SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State (22-22) plays its final midweek home game of the season looking for a season sweep of Nevada (13-29) at 6 p.m. Tuesday at John Smith Field. The Hornets beat the Wolf Pack 7-5 back on March 14 in Reno.
- In his last five starts Sacramento State freshman Parker Brahms is 4-0 with a 1.07 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and a .192 opposing batting average over 33.2 innings. The Hornets have won each of Brahms' last five starts, including wins over each of the top four teams in the current WAC standings.
- In their first full season under the lights at John Smith Field the Hornets are 11-6 in home night games and 15-6 overall at night this season. Sacramento State's pitching has been particularly impressive at night with a 2.74 ERA and .210 opposing batting average through 21 night games.
- Sacramento State leads the WAC in nearly every pitching category including ERA (3.77), opposing batting average (.241), strikeout to walk ratio (2.36), WHIP (1.26), and hits allowed per nine innings (8.15). Hornet pitchers have also hit the second fewest batters and are third in strikeouts.
- The Hornets are 7-11 in WAC play with two 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 league-leading Grand Canyon is still ineligible.
- Nevada is 4-18 on the road this season with a 2-9 record in non-conference road games. Nevada has a 5.87 team ERA this season but is hitting .271. The Hornets overcame a 5-3 deficit with four runs in the 9th to beat Nevada 7-5 in March in Reno, the team's third straight win over the Pack.
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 Nevada (13-29)
Nevada is just 4-18 on the road this season with a 2-9 record in non-conference road games. The Wolf Pack dropped two games at Air Force this past weekend after winning 2-of-3 games at home over Fresno State. Nevada has a 5.87 team ERA this season but is hitting .271 and ranks eighth in NCAA Div. I with 46 double plays turned in 42 games. When the Hornets and Wolf Pack met in Reno on March 14 Nevada scored four runs before recording an out in the bottom of the first but the Hornets rallied from a 5-3 deficit with four runs in the ninth inning to win 7-5. Ian Dawkins was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and PJ Floyd had two doubles and two RBIs in the victory. Jordan Pearce was 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs to lead Nevada. Sacramento State has won three straight meetings with Nevada, including a 5-2 home win last year at Raley Field.
In his last five starts Sacramento State freshman Parker Brahms is 4-0 with a 1.07 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and a .192 opposing batting average over 33.2 innings. The Hornets have won each of Brahms' last five starts, including wins over each of the top four teams in the current WAC standings. He earned WAC Pitcher of the Week honors after throwing six shutout innings in a win at Seattle U, allowing just three singles and two walks with six strikeouts against the Redhawks while delivering his second shutout of the season. He scattered seven hits and allowed just one run in seven innings vs. CSU Bakersfield, which entered the series with the 10th best team batting average in NCAA Div. I.
The Hornets beat CSU Bakersfield 11-1 in eight innings on Saturday, handing the Roadrunners their first WAC 10-run rule loss since joining the conference in 2013. Vinny Esposito tied the program record with two triples in the game and Kody Reynolds matched the single-game record with three doubles, becoming the first Hornet in 16 years to record a three-double game. Esposito became the first player in program history to record two triples and a home run in the same game. The Hornets totaled nine extra-base hits on the night, winning by the mercy rule in the eighth on a three-run double from senior Brandon Hunley.
The Hornets are 7-11 in league play with two 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 league-leading Grand Canyon is still ineligible, meaning that only the bottom two teams in the final standings will not compete in the postseason.
Working the Field
Sacramento State leads the WAC while ranking 11th in NCAA Div. I with a .981 fielding percentage this season. The Hornets have recorded six straight errorless games and have 24 error-free games this season. The Hornets have committed just 20 errors in 26 home games this year and has only 12 errors in 21 night games.
Over the last two weeks (nine games) Vinny Esposito and Kody Reynolds have combined for seven home runs, three triples, six doubles, and 21 RBIs batting third and fourth in the Hornet lineup. Esposito is hitting .405 in the stretch with three homers, two doubles, and three triple with a .452 on-base percentage and .865 slugging percentage while Reynolds has four home runs and four doubles and is hitting .385.
The Hornets lead the WAC in nearly every pitching category including ERA (3.77), opposing batting average (.241), strikeout to walk ratio (2.36), WHIP (1.26), and hits allowed per nine innings (8.15). Hornet pitchers have also hit the second fewest batters in the league (28) and are third with 318 strikeouts.
Liking the Lights
In their first full season under the lights at John Smith Field the Hornets are 11-6 in home night games and 15-6 overall at night this season. Sacramento State's pitching has been particularly impressive at night with a 2.74 ERA and .210 opposing batting average through 21 night games. Alex Dentoni and Tanner Olson have combined for 21.1 innings without allowing an earned run at night.
Vinny at the Bat
Vinny Esposito leads all WAC players with 26 RBIs in league games. Since the start of conference play on March 24 Esposito has hit .337 with seven home runs, six doubles, five triples, and 32 RBIs over 25 games. He is slugging .656 in the stretch and is 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts. He finished a home run shy of hitting for the cycle last Tuesday.
Sacramento State has hit 12 home runs in the last nine 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 25 homers over their last 22 contests. The squad ranks third in the WAC with 33 home runs this season.
Sacramento State had a string of 15 straight successful stolen base attempts and has been successful on 20 of its last 22 steal attempts. The Hornets lead the WAC with 48 stolen bases this year after leading the league and ranking 68th in the nation with 70 stolen bases last year. Ian Dawkins leads the team and is second on the WAC with 12 steals.
Three Two-Homer Games
James Outman became the third Hornet to record a two-homer game this year on April 22 at Seattle U. 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.
Best in the WAC
Senior pitcher Justin Dillon leads the WAC in WHIP (0.94) and is second in strikeouts (76) and opposing batting average (.193). The Hornet senior ranks 28th in NCAA Div. I in WHIP and 46th in hits allowed per nine innings after leading the nation in both of those categories earlier this year. Dillon has allowed just 53 hits and 18 walks in 75.2 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 39 of the 44 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 19 multi-hit games with a pair of four-hit contests. He is third in the WAC with 62 hits and second in the league with 12 stolen bases while playing outstanding defense with just one error. Dawkins is hitting .372 in WAC play.
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.
Walk It Off
Sacramento State picked up its third walk-off win beating CSU Bakersfield 11-1 in 8 innings via the WAC 10-run rule. The team's second walk-off win of the season was a 2-1 victory in 12 innings over New Mexico State when 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 second on the team with five wins and leads the squad with three saves while posing a 2.10 ERA over 34.1 innings. Olson has made 25 pitching appearances this season and is 3-2 with a 2.25 ERA. Olson has walked only two batters this season while striking out 21 over 24.0 innings pitched, allowing a run in just three of his 25 appearances.
Sacramento State beat UC Davis, 1-0, on April 11 with its only hit a James Outman home run in the second inning. Both teams had only two base runners through the first eight innings and the game took just one hour and 45 minutes, Sacramento State's shortest home game of the season by 22 minutes. It was the quickest nine-inning game played by the Hornets since a 1-0 home win over Louisiana Tech on April 27, 2013 that lasted just 1:42.
Happy at Home
The Hornets have had winning home records in four straight seasons and are 77-40 at home over the last five years. The team is 14-12 at home this year and has had at least 16 home wins in five straight seasons.
WHIP it Good
Sacramento State pitchers lead the WAC and rank 30th in NCAA Div. I with a 1.26 WHIP (Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched) this season. The Hornets are also 35th nationally with 8.15 hits allowed per nine innings and 43rd with 3.22 walks allowed per nine innings this season.