SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Before going back on the road this weekend Sacramento State (11-11) plays host to local rival Pacific (11-11) at 6 p.m. Tuesday at John Smith Field.
- Sacramento State opened conference play hitting .303 with 17 runs scored in three games at Northern Colorado. The Hornets scored at least five runs in each of the three games and had a .389 on-base percentage for the series and while going 6-for-8 in stolen base attempts against the Bears.
- Tuesday's game against Pacific will be the first this season for the Hornets against another school from California. The team's first 22 games of the year were against schools from outside of California, but the Hornets have 14 total games against other California schools still scheduled this year.
- Senior pitcher Justin Dillon leads NCAA Div. I with a 0.57 WHIP and 3.64 hits allowed per nine innings. The Hornet senior also leads the WAC with a .121 opposing batting average and is second with a 1.93 ERA, having allowed just 17 hits and seven walks in 42.0 innings pitched this year.
- In their first full season under the lights at John Smith Field the Hornets are 5-2 in home night games and 7-2 overall at night this season. Sacramento State's pitching has been particularly impressive at night with a 3.14 ERA and .190 opposing batting average through nine night games.
- Pacific has won three of its last four games and took 2-of-3 in a home series vs. Pepperdine last weekend. The team has a 5.46 ERA and is hitting just .259 but has hit 15 home runs. Danny Mayer is hitting just .200 but has seven home runs. The Tigers are 1-7 on the road this season, 10-4 at home.
All Sacramento State home games stream live for free on HornetSports.com/Radio with Anthony Rifenburg and Noah Alvarez providing the play-by-play call. Links for the audio broadcast 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 Pacific (11-11)
Pacific has won three of its last four games and took 2-of-3 in a home series vs. Pepperdine last weekend. The Tigers also played Penn State, dropping 2-of-3 in a series against the Nittany Lions, and are just 1-7 on the road this season. Pacific has just six stolen bases this season and has attempted only 10 steals while allowing 30-of-37 stolen base attempts from the opposition. The team has a 5.46 ERA and is hitting just .259 but has hit 15 home runs. Danny Mayer is hitting just .200 but has seven home runs, tied for 28th most in Div. I this season. James Free leads the team hitting .333 with 19 RBIs and Matt Tarantino has 18 runs batted in. Pacific was Sacramento State's opponent for the first night game at John Smith Field last May and picked up a 9-6 win. The Tigers have won three straight meetings with the Hornets and will also host the squad April 25.
Swinging into WAC
Sacramento State opened conference play hitting .303 with 17 runs scored in three games at Northern Colorado. The Hornets scored at least five runs in each of the three games and had a .389 on-base percentage for the series. Andrew McWilliam, Ian Dawkins, James Outman, and Vinny Esposito all hit .400 or better in the series with McWilliam hitting .545 and Dawkins hitting .500 with five RBIs and five runs. Esposito drove in seven runs in the series with a pair of three-RBI games and had a .533 on-base percentage.
First Intrastate Game
Tuesday's game against Pacific will be the first this season for the Hornets against another school from California. The team's first 22 games of the year were against schools from outside of California, representing seven other states. The Hornets have 14 total games against other California schools scheduled through the remainder of the regular season with series against CSU Bakersfield and San Diego. Sacramento State is one of 24 Div. I baseball programs in the state of California.
The Nation's Best
Senior pitcher Justin Dillon leads NCAA Div. I with a 0.57 WHIP and 3.64 hits allowed per nine innings. No other qualified pitcher has a WHIP below 0.62 while the next best hits allowed per nine innings mark in the nation is 4.15. The Hornet senior also leads the WAC with a .121 opposing batting average and is second with a 1.93 ERA. Dillon has allowed just 17 hits and seven walks in 42.0 innings pitched with 36 strikeouts and has gone at least six innings in every start this season.
Sacramento State rallied from an early deficit to win in the late innings three times in the last two weeks. The Hornets trailed 4-1 after the first inning at Nevada on March 14, trailed 2-0 at home to Minnesota after the third last March 16, and were down 2-0 after one inning at Wichita State last Wednesday but came back to win all three of those games. In all three comeback wins the Hornets took the lead in the eighth inning or later and scored the go-ahead run with two outs in the inning.
