SACRAMENTO, Calif. - With three WAC series left to play Sacramento State (21-20, 6-9 WAC) plays an important home series against CSU Bakersfield (20-16, 6-6 WAC) starting at 6 p.m. Friday with games to follow at 6 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday at John Smith Field.
- Sacramento State has hit 11 home runs in the last six games. The Hornets recorded their first five-homer game since March 2014 in the 9-0 win at Seattle U and hit five homers over the two games against San Francisco. As a team the Hornets have hit 24 homers over their last 19 contests.
- In the last two weeks (six games) Vinny Esposito and Kody Reynolds have each driven in seven runs and are both slugging .840, having combined for six home runs. Esposito is hitting .440 in the stretch with two homers, two doubles, and a triple with while Reynolds has hit four home runs.
- Sacramento States lead the WAC in nearly every pitching category including ERA (3.72), opposing batting average (.237), strikeout to walk ratio (2.32), WHIP (1.24), and hits allowed per nine innings (8.00). Hornet pitchers have also hit the second fewest batters in the league and are third in strikeouts.
- Parker Brahms continued his outstanding freshman season earning WAC Pitcher of the Week honors after throwing six shutout innings in a win Saturday at Seattle U. The freshman allowed just three singles and two walks and tallied six strikeouts against the Redhawks for his second shutout.
- CSU Bakersfield leads the WAC and ranks 10th in NCAA Div. I with a .317 team batting average. The Roadrunners have the top three hitters in the league, with Ryan Grotjohn second in the nation hitting .429. However, the Roadrunners are last among 299 Div. I teams with just three home runs.
All Sacramento State home games stream live on HornetSports.com/Radio with Anthony Rifenburg and Noah Alvarez on the call. Links for the 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 CSU Bakersfield (20-16, 6-6 WAC)
CSU Bakersfield leads the WAC and ranks 10th in NCAA Div. I with a .317 team batting average. The Roadrunners have the top three hitters in the league, with Ryan Grotjohn second in the nation hitting .429 and Andrew Penner seventh nationally hitting .406. Despite the high batting averages the Roadrunners have shown virtually no power, ranking last among 299 Div. I teams with just three home runs all season. CSUB has a 4.72 team ERA with ace Max Carter, who also plays first base and is hitting .346, 6-1 with a 3.12 ERA over nine starts. In two other WAC road series the Runners lost all three games at Grand Canyon and took 2-of-3 at Chicago State. CSUB had a non-conference series at Arizona State last weekend and won the finale. Bakersfield won 2-of-3 games over the Hornets in Bakersfield last season and owns a 4-2 all-time advantage in games played in Sacramento.
In the last two weeks (six games) Vinny Esposito and Kody Reynolds have each driven in seven runs and are both slugging .840, having combined for six home runs. Esposito is hitting .440 in the stretch with two homers, two doubles, and a triple with a .500 on-base percentage while Reynolds has four home runs and is hitting .360.
Sacramento State has hit 11 home runs in the last six games. The Hornets recorded their first five-homer game since March 2014 in the 9-0 win at Seattle U and hit five homers over the two games against San Francisco. Kody Reynolds and Vinny Esposito homered in both USF games and. James Outman hit two long balls in the 9-0 win and as a team the Hornets have hit 24 homers over their last 19 contests. The squad ranks third in the WAC with 32 home runs this season.
Parker Brahms continued his outstanding freshman season earning WAC Pitcher of the Week honors after throwing six shutout innings in a win Saturday at Seattle U. The freshman from Calabasas allowed just three singles and two walks and tallied six strikeouts against the Redhawks while delivering his second shutout of the season. The Hornets have won each of Brahms' last four starts including wins over WAC leaders New Mexico State and Grand Canyon. In his last four starts Brahms is 3-0 with a 1.01 ERA, .168 opposing batting average, and a 0.89 WHIP with 20 strikeouts.
With two wins at Seattle U the Hornets moved to 6-9 in league play with three conference series remaining. Sacramento State enters the week in sixth place but four of the five teams ahead have played three less WAC games. The top six teams qualify for the WAC Tournament but Grand Canyon is still ineligible, meaning that only the bottom two teams in the final standings will not compete in the postseason.
