SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State baseball team (8-6) begins a 13 game homestand - the longest in the Div. I history of the program - facing Rocklin based William Jessup (2-17) at 3 p.m. Tuesday at John Smith Field.
- Sacramento State will play 13 games at home over 19 days starting on Tuesday against William Jessup. Weather permitting, the homestand will be the longest in the Div. I era of the program.
- Due to weather, the Hornets played just one of their first 14 games of the year at John Smith Field. Sacramento State was 45-19 at their on-campus home over the last two seasons at The John.
- Sacramento State was swept in a non-conference series for the first time since 2012, but at 8-6 the team still has a better record through 14 games than in its 2012 and 2014 WAC champion seasons.
- New Hornet closer Tyler Beardsley has not allowed a run in 11.2 innings pitched. He earned the win at LSU and has a WAC-high four saves, allowing only four hits with a .118 opposing average.
- William Jessup, located in Rocklin, is fielding a baseball team for just the second season. The Hornets beat the Warriors last year and so far this year William Jessup is 2-17 hitting just .219 as a team.
SAC - Matt Gorgolinski (So./RHP, 1-0, 6.75 ERA)
WSU - Philip Chavez (Sr./RHP, 0-4, 5.40 ERA)
All Sacramento State home games stream live online at HornetSports.com/Radio with Anthony Rifenburg and Andrew Pasquini providing the play-by-play call. Live stats for each game are also 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.
William Jessup Warriors | All: 2-17 | Road: 2-10
In just its second season of existence, the William Jessup baseball program is 2-17 this year but both its wins came on the road. A member of the NAIA located in nearby Rocklin, William Jessup ended a seven-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over Biola in its last game. The Hornets and Warriors played last year at John Smith Field with Sacramento State recording a 4-1 win. The Warriors are hitting just .219 as a team this year with a 6.24 team ERA. Steven Otaguro leads the team hitting .386 with 7 RBIs. The squad is coached by former UCLA star Mike Hankins, who is 11-54-2 in two seasons with the Warriors.
Sacramento State will play 13 games at home over a stretch of 19 days starting on Tuesday. Weather permitting, the homestand will be the longest in the Div. I era of the program, eclipsing a 10-game home stretch in 2005. The homestand will include weekend series against Cal Poly, North Dakota, and Northern Colorado along with two games against New Mexico, one against San Francisco, and one against William Jessup, with all 13 to be played at John Smith Field. The homestand was originally going to be 12 games over 16 days before the William Jessup game was added to the schedule.
Tough Time in the Desert
Arizona's sweep of Sacramento State was a rarity for the Hornets, who had not been swept in a non-conference series of at least three games since going 0-3 at another Pac-12 team, UCLA, in 2012. The Hornets had chances to win on Friday and Sunday and, for the most part, played better than the stats would suggest. Sacramento State's 8-3 record going into the series was its best start to a season in 23 years, and its current 8-6 record is still a better mark through 14 games than in its WAC championship seasons in 2012 and 2014.
Happy to be Home
Due to weather and field conditions just one of Sacramento State's first 14 games of the season was played on their primary home ballpark, John Smith Field. The Hornets have had winning home record in four straight seasons and were 45-19 at home over the last two years. The team has had at least 18 home wins in four straight years and plays every remaining game of March on its home field.
Saturday starter Justin Dillon returned to the rotation at Arizona after having thrown just five pitches all season. In his first start of the year at Auburn the junior was lifted after throwing just five pitches due to a lower body injury. He came back on Sunday and pitched 3.1 innings, allowing just three hits but walking four. Dillon had four strikeouts against Arizona and for the season sports a .214 opposing batting average with five strikeouts in just 3.2 innings.
Big Bat Missing
Sacramento State is eagerly awaiting the return of another star player as freshman designated hitter Matt Smith has missed the last five games after getting hit by a pitch March 6. Prior to the injury Smith had a hit in every game this year and an RBI in eight of the nine contests he played in. He was spectacular in his first collegiate series, hitting 6-for-11 (.545) with six RBIs and two runs scored at Auburn. Smith drove in the tying run in Sacramento State's 5-4 win over #5 LSU and leads the team hitting .406 with a team-high 11 RBIs, a .500 slugging percentage, and a .447 on-base percentage.
First Home Series...Sort Of
Rain wreaked havoc on Sacramento State's first home series of the year, as the team ended up playing just one game at John Smith Field. The series against South Dakota State was supposed to be four games with a doubleheader on Saturday. Efforts were made to play a doubleheader Friday and one Sunday, as well as a game at Raley Field on Monday, but just the early game on Friday got played in Sacramento. On Sunday and Tuesday the teams ended up playing 50 miles south of campus in Stockton, playing Sunday at Delta College and Tuesday at Pacific. The series ended up spanning five days and the three games took place in three different stadiums.
