SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Before embarking on a 10-day, nine-game road trip out east Sacramento State (20-18) has a pair of midweek games, playing at San Francisco (22-19) at 2 p.m. Tuesday and hosting Fresno State (19-21) at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday at Raley Field.
On Wednesday the Hornets will be teaming up with the Go4theGoal's Lace up 4 Pediatric Cancer Campaign. The team will be wearing gold jerseys and shoelaces to raise awareness and fans are encouraged to wear gold and spread the word for others to get involved. All proceeds raised will go directly to children in need in the Sacramento community.
Fans are encouraged to use to #LaceUp4Cancer on social media on Wednesday and share photos from the game to Laceup@Go4theGoal.org. Go4theGoal was founded in 2006 to help support children battling cancer and has experience with pediatric cancer to provide their patients with the best practices.
The Sacramento State pitching staff ranks eighth in all of NCAA Div. I with 2.24 walks allowed per nine innings and is 10th with a 1.15 WHIP (walks and hits allowed per inning)...Senior Brennan Leitao, Sacramento State's all-time wins leader, became the fourth player in program history to record 200 career strikeouts in a superb complete game on Friday...The Hornets totaled seven extra-base hits for the second straight Sunday against Bakersfield. The squad has nine homers in the last seven games and now leads the WAC with 20 homers...Junior Nathan Lukes is the only WAC player that has reached base in every game this season. He is now fourth in program history with 215 career hits, just 14 shy of the record...San Francisco has won 11 of its last 12 games and has started 14-4 in the West Coast Conference. Fresno State beat the Hornets 6-2 in March but has lost 10 of its last 14 games.
SAC - Jake Stassi (Sr./LHP, 0-5, 6.87 ERA)
USF - Jeider Rincon (Fr./LHP, 1-5, 7.16 ERA)
SAC - TBA
FS - TBA
Both midweek games will stream live online at HornetSports.com/Radio with Anthony Rifenburg and Dominic Johnson providing the play-by-play call. USF will also provide a live video stream of Tuesday's game on usfdons.com. Live stats for each game are available on hornetsports.com and all game day media links can be found on the baseball schedule page. For more content and game updates follow @hornetsports and @SacStBaseball on twitter and like Sacramento State Athletics and Sacramento State Hornet Baseball Fans on facebook.
San Francisco Dons | All: 22-19 | WCC: 14-4 | Home: 8-4
San Francisco has won 11 of its last 12 games and is off to a blazing 14-4 start to lead the West Coast Conference (WCC). The Dons rank second in the WCC with 54 doubles and have hit 21 home runs while averaging 4.8 runs per game. The team has a 4.22 ERA but has five shutouts, tied for ninth most in the nation. Sophomore Dominic Miroglio, a transfer from UCLA, is hitting .355 with 32 RBIs and the team ranks No. 8 in the nation with 46 sacrifice bunts. The Hornets went 2-1 against the Dons last year but San Francisco has a 31-27 edge in the all-time series. The teams meet just once this season.
Fresno State Bulldogs | All: 19-21 | MWC: 10-8 | Road: 3-16
The Hornets played their first midweek game of the season at Fresno State on March 3. The Bulldogs won that contest 6-2 with freshman PJ Floyd driving in both Hornet runs on a double in the ninth inning and Fresno State getting home runs from Manny Argomaniz and Nick Warren. The Bulldogs defeated No. 8 USC and No. 21 Cal this season but have lost 10 of their last 14 games and have really struggled on the road (3-16). Fresno State is hitting .273 on the year with a 4.47 ERA. Sacramento State beat Fresno State, then ranked No. 24, 2-1 in 10 innings at Raley Field last season.
Swinging Big on Sunday
Sacramento State totaled seven extra base hits for the second consecutive Sunday against CSU Bakersfield and has put up big offensive numbers on Sundays throughout the year. Over their last two Sunday games the Hornets have scored 20 total runs while hitting .412 with five home runs, two triples, and seven doubles slugging .794. In its last four Sunday games, all wins, Sacramento State has hit .358 with eight home runs and scored 10 runs per game, including two mercy rule wins. Hornet pitchers had a 1.36 ERA and allowed just eight runs in those four wins.
The Hornet pitching staff ranks in the top 10 in all of Div. I in both WHIP and walks allowed per nine innings. The team ranks eighth in the nation with just 2.24 walks allowed per nine innings and is 10th in the country with a 1.15 season WHIP (walks and hits allowed per inning). Sacramento State is tied for 23rd in the country with four shutouts and leads the WAC with a 3.23 season ERA.
Nate the Great
Junior Nathan Lukes is the only WAC player that has reached base in all 38 games this year and is believed to be one of just four players in the nation to reach base in every game. He ranks third in the WAC with a .479 on-base percentage and is hitting .377. He is fourth in program history with 215 career hits and is just 14 hits shy of the program hits record held by Aurelio Jackson. He is tied for the program record with nine career triples and is sixth all-time with 121 runs scored.
The Hornets have hit nine home runs over the last seven games and now lead the WAC with 20 homers this season. Two home runs from freshman Vinny Esposito on Sunday moved Sacramento State into the conference lead and he now leads the team and ranks fourth in the league with five round trippers this year. Juniors Chris Lewis and Nathan Lukes have each hit four home runs, with Lewis and Esposito both recording two-homer games.
