hitting .327 with 14 home runs and are averaging 8.5 runs per game with a 1.83 ERA while holding opponents to just 2.2 runs per game...Sacramento State is averaging 9.2 runs per game through nine WAC games, hitting .346 with 12 homers, and the pitchers have a 1.78 ERA and allowing 2.2 runs/game...The Hornets are 6-0 in midweek games so far this season, hitting .283 and averaging 5.7 runs per game with a 2.13 ERA, though five of the six games have been at home...A 4-2 home win over Pacific on Mar. 18 was the first victory in the Hornets 12-game winning streak, while the Tigers have gone 4-6 since then and are 8-8 on the year at home.
SAC - Dallas Chadwick (RJr./RHP, 0-1, 8.44 ERA)
PAC - Michael Benson (Jr./RHP, 0-4, 9.53 ERA)
Sacramento State's current 12-game winning streak is the second longest in program history, just four wins shy of a 16-game winning streak during the 1992 season. It is also the longest active streak in NCAA Div. I while the second longest active streak is 10 by Penn. No. 4 South Carolina has recorded the longest winning streak of the season as it won its first 16 games of the year. Over the last 12 games the Hornets are hitting .327 with 14 home runs and are averaging 8.5 runs per game. The Hornet pitchers have combined for a 1.83 ERA while holding opponents to a .204 batting average and just 2.2 runs per game, while defensively the team has a .978 fielding percentage. Four Hornets are hitting better than .350 during the streak, led by a .458 average (22-for-48) and 22 RBIs from junior Rhys Hoskins.
Scouting Pacific (14-19, 5-7 WCC)
The Hornets and the Tigers meet for the second time this season after Sacramento State scored a 4-2 win on March 18 at Raley Field. Hornet redshirt freshman Ryan Locke delivered a pinch hit, bases loaded two-run double in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 deadlock and lead Sacramento State to the win. The game was the first win of Sacramento State's current 12-game winning streak, while the Tigers have gone 4-6 since the teams last met. Pacific did pick up an 11-7 win over BYU in its last game to avoid a road sweep and improve to 5-7 in West Coast Conference (WCC) play. Brothers Brett and Tyler Sullivan continue to lead the Tigers offensively and are the only Pacific starters hitting above .300, with Brett hitting .393 with three home runs and 24 RBIs. The pair are the sons of Mike Sullivan, a former Sacramento State quarterback that ranks fourth in program history in career passing yards and touchdowns. The Hornets are 39-30 all-time against Pacific including a win in Stockton last year.
Enveloped in the 12 game winning streak is a 9-0 start to WAC play for the Hornets. Five of the nine wins have been by seven runs or more, including three games that ended after the seventh inning due to the 10-run mercy rule. So far in WAC play the Hornets are hitting a robust .346 with 12 home runs and 78 RBIs, averaging 9.2 runs per game with a .525 slugging percentage and .430 on-base percentage. Seven Hornet starters are hitting .300 or better in conference games with three players hitting better than .420, led by an incredible .528 average (19-for-36) with 20 RBIs, a 1.056 slugging percentage, and a .578 on-base percentage from Rhys Hoskins. Hornet pitchers have a 1.78 ERA in conference play with a .217 opponent batting average. Freshman Sam Long has allowed just 10 hits and two runs through 17.0 innings and the team has only allowed 19 total runs in the nine games.
Lets Play 15
Sacramento State played its longest game in program history on Saturday, beating Seattle U 4-3 in 15 innings. The game was one inning longer than the previous team record long game of 14 innings played against UT- San Antonio last season at the WAC Tournament. Neither team scored a run over nine full innings of play until a walk-off RBI single from Brandon Hunley, and the Hornets went 10 innings between scoring runs. The four hour and 13 minute marathon saw Seattle U strand 19 runners on base and the Hornets leave 15 on base. The teams combined to throw 429 pitches in the game, 237 of which came from the Hornets, and offensively combined to hit just 20-of-101 (.198) for the game.
Sacramento State is 6-0 in midweek games so far this season behind solid pitching and timely hitting. The squad is hitting .283 in midweek games with a 2.13 ERA while averaging 5.7 runs per game. Four of the six midweek wins have come at Raley Field, the home of the Sacramento Rivercats, and five of the wins have been at home.
They've Got The Power
The Hornets have hit 14 home runs over the last 11 games after hitting just four homers through the first 20 games of the year. Junior Rhys Hoskins and freshman Brandon Hunley are tied for the WAC lead with five home runs apiece and David Del Grande has hit three. Hunley and senior Will Soto each hit grand slams on March 30 at New Mexico State, a game in which the Hornets totaled five home runs.
Delivering in the Clutch
As a team Sacramento State is hitting .308 this season with runners in scoring position while. David Del Grande, the team's no. 3 hitter, is 17-for-35 (.486) with men in scoring position, cleanup hitter Rhys Hoskins is hitting .353, and freshman Brandon Hunley (.341) and senior Will Soto (.333) have also been clutch in those spots. Conversely, Hornet opponents are hitting just .225 off of Sacramento State pitching with runners in scoring position this season.
Junior Rhys Hoskins has hit cleanup in 20 games this season and leads the WAC in batting average (.378) and slugging percentage (.633), is tied for the WAC lead in home runs (5) and doubles (20) and is tied for second in the conference with 26 RBIs. Hoskins had a monster weekend at New Mexico State, hitting 8-for-12 with three home runs and12 RBIs. Overall that week Hoskins hit .563 (9-for-16) with six runs, 12 RBIs, three doubles, three home runs and four walks and was subsequently named the WAC Hitter of the Week. He kept it going last week hitting .389 with four RBIs.
The Earlier The Better
Sacramento State's success this season has been tied to its ability to build an early lead, as the team is 17-0 on the year when leading after six innings and 0-10 when trailing (3-1 when tied). The Hornets are also 17-2 when scoring the first run of the game but 3-9 when the opponent scores first.
Junior Alex Palsha leads the WAC with 19 appearances this season, pitching in a variety of mid to late-game situations and being mostly unhittable. He is 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA over 31.1 innings of relief, allowing just 19 hits and six earned runs this season. The team has not played more than two consecutive contests without Palsha taking the mound and he has thrown as many as three innings on two occasions.