SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State baseball team will look to extend their winning streak as they host the Pacific Tigers in a midweek, non-conference match up on Tuesday night at John Smith Field.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 pm PT.
Watch Your Hornets
Tuesday night's game can be seen live online at WACSports.com/watch. The video stream will be accompanied by audio from Hornets play-by-play broadcaster Anthony Rifenburg. An audio-only stream is available via HornetSports.com/Radio. Live stats will be available on HornetStats.com while in-game updates will be provided on Twitter, @SacStBaseball. All links can also be found by visiting the 2018 Baseball Schedule on HornetSports.com.
- Sacramento State enters Tuesday's game against the Pacific Tigers having won seven straight games. The streak is their longest of the season and their longest since winning eight straight at the end of the 2017 campaign.
- The Hornets and Tigers have faced each other once already this season, another Tuesday night game in February, at Pacific. Although the game was close early on, Sacramento State pulled away late for a 9-2 win on the road.
- Senior utility man PJ Floyd was named the Western Athletic Conference's Hitter of the Week after slugging three home runs, driving in nine, and scoring seven runs in five games.
- Matt Smith has three hits in back-to-back games, matching his career-high for most hits in a single game. He has hit safely in seven straight games, the longest active streak on the team, and leads the team with a .341 batting average.
- Pacific enters Tuesday night's game with a 12-18 record, including a 4-8 mark in WCC play. They have won three of their last five. This season, the Tigers are hitting .242. As a staff, they own a 4.99 ERA.
By The Numbers
7: Straight wins for Sacramento State, their longest winning streak of the season. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games.
8: Home runs for Sacramento State last week. Seven of them came in their three-game sweep of Chicago State.
7: Straight games played at home for the Hornets, their longest homestand of the season. They are home until Sun., April 15.
Scouting The Tigers
- The Pacific Tigers enter Tuesday night's game with a 12-18 record, including a 4-8 mark in WCC competition.
- Sacramento State took the first meeting between the two teams, 9-2, in late February.
- Since their first meeting, the Tigers are 9-12. Sacramento State is 13-9.
- As a team, Pacific is hitting .242 with a .323 on base percentage. They are slugging .329. On the hill, the Tigers own a 4.99 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .279 against them.
- Catcher James Free leads the Tigers with a .305 batting average through 30 games played. He has tallied 32 hits with five home runs, three doubles, and 17 RBI.
- On the mound, Cooper Cassad paces the Pacific pitching staff with a 3-2 record and a 2.47 ERA in 12 appearances, including four starts. He has three saves and a 32:11 K:BB ratio.
Against Chicago State
Sacramento State and Pacific have faced each other 77 times dating back to the 1986 season. The Hornets hold the edge in the all-time series, 43-34, and have won the last three matchups between these two teams. Sacramento State's last loss to Pacific came at home, late in the 2016 season, a 9-6 loss in what was the first ever night game under the lights at John Smith Field.
Familiar with the WCC
Through 30 games this season, Sacramento State has played 11 games - over one third of their season - against West Coast Conference teams (two vs. San Francisco, one vs. Pacific, two vs. Gonzaga, four vs. Santa Clara, two vs. Saint Mary's) and are 4-7 in those games. Tuesday's game against Pacific is the team's last WCC matchup of the 2018 regular season. Last year, the Hornets played just six games against WCC opponents, going 2-4.
About Last Series
Sacramento State steamrolled through Chicago State in their last series, sweeping the Cougars and forcing the implementation of the WAC's 10-run rule in all three games, winning 10-0, 13-1, and 10-0. The Hornets scored 33 runs in just 18 offensive innings while racking up 37 hits, including seven home runs. The pitching staff allowed just one run in 21 frames, food for a 0.43 ERA, and scattered nine hits over the series.
Fox On the Mound
Veteran reliever Ty Fox will take the mound for Sacramento State on Tuesday night as the Hornets host Pacific. The start will be Fox's second this season, though it will be the right-hander's 11th appearance overall. In his only other start, Fox went three innings at home against Gonzaga, allowing two runs (both earned) on three hits and two walks. For the season, Fox is 0-2 with a 3.26 ERA (7 er, 19.1 ip).
On A Win Streak
Sacramento State has now won seven straight games, marking its longest win streak of the season and its longest since winning eight straight at the end of the 2017 campaign. During this current seven-game win streak, the Hornets are averaging nearly nine runs per game while hitting .333 as a team. The pitching staff has held opponents to a .216 batting average and owns a 1.89 ERA. While the numbers are somewhat inflated after last weekend's series against Chicago State, the Hornets are outscoring their opponents 60-12 during the current streak.
The Century Mark
With three wins over the weekend, Sacramento State head coach Reggie Christiansen passed the 100-win mark in WAC competition. Currently in his eighth season as head coach for the Hornets, Christiansen is 102-79 (.565) against WAC opponents. He is the only active WAC coach with more than 100 conference wins (Andy Stankiewicz at Grand Canyon is next with 79). Since taking over as the head coach for the Hornets, Christiansen is 232-214 overall.
Floyd Named Hitter of the Week
PJ Floyd was a big part in helping the Hornets go 5-0 last week and was named the WAC's Hitter of the Week for his performance. In a two-game non-conference series with Saint Mary's, he was 2-for-6 with a home run, two runs scored and five RBIs. He followed that up with a 4-for-10 performance in a three-game sweep of Chicago State, hitting two more home runs and adding five more runs and four more RBIs to his weekly totals. His .818 slugging percentage in WAC play leads the league and his three home runs in six WAC contests is tied for the top spot.
