SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento State baseball team (6-1) plays its first road games of the season facing No. 11 Washington (4-3) in a four-game set in Seattle. The teams are scheduled to play at 6:05 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2:05 p.m. Saturday, and 1:05 p.m. on Sunday, weather permitting.
- Senior Justin Dillon threw the first no-hitter in Sacramento State's Div. I history last Thursday in a 2-0 shutout of Northern Kentucky. He issued just one walk and had a career-high 13 strikeouts, facing just two batters over the minimum with a walk in the fifth inning and a Hornet fielding error.
- Dillon leads NCAA Div. I with a 0.31 WHIP this season. Through two outings he has allowed just one hit and one walk over 16.0 innings pitched with 17 strikeouts. He was named Div. I National Pitcher of the Week by the NCBWA, Perfect Game, College Sports Madness, and Collegiate Baseball.
- Sacramento State has begun the season with a 6-1 record for the second time in the last three seasons, having also done so in 2015. The Hornets recorded a season-opening series win over a Power 5 team for the third straight year, against Washington State after Auburn in 2016 and Utah in 2015.
- At No. 11 in the Baseball America poll Washington is the first ranked foe the Hornets will face this season. Sacramento State has had six wins over ranked teams in the last three seasons, including victories over No. 4 Oregon State, No. 5 LSU , No. 18 Arizona State, and No. 18 UC Santa Barbara.
- Washington played its first two series of the season on the road in Northern California, winning 2-of-3 games at Santa Clara and splitting a four-game set at Saint Mary's. All three of Washington's losses came by just one run while the team's four wins have come by an average of 6.5 runs.
Every game of the Washington series will stream live for free on HornetSports.com/Radio with Anthony Rifenburg providing the play-by-play call. Washington will also provide a free video stream on gohuskies.com. Links for the audio and video broadcasts and live stats are available above and on the baseball schedule page on hornetsports.com. Follow @SacStBaseball on twitter for in-game updates and see more on the official team pages on facebook and instagram.
Scouting No. 11 Washington (4-3)
Washington ranks No. 11 in the Baseball America poll and is 19th in the Perfect Game poll. The Huskies played their first two series of the season on the road in Northern California, winning 2-of-3 games at Santa Clara and splitting a four-game set at Saint Mary's. All three of Washington's losses came by just one run while the four wins have come by an average of 6.5 runs. The Huskies were picked fourth in the preseason Pac-12 poll and their 18 newcomers came from the 9th-ranked recruiting class in Div. I. Washington is hitting .296 on the season and has a .412 slugging percentage while its pitchers have a 3.45 ERA. 2016 All-Pac-12 catcher Joey Morgan is hitting .417 with 7 RBIs this year and two others hit better than .400. The Hornets and Huskies have never played a full series and have played just one game in the Div. I era, a Washington neutral site 4-2 win in 2004.
Senior Justin Dillon threw the first no-hitter in Sacramento State's Div. I history last Thursday in a 2-0 shutout of Northern Kentucky. He issued just one walk and had a career-high 13 strikeouts, facing just two batters over the minimum with a walk in the fifth inning and a Hornet fielding error in the ninth. He was dominant right from the start, striking out the first five batters he faced and not allowing a base runner before NKU second baseman Kyle Colletta drew a two-out walk in the fifth inning. Dillon struck out at least one batter in six of nine innings, including two strikeouts in the ninth. In all he got 10 ground ball outs, three fly outs, and a soft line out to shortstop to go with his 13 strikeouts.
No. 1 in the Nation
After his no-hitter Justin Dillon leads NCAA Div. I with a 0.31 WHIP this season. Through two outings this year he has allowed just one hit and one walk over 16.0 innings pitched with 17 strikeouts. Dillon is also second in the country with 0.56 hits allowed per nine innings this year.
Justin Dillon was named the Div. I National Pitcher of the Week by the NCBWA, Perfect Game, and College Sports Madness and was the first player listed on Collegiate Baseball's National Player of the Week list. Dillon was also named WAC Pitcher of the Week and the Federated Insurance Sacramento State Student-Athlete of the Week.