Long Road Ahead
Sacramento State has just one home series remaining and it's the last three games of the regular season, May 14-16. Prior to that time the team will have just two midweek home games at Raley Field, and after Wednesday's game the squad plays 12 of its next 13 contests on the road. That includes a 10-day excursion out east for three games at North Dakota followed by midweek contests at Iowa and Notre Dame and a three-game set at Chicago State, a total of nine road games over a 10-day period without coming home.
Rely on Ty
Whether starting or pitching out of the bullpen, senior Ty Nichols has been mostly unhittable this season and leads the WAC with a 1.79 earned run average. Nichols, who has made five starts and pitched in relief seven times this year, has allowed just three earned runs over his last 25 innings pitched dating back to the middle of March. He has six scoreless outings this year and has allowed more than one earned run in just two games, having allowed just 40 hits and nine earned runs over 45.1 innings pitched with a .245 opposing batting average.
WHIP it Good
Sacramento State ranks 10th in the NCAA with a 1.15 season WHIP (walks and hits allowed per inning). No other WAC team has a WHIP better then 1.26 as the Hornets are allowing just slightly more than one baserunner per inning. TCU leads the nation with a 0.98 WHIP as the only team in Div. I with a WHIP under one.
Sacramento State has had multiple extra-base hits in six of its last eight games. In WAC play the squad is averaging 2.7 extra-base hits per game. Sacramento State has had a double, triple, and home run in a game five times this year, all since March 20, and had a season-high seven extra base hits on the last two Sundays.
On Friday senior right-handed pitcher Brennan Leitao became just the fourth pitcher in program history to record 200 career strikeouts in a masterful complete game performance allowing just one run on five hits with seven strikeouts. Among all active NCAA Div. I pitchers Leitao is second in career starts (55) and innings pitched (363.0) and is tied for third in career wins (27). He was named to the 2015 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American Third Team selected by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and is Sacramento State's all-time leader in career wins and innings pitched.
Hornet pitchers have allowed just 31 walks while totaling 85 strikeouts in 15 WAC games. The staff has permitted one walk or fewer in eight WAC games and is seventh in NCAA Div. I allowing just 2.24 walks per nine innings for the season. The pitchers have permitted one walk or fewer in 22 games this year, including seven walk-free games. Junior Tyler Beardsley has allowed just one walk with nine strikeouts over 21.2 innings out of the bullpen, good for 41st in the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Rally to Raley
The Hornets went 5-1 at Raley Field last season, including wins over No. 4 Oregon State and No. 24 Fresno State. In the five wins at Raley, the home of the Sacramento River Cats, the Hornets hit .323 with a 2.93 ERA. Prior to the six-game Raley Field slate last season - which was originally seven games before a rainout - Sacramento State had played there just five times ever. The squad is now 7-5 all-time at Raley Field with three wins over ranked teams and has two more Raley games over the next three weeks.
Through 15 conference games Sacramento State is outhitting the opposition .264 - .240 had has a 3.34 earned run average compared to a 4.51 ERA for its opponents. The squad is scoring 5.1 runs per game in conference play with two 10-run mercy rule wins and four Hornets are hitting better than .300 in league play.
The Supreme Closer
Sacramento State junior closer Sutter McLoughlin has broken the WAC record of 29 career saves, set by former Louisiana Tech closer Caleb Dudley, and now has 31 saves in his historic career, tied for the fifth most among all active Div. I pitchers. After missing the first month of this season due to shoulder trouble, McLoughlin has been as dominant as ever in his five save appearances this year, not allowing a single base runner and needing just 38 total pitches for five saves (4.2 IP). He was a preseason all-WAC selection this year after earning all-WAC second team honors last year and being named to the NCBWA Midseason Stopper of the Year watch list last April.
The Earlier The Better
Sacramento State is 18-1 when leading after seven innings this season and 0-15 when trailing (2-2 when tied). The Hornets are also 10-0 when leading after the first inning this year but 0-13 when trailing after three innings. In 2014 the team was 31-2 when leading after six innings and 3-20 when trailing (6-2 when tied).
Sacramento State is hitting .333 this year with the bases loaded, going 10-for-30 in those at-bats. Conversely, Hornet pitchers have allowed just 11 opposing at-bats with the bases loaded and have permitted just two hits for a .182 opponent average.
Sophomore catcher Gunner Pollman has moved into a starting role this year and is living up to his name. He leads the WAC with 24 runners caught stealing, 10 more than any other conference catcher has totaled. He ranks sixth in the NCAA with a .462 caught stealing percentage and has been named to the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award, an honor presented annually to the top catcher in NCAA Div. I baseball.
Senior shortstop Scotty Burcham is the only Hornet that has started every game this season at the same position and leads by example both in the field and at the plate. He has 113 assists, 60 putouts, and just five errors this season defensively for a .972 fielding percentage, playing every pitch of the season. At the plate he has primarily hit second in the batting order and is hitting .315 and is tied for third in the WAC and leads the team with 32 runs scored. He now ranks ninth in program history with 201 career hits and is seventh with 116 runs scored.