Attempting to replace Sutter McLoughlin, the all-time WAC saves leader, figured to be difficult but senior Tyler Beardsley has taken the job and run with it. Assuming the closer role this year but pitching multiple innings in three appearances, Beardsley has not allowed a single run in 11.2 innings pitched. He earned the win at LSU and has a WAC-high four saves, allowing only four hits and holding the opposition to a .118 batting average. He is pitching economically as well, throwing just 3.5 pitchers per at-bat for the year.
The Hornets have wins over two power five teams, Auburn and LSU, this year. For the second consecutive year the team opened its season winning a series against a power school after taking 3-of-4 games against Utah to open 2015. In 2013 the Hornets opened their season at Texas and picked up a Saturday win, then in 2014 Sacramento State won at No. 21 Texas A&M. The Hornets also had wins over power conference schools Arizona State, Oregon State, and Minnesota over the last two seasons.
Sacramento State head coach Reggie Christiansen faced the school he last coached, South Dakota State, for the first time since taking over as head coach of Sacramento State. Christiansen served as the head coach of the Jackrabbits from 2005-08 before coming to Sacramento, where he assumed the role of head coach in 2011. Third-year Hornet assistant coach Jake Angier also played for and coached with Christiansen at South Dakota State. Sacramento State's three-game sweep came against a Jackrabbit team that won 33 games in 2015.
The Hornets already have four road wins this year, winning twice at Auburn and beating No. 5 LSU and Northwestern State. Sacramento State played 10 of its first 15 games of the year on the road and lost two traditional home games with the contests moved to Stockton. The Hornets have a stretch of 16 of 24 games on the road later in the year following their large homestand.
Rally to Raley
With its win over Nevada on Wednesday Sacramento State improved to 9-6 all-time at Raley Field, the home of the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, the Sacramento River Cats. Sacramento State played nine games at Raley Field over the 2014 and 2015 seasons, winning six including a 7-6 victory over No. 4 Oregon State on April 21, 2014. The Hornets are 3-0 all-time at Raley Field against ranked teams having also recorded wins over No. 7 Stanford in 2001 and No. 24 Fresno State in 2014. The team has one more game scheduled under the Raley lights this year against Fresno State on April 27.
Trailing 4-1 in the third inning and still down 4-3 in the ninth, Sacramento State rallied for a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over No. 5 LSU on Feb. 27. The Hornets got their leadoff man aboard to start the ninth on an LSU fielding error and plated the tying and go ahead runs on an RBI single from Matt Smith and a sacrifice fly from Vinny Esposito. Sacramento State's bullpen kept the Hornets in the game, shutting out LSU over the final six innings while allowing only five hits. The offense was able to get to LSU starter Alex Lange, who was 12-0 with a 1.97 ERA last season, and force him out after just five innings. The Hornets beat a top-five team for the second time in the last three seasons, having defeated No. 4 Oregon State, 7-6, in 2014.
Good to SEC You
Sacramento State made itself comfortable facing two SEC schools and coming away with three victories. The team introduced itself to the southeast by taking two of three games at Auburn as it rallied for wins in the Saturday and Sunday games, coming back from late deficits to win 6-5 on Saturday and outlasting the Tigers 7-6 in 12 innings on Sunday. The team earned its their first ever road series win at a Power Conference school and picked up another SEC win in the 5-4 upset of #5 LSU. The Hornets have four wins over SEC teams over the last three seasons having also won a game at No. 21 Texas A&M in 2014.
Lights Out After Seven
Sacramento State has outscored its opponents 12-4 after the seventh inning so far this season and are a perfect 5-0 when leading after seven innings. The Hornets scored in the eighth inning in all three games at Auburn and used eighth inning rallies in both of their wins. It was a ninth inning rally the spurred the Hornets to victory against LSU with two runs scored in that victory. The team has allowed runs in the eighth inning or later in just two games this year.
Through the Ranks
Sacramento State now has six wins over ranked teams in the last three seasons. The squad beat No. 4 Oregon State, No. 18 Arizona State, No. 21 Texas A&M, and No. 24 Fresno State in 2014 and topped No. 18 UC Santa Barbara last year. The team was also an out away from a win over No. 5 Texas Tech and pushed No. 15 Iowa to 18 innings last year.
California is among the strongest states in the nation for Div. I baseball, and over the last four years the Hornets rank highly among the best teams in the state. Among 24 Division-I baseball teams in California, the Hornets are tied for the 7th most wins over the last four seasons. The team entered 2015 with 138 total wins since 2012, tied with Pepperdine and more than perennial postseason qualifiers including Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Cal, USC, and Fresno State.
The Hornets rank second in the WAC with 20 steals this year. The team was 9-for-9 at Auburn, helping creating 18 runs despite hitting only .239 for the series. Andrew McWilliam (4-for-4) and Chris Lewis (3-for-3) lead the team on the base paths as 11 different Hornets have steals this year. Sacramento State finished second in the WAC with 79 stolen bases last season.