Dawkins Hit Streak Snapped
Senior Ian Dawkins had his season-long hit streak come to an end last weekend at 12 games. Dawkins's streak is the longest by a Hornets player this year (Steven Moretto is second with eight) and was two games shy of his career-long hit streak, 14, from March 14-April 5 of last season. During the streak, Dawkins hit .420 with nine RBIs, a double, and two home runs. He also walked six times and was hit by a pitch, giving him a .491 on-base percentage over those 12 games. During the streak, Dawkins had two or more hits eight times. He raised his batting average nearly 100 points over those 13 games, climbing from .211 on March 11 to .308 on April 7. He now has a .310 average, second best on the club.
Tale of Two Quarters
Now 30 games into the season, Sacramento State is slightly over the halfway mark for the 2018 campaign (55 total games). Through the first quarter of the season, the Hornets fell out to a 5-10 record through their first 15 games. They were hitting just .220 as a team and scoring just over four runs per game while the pitching staff posted an above-average 4.04 ERA. Since then, Sacramento State is 11-4 over their last 15 games, hitting .277 as a club and scoring more than six runs per contest. The pitching staff has stepped up, as well, posting a 3.82 ERA in those 15 games.
Esposito Going Yard
After finishing the 2017 season with 10 home runs, Vinny Esposito entered Sacramento State's 28th game of the 2018 season still looking for his first big fly. He found it in game one of Saturday's doubleheader against Chicago State, mashing a deep fly ball to center field. He added his second home run of the season later that day in the second game of the doubleheader. A senior, Esposito leads current Hornets with 21 career home runs, though junior James Outman isn't far behind with 18.
Torres's First Career Jack
Freshman infielder Keith Torres joined the home run barrage over the weekend, slugging his first career homer in game two of Saturday's doubleheader. The two-run shot cleared the wall out in left field. He is the latest freshman to homer, joining both Steven Moretto (5) and Dylan McPhillips (1). Overall, it was a big series for Torres, who went 4-for-8 with a double, home run, three runs scored, and three RBIs in three games.
Going the Distance
Both Parker Brahms and Austin Root pitched seven-inning complete games this past weekend as the Hornets 10-runned the Cougars in each of their starts. Brahms allowed just one hit over four shutout innings while striking out seven, though he walked four. Root allowed a single run on four hits over seven innings, striking out six while walking none. The two outings allowed Sacramento State to give their battered bullpen a much-deserved break.
Tuesday's game against Pacific will be Sacramento State's fourth straight home game and mark the midpoint of their season-long seven game homestand. Previously, the Hornets' longest homestand was five games, from Feb. 16 through Feb. 23 to open the season. The Hornets have already had one road trip of nine games and will have another nine-game trip from April 17 through May 1. The Hornets are looking to make the most of their remaining 13 home games on the schedule. Overall, Sacramento State is 9-6 at home this season, compared to 7-7 on the road (0-1 neutral).
Keeping It Clean
Sacramento State has played clean defense all year, but especially over their last 10 games. Overall, the Hornets own a .978 fielding percentage, the third best mark in the WAC and the 27th best in all of NCAA Div. I. Over their last 10 games, the Hornets own a .991 fielding percentage, having committed just three errors in 81.0 innings. Sacramento State has traditionally fielded a strong defensive team, finishing one or two in the WAC in each of the last five seasons.
None of the Walks
As a staff, Sacramento State pitchers own a 2.40 walks allowed per nine innings, the best mark in the WAC and the second best mark in all of NCAA Div. I baseball. The Hornets have walked just 70 batters in 263 innings this season, compared to 216 strikeouts. Austin Root is second in the conference and 41st in the nation with a 1.37 walks allowed per nine innings. Parker Brahms is fourth in the conference with a 1.84 walks per nine.
Keep Them Under Six
Sacramento State is 16-4 this season when they are able to hold their opponents to five runs or fewer. When giving up six or more runs, the Hornets are winless, going 0-10 in those 10 games.
Sacramento State has scored first in 15 of their last 17 games. The Hornets are 10-5 in those 15 games. For the season, Sacramento State has scored first 20 times in 30 games and is 13-7 when they do.
WAC Preseason Coach Poll
The Hornets were picked to finish third in the WAC in the 2018 Preseason Coaches Poll. They received 51 points, including one first place vote, finishing behind first-place Grand Canyon (61 points, five votes) and New Mexico State (54 points, two votes). The rest of the conference breaks down as follows: 4. Seattle U (46), 5. CSU Bakersfield (32), 6. Utah Valley (30), 7. UT Rio Grande Valley (23), 8. Northern Colorado (19), 9. Chicago State (8).
All-Conference Preseason Team
Sacramento State had three players named to the 2018 All-WAC Preseason Team, the most since they had five named to the 2015 team. This year's trio is Vinny Esposito (First Base), Ian Dawkins (Outfield), and James Outman (Outfield). The selection is Esposito's second (also 2016).
Six Times Thirty
With 32 wins in 2017, Sacramento State recorded its sixth consecutive 30-win season, the longest such streak since a string of nine straight 30-win seasons from 1985-1993. The team has also recorded double-digit conference wins in each of the last six years.
Best In the West
Sacramento State and baseball powerhouse Cal State Fullerton is the only two NCAA Div. I baseball programs in California to have won 30 or more games in each of the last six seasons. They have just 35 fewer wins during that stretch than Cal State Fullerton.
-- HornetSports --