SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State baseball team will conclude their stretch of nine straight road games with a three-game weekend series on the road at conference opponent UT Rio Grande Valley.
The Hornets (22-17, 9-3 WAC) are coming off a big 4-1 win over Cal and will go up against the WAC's fifth-place team, the UTRGV Vaqueros (20-21, 5-7 WAC).
The series starts Friday night at 7:00 pm MST/5:00 pm PDT. Saturday's game is scheduled for 6:00 pm MST/4:00 pm PDT while Sunday's finale will start at noon MST/10:00 am PDT.
Watch The Hornets Live
This weekend's series at UTRGV will stream live online on the WAC Digital Network. Catch the Hornets play-by-play with radio broadcaster Anthony Rifenburg on HornetSports.com/Radio. Live stats will be available on UTRGV's sidearmstats.com while in-game updates will be provided on Twitter, @SacStBaseball.
All links can be found by visiting the 2018 Baseball Schedule on HornetSports.com.
- Sacramento State picked up a big win over the Pac-12's California Golden Bears Tuesday night, 4-1. The Hornets used six pitchers in the game and held Cal and their top-ranked offense to just two hits on the night. Sacramento State scored all four of their runs in the second inning.
- Tanner Dalton was named the Western Athletic Conference's Pitcher of the Week for his performance last week. In three appearances, Dalton tossed four shutout innings, allowed just one hit, and was a perfect 2-for-2 in save opportunities.
- Sacramento State's 8-6 win last Sunday was their first win this season when allowing their opponent to score six or more runs. Entering Sunday's game, the Hornets were just 0-12 when their opponents scored six or more. When holding other teams to five or fewer runs, Sacramento State is 20-5.
- The Hornets pitching staff owns a collective 2.41 walks per nine innings, the second best mark in all of NCAA Div. I, just behind the College of Charleston (2.22). Austin Root's 1.39 walks per nine leads the team and is the 36th best individual ratio in the country.
- UTRGV enters this weekend's series with a 20-21 overall record, including a 5-7 mark against WAC teams. The Vaqueros are also coming off a win over a Pac-12 team, beating Washington, 5-3, Monday night in Washington. UTRGV is 2-3 over their last five games.
By The Numbers
2: Hits allowed by Sacramento State pitchers in Tuesday night's 4-1 win over Cal. The Bears were hitless after the third.
5: Games this season in which the Hornets have held their opponents to three hits or fewer, including two one-hit games.
4: Wins against Pac-12 teams this season, the most since the Hornets won four against the Pac-12 in 2014.
Scouting The Vaqueros
- The UTRGV Vaqueros enter this weekend's series with a 20-21 overall record, including a 5-7 mark in WAC
- Like the Hornets, the Vaqueros are also coming off a road win over a Pac-12 team, having beaten Washington 5-3 Monday night. They are 2-3 over their last five games and 4-6 over their last 10.
- As a team, UTGRV is hitting .252, just ahead of Sacramento State, and owns a .352 slugging percentage. Their pitching staff ranks fourth in the WAC with a 4.56 ERA.
- UTRGV was picked to finish seventh in the WAC, receiving just 23 points in the 2018 WAS Coaches Preseason Poll. At 5-7, they are currently fifth in the nine-team conference.
- Offensively, the Vaqueros are led by Coleman Grubbs, who is hitting .320 over 41 games. Austin Siener and Ivan Estrella are teid for the team lead with four home runs. Jorge Flores, who is 6-3 with a 3.36 ERA, was the WAC's Pitcher of the Week on March 26.
Sacramento State is 9-3 all-time against UTRGV and has won the last five meetings between the two clubs. Their last series was last May at John Smith Field, a weekend series which the Hornets swept. Sacramento State has not lost to the Vaqueros since April 22 of the 2016 season, the series-opener on the road in Edinburg.
About Last Game
Sacramento State won their four game against a Pac-12 opponent this season, defeating Cal and their top-ranked offense, 4-1, in Berkeley. The Hornets held the Bears, who entered the game with the nation's eighth-best batting average, to just two hits over nine innings. Their fourth win against the Pac-12 is the most since the team won four against the conference in 2014.
The Hornets enter their fifth weekend of conference play with a 9-3 record, good for second in the WAC. They trail the league-leading Grand Canyon Antelopes (10-2) by just one game, though they hold a slim 1.5 game lead over the third-place NM State Aggies. The Hornets lead the conference in a number of categories, both offensively and defensively, including ERA (3.80), shutouts (7), stolen bases per game (1.44), strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.17), and more.