Working the Field
Sacramento State leads the WAC while ranking 23rd in NCAA Div. I with a .980 fielding percentage this season. The team has committed multiple errors in just three of 22 games this year and has eight starters with one or fewer errors all season.
More than Alright at Night
In their first full season under the lights at John Smith Field the Hornets are 5-2 in home night games and 7-2 overall at night this season. Sacramento State's pitching has been particularly impressive at night with a 3.14 ERA and .190 opposing batting average through nine night games. Pacific was the opponent for Sacramento State's first ever night game at John Smith Field last May.
After starting the season injured senior Max Karnos put together his best start of the year on Sunday, allowing just three hits with three strikeouts over five scoreless innings. The outing was the longest of the year for Karnos, who was one of the best starters in the WAC last season and earned all-WAC first team honors in his first year as a Hornet. He finished 7-3 last year with a 3.38 ERA, fifth best in the WAC. Karnos was especially effective in conference as he had the led all starting pitchers in WAC games going 6-2 with a 2.27 ERA.
Hitting the Road
Sacramento State played 13 of its first 18 games of the season at home but is now in a stretch with eight of nine games, including the first two WAC series, to be played on the road. The Hornets have three road wins this year and have won at least 10 road games in each of the last six seasons.
The Hornets opened Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play last week with the first of eight series against conference foes. Sacramento State was one of four teams in the league that began conference play with a winning record. The WAC has nine baseball-playing members this year, down one after North Dakota's program was discontinued following the 2016 season.
PJ Floyd has taken over as Sacramento State's starting second baseman and has been outstanding, hitting .308 with two home runs, nine RBIs, and 13 runs scored. He had a career-long nine game hitting streak and has reached base in 13 straight games into the Northern Colorado series. Floyd homered in the ninth inning in both games of Sacramento State's doubleheader at No. 11 Washington and a team-best .538 slugging percentage with a .468 on-base percentage.
Head Coach Reggie Christiansen is closing in on his 200th victory at Sacramento State, as in his seventh season he has a 198-182 record with the Hornets. Christiansen reached his 300th career victory in just 12 years as a head coach when the Hornets beat Northern Kentucky on Feb. 26.
WHIP it Good
Sacramento State pitchers rank 31st in NCAA Div. I with a 1.22 WHIP (Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched) this season. The Hornets are also 24th nationally with 2.94 walks allowed per nine innings and 49th with 8.00 hits allowed per nine innings so far this season.
Primarily hitting in the leadoff spot, junior center fielder Ian Dawkins has reached base in all but one game this season. He reached in each of the first 13 games of the season and is hitting .352 overall with a .438 on-base percentage. He leads the team with nine multi-hit games with a pair of four-hit contests and is currently on a career-high eight game hitting streak.
Beating the Big Guys
Penn State was the 11th Power 5 school that the Hornets have defeated in the last five seasons. The win over Minnesota was the team's second over the Gophers in four years as Sacramento State had at least one win against all four Power 5 teams it played this season (Washington, Washington State, Penn State, Minnesota). The Hornets also had wins over LSU, Auburn, Texas, Texas A&M, Arizona State, Oregon State, and Utah over the four previous seasons.
Sacramento State leads the WAC in opposing batting average (.236), strikeout to walk ratio (2.39), WHIP (1.22), and walks allowed per nine innings (2.94) and is second in ERA (3.47) and hits allowed per nine innings (7.25). In 2016 the team was second in the WAC in ERA, WHIP, and opposing batting average.
Outman Brings Them In
Sophomore James Outman leads the team with 20 runs batted in. Outman has five multi-RBI games with three 3-RBI games and a 4-RBI performance. He totaled 11 RBIs in the Northern Kentucky series and also ranks second the team with 17 runs scored.
Through the Ranks
Sacramento State's 7-1 win at No. 11 Washington gave the program a win over a top-20 team for the fourth consecutive season. The Hornets now have seven total wins over ranked teams in the last four 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.