SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The first night game under the new lights at John Smith Field, presented by 7-Eleven, will be played at 7:11 p.m. Tuesday night when Sacramento State (28-23) hosts Pacific (20-28) in a non-conference matchup.
Gates will open at 5:30 and fans are encouraged to arrive at the ball park early when Coaches Reggie Christiansen, John Smith, and Cal Boyes will ceremonially turn on the lights for the first time at 6:50 p.m. Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen will throw out the first pitch before the Hornets take the field.
All former Hornet baseball players and their families will receive free admission to Tuesday's game and all fans can purchase two tickets to the game for just $10. The first 500 fans through the gates will receive free commemorative key chain lights and the first 711 fans will get free surprises at the Campus 7-Eleven at 6500 Folsom Blvd.
- The Hornets play their first ever night game under the new lights in the 63-year history of John Smith Field, built in 1953 and renamed for former Coach Smith in 2010, on Tuesday vs. Pacific.
- Sacramento State will be either the No. 3 or 4 seed for the WAC Tournament and will open play in the double-elimination tournament on May 25 at either 3 p.m. or 7 p.m. in Mesa, Ariz.
- Junior Max Karnos had a 16-inning scoreless streak over two starts, throwing a shutout against Utah Valley and then allowing just one run in eight innings in a win over Grand Canyon on Friday.
- Sacramento State ranks second in the WAC in ERA, opposing batting average, and WHIP. The team also leads the WAC and is 24th in NCAA Div. I with 49 double plays turned with six at Grand Canyon.
- Pacific rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to defeat Sacramento State 6-3 when the teams met in Stockton in April. The Tigers have hit 37 home runs this year but have lost 10 of their last 13 games.
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.
SAC - Tanner Olson (Jr./RHP, 3-4, 4.57 ERA)
PAC - Ricky Reynoso (Fr./LHP, 2-4, 4.95 ERA)
Pacific Tigers | Overall: 20-28 | WCC: 11-13 | Road: 6-11
In the first meeting between the teams this season Sacramento State had an early 3-0 lead in the second inning before Pacific came back for a 6-3 win in Stockton. Tanner Olson started that game as well for the Hornets and allowed just two earned runs over 5.1 innings. Pacific has lost 10 of its last 13 games and plays its last four games of the season on the road. The Tigers have hit 37 home runs this season with Danny Mayer (14) and Gio Brusa (11) leading the West Coast Conference. The Hornets are 40-33 in the Div. I era against Pacific and will be looking to split the season series for the third consecutive year.
Light it Up
History will be made when Sacramento State plays its first ever night game in the 63-year history of John Smith Field on Tuesday at 7:11 p.m. After years of planning Sacramento State's on campus home had lights installed over the last few months and they were cleared for use against Pacific. Built in 1953, the team's home ballpark was originally known as Hornet Field until being renamed in honor of long time coach John Smith in 2010. More than two years of work went in to funding and installing the lights while Smith, who now serves as a Special Assistant to the Athletics Director, oversaw the process, along with Director of Athletics Bill Macriss and head coach Reggie Christiansen.
Sacramento State will be either the No. 3 or 4 seed for the WAC Tournament. Seattle U has clinched a first round bye while New Mexico State and Utah Valley are competing for the second. Seattle U has a one game lead over New Mexico State while the Hornets and Utah Valley are tied for third place, three games behind the Aggies. The top six teams in the final standings qualify for the WAC Tournament as two spots remain open. Sacramento State will open play in the double-elimination tournament on May 25 at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz. at either 3 p.m. or 7 p.m.
Junior Max Karnos has been one of the best starters in the WAC this season and had a 16-inning scoreless streak over his last two starts. He put together his best outing as a Hornet against Utah Valley, tossing his second shutout of the season allowing just three singles and facing only one better over the minimum against Utah Valley. After each of the three singles he allowed Karnos immediately got the next hitter to ground into a double play, as the only baserunner the Wolverines stranded came from a two-out walk. He was nearly as dominant at Grand Canyon, taking a shutout into the eighth inning and allowed just one run with five strikeouts. In his first season with the Hornets after transferring from Western Nevada College Karnos is third in the WAC with a 2.76 season ERA, having allowed two earned runs or fewer in six of his eighth WAC starts.
On Fire in the Desert
Senior Chris Lewis continued tearing the cover off the ball in the state of Arizona, hitting .462 with 2 home runs, a double, five RBIs, and four runs in the Grand Canyon series. In 19 career games played in the state of Arizona, Lewis is 31-for-75 (.413) with 16 RBIs and 15 runs scored on three home runs and eight doubles. In 10 career WAC Tournament games in Arizona - the host state for the league championship again this season - Lewis has hits in all 10 game and is 18-for-39 (.462) with 10 RBIs. He has been named to the all-WAC Tournament team twice and was the 2014 WAC Tournament MVP.