Dating back to last season, the Hornets have won their last six series against WAC opponents, either by sweep or by taking two of three. Currently, Grand Canyon leads the conference and the nation with a 13-series win streak against conference opponents. Their last conference series loss came at the end of the 2016 season at Sacramento State.
Playing for the Big Inning
Sacramento State has scored four or more runs in an inning 16 times this season, including two in one game (2/27 at Pacific). In games in which the Hornets score four runs or more in an inning, they are 11-5.
Dalton Named Pitcher of the Week
Junior reliever Tanner Dalton was named the WAC Pitcher of the Week for his performance during the week of April 16-22. He appeared in three of Sacramento State's four games, throwing four shutout innings while allowing just one hit. He was a perfect 2-for-2 in save opportunities. Dalton leads the team in appearances (19) and has the team's second best ERA at 1.93.
Tanner Dalton's Pitcher of the Week recognition was Sacramento State's third consecutive WAC Pitcher or Hitter of the Week Award. Parker Brahms took home the Pitcher of the Week nod two weeks ago for his record-setting 14-strikeout performance while PJ Floyd was named Hitter of the Week before that after hitting three home runs and driving in nine in five games. Brahms also won earlier this season, giving the Hornets four Player of the Week awards so far this year.
Over their last 15 games, the Hornets are 12-3 (.800), including 8-2 against conference opponents. After starting the season 5-10 through their first 15 games, Sacramento State has gone 17-7, good for a .708 winning percentage.
Home Run Race
PJ Floyd and James Outman entered last weekend's series at CSU Bakersfield with six home runs each, tied for the team lead. After Floyd hit a home run in the fourth inning of Saturday's game, Outman followed almost immediately, hitting one his own in the fifth, to pull even. Outman tied for the team lead with 11 home runs last season and is on pace for 10 this season. Floyd, whose seven home runs are already a career-best, has played in fewer games than Outman and is on pace for 11.
On The Road
This weekend's series at UTRGV will be the last three games of a nine game stretch in which Sacramento State does not play at home. The Hornets are 4-1 through the first five of this stretch but now face challenge on the road at UTRGV. So far this season, Sacramento State is 11-8 on the road (plus 0-1 neutral). They hit .245 as a team while averaging almost six runs a game on the road compared to .246 and just over five at home.
Keep Them Under Six
Sacramento State won their first game of the season when allowing their opponent to score six or more runs last Sunday, defeating CSU Bakersfield, 8-6. For the season, Sacramento State is now 1-13 when they give up six or more runs. When they hold their opponents to five runs or fewer, the Hornets are 20-5.
Sacramento State Stealers
James Outman and Matt Smith lead the WAC in stolen bases with 12 each. As a team, the Hornets lead the conference and are 48th in all of NCAA Div. I with 56 total stolen bases. 10 different Hornets players have stolen at least one base while six have stolen four or more.
The Hornets have scored first in 26 of 39 games this season (67%) and are 19-7 (.731) in those 26 games. When their opponents score first, the Hornets are just 3-10.
None of the Walks
As a staff, Sacramento State pitchers own a 2.41 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 92 batters in 343 innings this season, compared to 292 strikeouts. Against WAC opponents, those numbers are even better: 2.16 walks-per-nine, 24 walks and 101 strikeouts in 100 innings.
Best Staff In Baseball
Sacramento State's pitching staff is among the best in not just the WAC but in all of NCAA Div. I baseball through the season's first 39 games.
- 3.80 ERA (1st WAC, 69th NCAA)
- Seven shutouts (1st WAC, 3rd NCAA)
- 3.17 strikeout-to-walk ratio (1st WAC, 3rd NCAA)
- 1.26 WHIP (1st WAC, 26th NCAA)
- 2.41 walks-per-nine innings (1st WAC, 2nd NCAA)
Sacramento State's Vinny Esposito has yet to commit an error in 297 chances, far and away the most in the WAC. The next closest is Seattle U's Jack Reisinger, who has not committed an error in 160 chances. Ian Dawkins has the fourth most attempts (85) in the WAC without having committed an error. Sacramento State is the only team in the league with two players with perfect fielding percentages and more than 70 chances. The Hornets have traditionally fielded strong defensive teams, finishing first or second in the WAC in fielding percentage in each of the last five years.
The Century Mark
With three wins against Chicago State earlier this season, 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 106-81 (.567) against WAC opponents. He is the only active WAC coach with more than 100 conference wins. Since taking over as the head coach for the Hornets, Christiansen is 241-217 (.528) overall.
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 --