Vinny at the Bat
Vinny Esposito leads all WAC players with 21 RBIs in league games. Since the start of conference play on March 24 Esposito has hit .337 with six home runs, six doubles, three triples, and 27 RBIs over 22 games. He is slugging .686 in the stretch and is 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. He finished a home run shy of hitting for the cycle on Tuesday.
The Hornets lead the WAC in nearly every pitching category including ERA (3.72), opposing batting average (.237), strikeout to walk ratio (2.32), WHIP (1.24), and hits allowed per nine innings (8.00). Hornet pitchers have also hit the second fewest batters in the league (25) and are third with 302 strikeouts.
Sacramento State had a string of 15 straight successful stolen base attempts before a caught stealing last Saturday. The team has been successful on 19 of its last 21 steal attempts and leads the WAC with 47 stolen bases this year after leading the league and ranking 68th in the nation with 70 stolen bases last year. The squad was a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen bases vs. New Mexico State and Ian Dawkins leads the team with 12 steals this year.
Three Two-Homer Games
Last Saturday at Seattle U James Outman became the third Hornet to record a two-homer game this season. Andrew McWilliam hit two home runs in the first game of the doubleheader at Utah Valley on March 31 before Vinny Esposito hit a pair of two-run homers against Grand Canyon on April 8. The three 2-homer games equal the program's most in a season since the 2009 team had six such games.
Working the Field
Sacramento State leads the WAC while ranking 20th in NCAA Div. I with a .979 fielding percentage this season. The Hornets have 21 error-free games and have committed just 20 errors in 23 home games this year. The squad has only 11 errors in 18 night games.
Best in the WAC
Senior pitcher Justin Dillon leads the WAC in WHIP (0.84), strikeouts (73), opposing batting average (.181), and walks allowed per nine innings (1.77). The Hornet senior ranks 11th in NCAA Div. I in WHIP and 24th in hits allowed per nine innings after leading the nation in both of those categories earlier this year. Dillon has allowed just 46 hits and 14 walks in 71.1 innings pitched.
Ian Does it All
Junior center fielder Ian Dawkins is the only Hornet that has started every game this season and has reached base in 36 of the 41 games. He reached in each of the first 13 games of the season and had a 14-game hitting streak into WAC play. He leads the team with 18 multi-hit games with a pair of four-hit contests. He is tied for second in the WAC with 58 hits and second in the league with 12 stolen bases while playing outstanding defense with just one error. Dawkins is hitting .385 in WAC play.
Liking the Lights
In their first full season under the lights at John Smith Field the Hornets are 10-5 in home night games and 14-5 overall at night this season. Sacramento State's pitching has been particularly impressive at night with a 2.75 ERA and .204 opposing batting average through 19 night games. Alex Dentoni and Tanner Olson have combined to throw 20.1 innings without allowing an earned run at night.
First League Losses
In consecutive weeks Sacramento State handed a previously unbeaten, WAC-leading team its first conference loss. On April 8 Parker Brahms allowed just one run over 7.2 innings and Vinny Esposito hit a pair of 2-run homers as the Hornets handed Grand Canyon, which was 7-0 in WAC play, a 7-1 loss. Less than a week later Brahms pitched another gem, allowing just one unearned run in seven innings, and James Outman had a walk-off RBI single in the 12th when the Hornets beat New Mexico State 2-1, handing the Aggies their first league loss after also starting 7-0.
Outman Brings Them In
Sophomore James Outman leads the Hornets with 34 runs batted in with eight multi-RBI games with five games with three or more runs driven in. He totaled 11 RBIs in the Northern Kentucky series and also leads the team with 33 runs, scoring seven times in the last six games.
Walk It Off
Sacramento State picked up its second walk-off win of the season beating New Mexico State 2-1 in 12 innings on April 14. James Outman delivered the walk-off knock, singling up the middle to drive in Blake Edmonson from second base. Earlier this year the Hornets had a 6-5 walk-off victory over Northern Kentucky in 11 innings, winning on an infield single from Ian Dawkins.
Junior Tanner Olson and sophomore Alex Dentoni have anchored a strong Hornet bullpen this year. Dentoni is tied for the team lead with five wins and leads the squad with three saves while posing a 1.69 ERA over 32.0 innings. He has gone six straight appearances and 12.1 straight innings without allowing an earned run. Olson has made 23 pitching appearances this season and is 3-2 with a 2.57 ERA. Olson has walked only two batters this season while striking out 19 over 21.0 innings pitched, allowing a run in just three of his 23 appearances.