Sacramento State started 10-0 in home WAC games this season after sweeping each of its first three home WAC series of the year for the first time in program history. The Hornets are averaging just under five runs scored per game while the pitching staff has a 1.90 ERA and .222 opposing batting average with three shutouts in home WAC play this season. Through 24 total WAC games the Hornets are hitting .273 and averaging 4.7 runs scored per game and the pitching staff has a solid 3.35 ERA in WAC competition.
Hornet senior closer Tyler Beardsley has been named to the midseason NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List. He is one of 40 pitchers nationally to be listed for the award that honors the top relief pitcher in Div. I. Beardsley has allowed just five earned runs in 39.2 innings pitched this year for a 1.13 ERA. He did not allow a run in his first 15.0 innings pitched in WAC play and had a 0.28 ERA over his first 32 innings pitched this year. Of the 27 games Beardsley has pitched this year the team has won 20 of them as he is 4-1 with nine saves, tied for the 48th best save total in NCAA Div. I.
Curtains After Seven
Sacramento State is undefeated this season when leading after the seventh inning. The team is 21-0 when leading after seven innings and has just two losses this year when leading after six. The Hornets are also 5-0 in extra-inning games this year.
Homering at Home
Sophomore Andrew McWilliam homered in each of the last two Sacramento State home games and hit four home runs in the last seven home contests. He went deep twice against Chicago State on April 16 and homered against Utah Valley and UC Davis last week.
Sacramento State leads the WAC is 24th in NCAA Div. I with 49 double plays turned this year. The Hornets turned six double plays in the WAC series against both Chicago State and Grand Canyon and had five double plays vs. Utah Valley. Fourteen different players have been part of a defensive double play this season, including six pitchers.
The Hornet pitching staff ranks second in the WAC in ERA, WHIP, opposing batting average, and walks. Sacramento State pitchers have hit the fewest batters in the league and are allowing just over three walks per nine innings. The only team ahead of the Hornets in each of those pitching categories is Seattle U, who the team will host to close the regular season.
The only fourth-year senior on the team, left fielder Chris Lewis is hitting .310 with four home runs and a team-high 36 RBIs this season. He also leads the team with 17 multi-hit games and nine multi-RBI games, including a pair of 4-RBI games. He was named WAC Hitter of the Week on April 18 after hitting 11-for-17 (.647) with 8 RBIs and 5 runs scored over the four-game week. A former Freshman All-American and the 2014 WAC Tournament MVP, Lewis ranks third in program history in career RBIs (130) and is fifth in doubles (47) and with 761 career at-bats.
The Hornets lead the WAC and are 30th in NCAA Div. I allowing just 3.05 walks per nine innings. Sunday starter Grant Kukuk is the stingiest Hornet in issuing walks, allowing only 1.45 walks per nine innings this year (45th best in NCAA Div. I). Every Hornet starting pitcher and six relievers have more strikeouts than walks allowed this season.
Sacramento State leads the WAC and is 71st in the nation with 63 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 31 games this year with multiple steals in 13. Sacramento State finished second in the WAC with 79 steals last year.
The Hornets have outscored their opponents 57-35 in the first two innings of games this season. The team has a 25-19 edge in the first inning and a big 32-16 scoring advantage in the second inning. Sacramento State has scored in the first inning 17 times this year and has won 13 of those games.
Putting the H in DH
Freshman designated hitter Matt Smith opened the season with a 16-game hitting streak, the second longest in the WAC this season, and later had an eight-game hitting streak in which he hit .452. Smith missed a week and a half after getting hit by a pitch March 6 but is hitting .303 on the year with 29 RBIs and 18 runs scored hitting third in the Hornet batting order.
Weathering the Weather
Sacramento State has had 15 scheduled game times or dates either altered or cancelled due to weather this season. The team has had to play four unscheduled doubleheaders, had games against South Dakota State and Northwestern State cancelled, and has had two games suspended due to weather. The Hornets have thrived despite the schedule changes, as the team is 10-3 in its 13 weather-altered games that were played.
Sophomore center fielder Bronson Grubbs has been superb both in the field and at the plate this year. He had a career-long 10 game hitting streak raising his batting average above .300 and he leads the team defensively as well, as among his 144 putouts this year are dozens of sensational catches that have saved several runs and he has two outfield assists.
The Hornets are 5-0 this year in extra-inning games. Over 14 total extra innings played Sacramento State has outscored its opposition 8-2. Hornet pitchers have a 0.64 ERA and .196 opposing batting average in the 10th inning and later this season and the team has hit .370 in bonus baseball.
Junior catcher Gunner Pollman leads the WAC with 27 runners caught stealing this year, matching his total from the 2015 season. He has thrown out 11 more base stealers than any other WAC catcher 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, for the second straight season.