SACRAMENTO, Calif. - After opening WAC play with consecutive home sweep Sacramento State (19-13, 7-2 WAC) looks to continue its strong play at John Smith Field hosting Chicago State (7-15, 1-8 WAC) for a weekend series. Games are slated for 3 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday, and noon Sunday.
Sunday's contest will be Future Hornet Kids Club Kids Day at John Smith Field with free team posters and autographs with the players after the game. Kids will also get a chance to run the bases and admission to the game will be free for all youth 12 and under.
- Sacramento State recorded consecutive series sweeps to open WAC play for the third straight season and the Hornets are currently just one game back of first place in the WAC standings
- The Hornets are averaging 5.25 runs per game and hitting .281 over their last eight contests. The team has 23 extra-base hits in the stretch, including five homers, with a .412 slugging percentage.
- The Hornets lead the WAC and are tied for 47th in the nation with 46 stolen bases this year. Andrew McWilliam tied the program record with four stolen bases April 3 against Northern Colorado.
- In WAC play the Hornet bullpen has a 1.99 ERA, a 0.81 WHIP, and a .169 opposing batting average over 22.2 innings. Closer Tyler Beardsley has a 0.37 ERA with six saves and four wins this year.
- Chicago State ranks last in NCAA Div. I hitting .207 as a team this season and has a 6.62 overall ERA with a 9.38 ERA through nine WAC games. Sacramento State is 7-0 all-time against the Cougars.
SAC - Sam Long (Jr./LHP, 3-5, 3.97 ERA)
CSU - Jake Perkins (Jr./LHP, 2-4, 6.43 ERA)
SAC - Max Karnos (Jr./RHP, 2-2, 3.79 ERA)
CSU - Justin Wyant (Jr./RHP, 1-7, 5.47 ERA)
SAC - Grant Kukuk (Sr./RHP, 4-1, 3.95 ERA)
CSU - Dillon Engle (Sr./LHP, 1-7, 6.38 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.
Chicago State Cougars | Overall: 7-25 | WAC: 1-8 | Road: 2-14
Chicago State ranks last in NCAA Div. I (295 teams) with a .207 team batting average this season. The Cougars are averaging just 3.3 runs per game with nine games scoring one or fewer runs. The team also has the worst ERA in the WAC at 6.62 overall with a 9.38 ERA through nine WAC games. Chicago State did pick up its first WAC win last weekend with a 12-7 home win over UT Rio Grande Valley but has lost three WAC games via the 10-run mercy rule. Sophomore Zach Thomas leads the team hitting .317 and with a 0.57 ERA over 15.2 innings. Sacramento State is 7-0 all-time against Chicago State (4-0 at home).
Leaders of the Pack
The Hornets completed a season sweep of Nevada with a 7-2 win on Tuesday in Reno. Senior Chris Lewis was 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs, juniors Gunner Pollman and Brandon Hunley each hit solo home runs and both reached base four times, and junior Tanner Olson allowed just two runs on four hits in six solid innings. The Hornets had a 5-2 win over the Wolf Pack at Raley Field in March as well, with Olson also the winning pitcher in that contest. Former conference foes in the WAC, Sacramento State is now 5-3 against Nevada since the Wolf Pack left the league for the Mountain West following the 2012 season.
Sacramento State recorded consecutive series sweeps to open WAC play for the third straight season. The Hornets opened conference play with a sweep of North Dakota and followed with a sweep of Northern Colorado at John Smith Field. Despite dropping the series at CSU Bakersfield the Hornets are just one game back of league-leading Seattle U and New Mexico State in the current WAC standings.
The Hornets are averaging 5.25 runs per game and hitting .281 over their last eight contests. The team has tallied 23 extra-base hits in the stretch, including five home runs, with a .412 slugging percentage. The squad has 15 steals in the eight games while Andrew McWilliam is hitting .419 and Chris Lewis is hitting .412 with 17 RBIs between the two of them.
Sacramento State leads the WAC and is tied for 47th in the nation with 46 stolen bases this year. The Hornets were 10-for-11 in stolen base attempts against Northern Colorado, 9-for-9 in their season-opening series win at Auburn, and have at least one steal in 22 games this year with multiple steals in 10 games. Sacramento State finished second in the WAC with 79 stolen bases last season.
Sophomore outfielder Andrew McWilliam is hitting .419 (13-for-31) with 10 RBIs and 8 runs scored over the last eight games. He has a home run and three doubles in the stretch with runs scored in six of the eight games and RBIs in six of them. He tied the program record with four stolen bases against Northern Colorado then recorded Sacramento State's first four-hit game of the year going 4-for-5 with a homer and 3 RBIs at Fresno State. For the season he leads the team with 18 runs scored and nine stolen bases is tied for the team lead with 18 RBIs. He also leads with 10 multi-hit games and four multi-RBI games and has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with an outfield assist.
Hornet senior Tyler Beardsley has not only taken over the job of closer but has become the team's finisher as well. Of the 18 games Beardsley has pitched this year the team has won 15 of them as he has allowed just one earned run in 24.1 innings pitched, good for a miniscule 0.37 ERA and a .200 opposing batting average. He has a WAC-high six saves but also a team high four wins, having finished 16 games this year (no other WAC pitcher has finished more than 9 games).