Sacramento State has begun the season with a 6-1 record for the second time in the last three seasons, having also done so in 2015. The Hornets are averaging 7 runs scored per game and have a 2.63 team ERA and a .202 opposing batting average. With the strong start the Hornets received votes this week in the NCBWA national Top-25 poll.
Junior center fielder Ian Dawkins moved to the leadoff spot in the Northern Kentucky series and was superb, hitting .474 with a .545 on-base percentage. He has at least one hit and one run scored in every game and was 4-for-5 in the finale with a walk and three RBIs. In his first season with the Hornets Dawkins is hitting .379 overall with a .486 on-base percentage while also playing superb defense in center field.
Three Games, Three Wins
Sacramento State junior reliever Alex Dentoni is tied for the NCAA Div. I lead with three victories, having earned the win in each of his three pitching appearances. Dentoni is one of just five Div. I pitchers with three wins this season and he and Oregon State's Jake Thompson are the only pitchers in the nation with three wins in three games pitched. Dentoni has gone at least two innings in each of his appearances and has a 1.29 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP with eight strikeouts and just one walk.
Four different Hornet starters reached base in at least half of their plate appearances in the Northern Kentucky series. Freshman Dawson Bacho had a .647 on-base percentage and Ian Dawkins reached at a .545 clip while junior Andrew McWilliam and senior Kody Reynolds both reached in half of their plate appearances (.500). Junior PJ Floyd also reached on two of his three plate appearances.
WHIP it Good
Sacramento State pitchers rank 11th in NCAA Div. I with a 1.02 WHIP this season. Just seven schools have a WHIP below 1 but the Hornets are close. The Hornets ranked second in the WAC and 84th nationally with a 1.39 WHIP last season.
Head Coach Reggie Christiansen reached his 300th career victory in the win over Northern Kentucky on Sunday. He is also closing in on his 200th victory at Sacramento State, as in his seventh season he has a 193-172 record with the Hornets.
Through the Ranks
At No. 11 in the Baseball America poll Washington is the first ranked foe the Hornets will face this season. Sacramento State has had 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 and No. 5 LSU in the last two years. The team was also an out away from a win at No. 5 Texas Tech and pushed No. 15 Iowa to 18 innings in a narrow loss in 2015.
Another Power 5 Series Win
Sacramento State recorded a season-opening series win over a Power 5 team for the third straight season, taking 2-of-3 games vs. Washington State. The Hornets won 2-of-3 games at Auburn last year after opening 2015 taking 3-of-4 games at home vs. Utah. The Hornets also split their season-opening series against Utah in 2014.
Freshman Parker Brahms has been nearly as good as Hornet ace Justin Dillon, tallying a 0.69 ERA and 0.69 WHIP through his first two collegiate starts. Brahms has 12 strikeouts and just two walks in 13.0 innings pitched with a .149 opposing batting average. He took a no-decision in his first start but earned his first collegiate win allowing just three hits and one walk with nine strikeouts in seven shutout innings in the 10-0 Hornet victory over Northern Kentucky
Washington is the second of three straight first time series opponents for the Hornets. The series with Northern Kentucky was not only the first meeting between the two teams but also Sacramento State's first games in program history against any school from the state of Kentucky. The team has also never faced Penn State.
Sacramento State leads the WAC with 2.35 walks allowed per nine innings and ranks second in the league in WHIP, ERA, shutouts, hits allowed per nine innings, and strikeout to walk ratio. In 2016 the team was second in the WAC in ERA, WHIP, and opposing batting average and issued the third fewest walks.
23 and Counting
Junior Andrew McWilliam has reached base in 23 consecutive games played. He ended the 2016 season on a 19-game reached base streak and reached in all four games he has played this season.
Sacramento State hit three triples against Washington State, with two coming from sophomore James Outman. The team totaled seven triples in 58 games last season but Outman took three bags on two deep drives off the walk in right and junior Ian Dawkins had one as well against the Cougars.
Four of the Hornets six nonconference series this year will be against Power 5 schools with three of them (Washington State, Penn State, and Minnesota) played at home. Sacramento State will play a total of 14 games against Power 5 schools and has had tremendous recent success against such opponents. The team took 2-of-3 vs. Auburn and also picked up a win at No. 5 LSU last year. The Hornets also have wins over Texas, Texas A&M, Arizona State, Oregon State, Utah, and Minnesota over the last four years.