SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State (24-25) breaks from Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play this weekend with its final road games of the regular season in a series at San Diego (30-16-1). Game times are 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday at 1 p.m. Sunday.
- In his last six starts Sacramento State freshman Parker Brahms is 5-0 with a 0.84 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and a .174 opposing batting average over 42.2 innings. The Hornets have won each of Brahms' last six starts, with the freshman recording his first complete game shutout in a three-hitter Saturday.
- The Hornets are 15-8 in night games this season. The team's pitching has been particularly impressive at night with a 3.03 ERA and .227 opposing batting average through 23 night games. The team is 15-13 in non-conference games this year, winning 2-of-3 games over Washington State.
- Sacramento State leads the WAC in nearly every pitching category including ERA (3.83), opposing batting average (.247), strikeout to walk ratio (2.26), WHIP (1.28), and hits allowed per nine innings (8.40). Hornet pitchers have also hit the second fewest batters and are third with 343 strikeouts.
- The Hornets are 9-12 in league play with one conference series remaining. Sacramento State enters the week in fifth place but every other league team will play conference games this weekend. The top six teams qualify for the WAC Tournament but league-leading Grand Canyon is still ineligible.
- San Diego has been ranked as high as No. 19 in the nation this season and was 27-9 on April 20 but has gone 3-7-1 since. USD's pitchers rank ninth in NCAA Div. I with 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings. The Toreros played a 14-inning game at UC Irvine on Tuesday, winning 5-1 in just under five hours.
All three games at San Diego will stream live on HornetSports.com/Radio with Anthony Rifenburg and Andrew Tomsky on the call. USD will also provide a live video stream on TheW.TV. Links for the 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 San Diego (30-16-1, 15-9 WCC)
San Diego has been ranked as high as No. 19 in NCAA Div. I this season, having started the year with a 19-6 record through 25 games. The Toreros were 27-9 on April 20 but have gone 3-7-1 since then. USD played a 14-inning game on Tuesday at UC Irvine, winning 5-1 in a game that lasted nearly five hours. San Diego has wins over No. 6 Vanderbilt and No. 8 Cal State Fullerton this year and its pitchers rank ninth in the nation averaging 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings. USD also leads the West Coast Conference in doubles and are second in home runs and slugging percentage hitting .283 as a team. Roman Garcia is ninth in the country with 20 doubles and has 12 home runs and 46 RBIs hitting .316 and Jay Schuyler is hitting .351. Sacramento State has not faced San Diego since February 2001 but was victorious in the last two games of a three-game series played in San Diego.
In his last six starts Sacramento State freshman Parker Brahms is 5-0 with a 0.84 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and a .174 opposing batting average over 42.2 innings. The Hornets have won each of Brahms' last six starts, with the freshman recording his first complete game shutout in a three-hitter Saturday at Chicago State. 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. Brahms now leads all WAC pitchers with a 2.20 ERA and is tied with teammate Justin Dillon for the league lead with a 1.00 WHIP. His current 2.20 ERA would be the seventh best in a season in program history.
The Hornets are 9-12 in league play with one conference series remaining. Sacramento State enters the week in fifth place but every other league team will play conference games this weekend while the Hornets will not. Only the Hornets and Grand Canyon have played 21 conference games to this point with the rest having played 18. 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.
Playing their final non-conference games of the season this weekend, the Hornets are 15-13 in non-conference games this year with series wins over Washington State and Northern Kentucky. The team has four road non-conference wins, including a victory at then-No. 11 Washington. Ricky Martinez has hit .340 in non-conference games while PJ Floyd is hitting .306 and James Outman has 23 RBIs in 28 non-league games.
Working the Field
Sacramento State leads the WAC while ranking 10th in NCAA Div. I with a .981 fielding percentage this season. The Hornets have 27 error-free games this season and have committed just 3 errors in the last 11 games, going error free in both the CSU Bakersfield and Chicago State series. The single season program record for fielding percentage is .979, first recorded in 2012 and matched in 2013.
The Hornets lead the WAC in nearly every pitching category including ERA (3.83), opposing batting average (.247), strikeout to walk ratio (2.26), WHIP (1.28), and hits allowed per nine innings (8.40). Hornet pitchers have also hit the second fewest batters in the league (32) and are third with 343 strikeouts.
Liking the Lights
In their first full season under the lights at John Smith Field the Hornets are 11-7 in home night games and 15-8 overall at night this season. Sacramento State's pitching has been particularly impressive at night with a 3.03 ERA and .227 opposing batting average through 23 night games. Vinny Esposito is hitting .333 with four home runs and 20 RBIs in 21 night games played this year. The Hornets are also 25-for-30 in steals at night.
Over the last 14 games Vinny Esposito and Kody Reynolds have combined for eight home runs, three triples, eight doubles, and 29 RBIs. Esposito is hitting .379 in the stretch with three homers, three doubles, and three triples with a .431 on-base percentage and .690 slugging percentage while Reynolds has five home runs and five doubles and is hitting .333. Reynolds hit his first career grand slam last Saturday at Chicago State.
Sacramento State had a string of 15 straight successful stolen base attempts and has been successful on 29 of its last 33 steal attempts. The Hornets lead the WAC with 57 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 third in the WAC with 14 steals.
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 43 of the 48 games. He had a 14-game hitting streak into WAC play and also had an 11-game hit streak. He leads the WAC with 22 multi-hit games with a pair of four-hit contests. He leads the WAC with 69 hits and is third in the league with 14 stolen bases while playing outstanding defense with just one error.
Sacramento State has hit 14 home runs in the last 14 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 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. The squad ranks third in the WAC with 35 home runs this season.
Senior Justin Dillon leads the WAC with 81 strikeouts, having struck out at least five batters in all but three games this season. He has three double-digit strikeout games, including a program record tying 13 in the no-hitter against Northern Kentucky. He has entered the top-10 in program history with 160 career strikeouts.
Vinny at the Bat
Vinny Esposito is tied for the WAC lead with 29 RBIs in league games. Since the start of conference play on March 24 Esposito has hit .336 with seven home runs, seven doubles, five triples, and 36 RBIs over 30 games. He is slugging .655 in the stretch and is 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts.
California is among the strongest states in the nation for Div. I baseball, and over the last five years the Hornets rank among the best teams in the state. Among 24 Division-I baseball teams in California, the Hornets recorded the 7th most wins over the last five years. The team won 168 total games from 2012-16, more than several perennial postseason qualifiers including Pepperdine, Stanford, Long Beach State, Cal, and Fresno State. San Diego had just three more wins than the Hornets.
The Hornets made some history in an 11-1 mercy rule win in eight innings over CSU Bakersfield on April 29. 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.
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.
WHIP it Good
Sacramento State pitchers lead the WAC and rank 30th in NCAA Div. I with a 1.28 WHIP (Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched) this season. The Hornets are also tied for 24th in the nation with five shutouts and ranks 39th nationally with just 3.13 walks allowed per nine innings this season.
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.
Five Times Thirty
The Hornets are just six wins shy of recording their sixth straight 30-win season. The current streak of five straight 30-win years is the longest such streak since a string of nine straight 30-win seasons from 1985-1993. The team has also recorded winning WAC records and double-digit conference wins in each of the last five years.