Sacramento State began the season with just one scheduled doubleheader but has played three so far due to rain and field conditions. Ironically, the one doubleheader that was originally scheduled, against South Dakota State on March 5, was not played due to weather. The most recent doubleheader, at CSU Bakersfield last Saturday, was actually not completed as the second game was suspended after the eighth inning and completed on Sunday. The Hornets are 3-3 this year in their doubleheader games.
Curtains After Seven
Sacramento State is undefeated this season when leading after the seventh inning. The team is 13-0 when leading after seven innings and has just one loss this year when leading through four. The team is 15-0 when leading after eight and is 3-0 in extra innings.
The Pen is Mighty
The Hornet bullpen has been strong all season and especially so in WAC play. The back end of the bullpen - junior Chad Perry and senior closer Tyler Beardsley - have both thrown 7.2 scoreless innings in WAC play, combining to allow only 9 hits and 2 walks with 18 strikeouts over 15.1 innings. Jonny Palsha has also thrown 2.2 scoreless relief innings in league play and as a whole the Hornet bullpen has a 1.99 ERA, a 0.81 WHIP, and a .169 opposing batting average over 22.2 innings of relief in nine WAC games.
Putting the H in DH
Freshman designated hitter Matt Smith has a hit in 23 of the first 26 games he has played in his collegiate career. He opened the season with a 16-game hitting streak, the longest in the WAC this season, and he also has an RBI in 14 contests this year. He missed a week and a half after getting hit by a pitch March 6 but is still second on the team with 17 RBIs on the season. A local product from Placerville, Smith leads the team hitting .323 this year with a .378 on-base percentage and seven multi-hit games.
The Hornets finished 9-4 on their 13 game homestand over 19 days. The homestand was the longest in the Div. I era of the program, eclipsing a 10-game home stretch in 2005. The Hornets had WAC series sweeps of North Dakota and Northern Colorado and single wins over Cal Poly, San Francisco, and William Jessup while also hosting New Mexico for two games. The homestand was originally going to be 12 games before the William Jessup game was added.
Sacramento State was 8-0 this year in 1-run games before dropping its last two 1-run decisions. A strong back end of the bullpen and timely hitting have made the Hornets nearly unbeatable in close games, especially on their home field. Of the team's 11 home wins this year are five 1-run victories with two walk-off wins.
Double Your Outs, Double Your Pleasure
Sacramento State is second in the WAC and tied for 56th in Div. I with 28 double plays turned this year. Eleven different players have been part of a defensive double play this season, including four pitchers. The team also ranks third in the WAC with a .969 season fielding percentage.
Big Bats Silenced
On March 28 the Hornets held New Mexico - one of the top offensive teams in NCAA Div. I - to just one run, becoming the first team this season to hold the Lobos to fewer than two runs in a game. The Lobos entered the game averaging 7.6 runs per game this season, the 24th best scoring average in Div. I., and were ninth in the nation in on-base percentage, 15th in walks, and 18th in batting average but was held to only eight base runners. Junior Tanner Olson, making his allowed only one run on five hits and no walks with three strikeouts in five innings.
Junior catcher Gunner Pollman leads the WAC with 16 runners caught stealing this year. Last year he threw out 27 base stealers, 10 more than any other conference catcher totaled. He 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, for the second straight season.
The Hornets have a stacked non-conference schedule again in 2016. In its season-opening road trip the team played two NCAA Tournament teams from last year, including the No. 5 team in the country. The team's first home opponent, South Dakota State, won 33 games last season, while Arizona was also a 30-win team last year and Cal Poly was nationally ranked. New Mexico and Fresno State are both receiving votes in two national polls.
Walk it Off
Sacramento State recorded two walk-off home wins over a stretch of three games in March. The first of the season came when junior Blake Edmonson drove in the tying and winning runs with a pinch hit two-run double in the bottom of the 10th inning in a 6-5 win over San Francisco. In the first game of the doubleheader on March 26, senior Trent Goodrich was the hero as he delivered a walk-off single to left center in the bottom of the 11th inning to give his team a 3-2 win.
Sacramento State was picked to finish second in the 10-team WAC in the preseason conference coaches' poll. The Hornets earned 74 points and four first place votes in the poll finishing just behind Grand Canyon, which had 77 points and five first place votes to be picked to repeat as WAC champion. As was the case last year, Grand Canyon is still not eligible to compete in the WAC or NCAA Tournaments as it reclassifies to Div. I, so the poll essentially predicts the Hornets to be the top seed for the WAC Tournament.
Grubbs Making Grabs
Sophomore center fielder Bronson Grubbs has been superb both in the field and at the plate this year. Among his 92 putouts this year are dozens of sensational catches. He also has an outfield assist and just one error after committing just one error all season last year. His bat has shined as well as he is second on the team hitting .308 this season with a .370 on-base percentage and 11 runs scored with four stolen bases.
Happy at 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, prior to the 13-game homestand. The Hornets have had winning home records in four straight seasons and are now 57-23 at home over the last three years. The team has had at least 18 home wins in four straight seasons.
Sacramento State has five seniors on its 2016 roster but just one of them, outfielder Chris Lewis, has been with the program for his entire collegiate career. A former Freshman All-American, Lewis hit a solid .275 with five home runs and 32 RBIs last year and once again led the team with a brilliant WAC Tournament for the second consecutive year. He is currently eighth in program history with 112 career RBIs and is tied for sixth with 40 career doubles.