SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State baseball team returns home for the first time since April 14 as they welcome conference opponent Seattle U to Sacramento.
The Hornets (24-19, 11-4 WAC) hold just a one game lead over the Redhawks (29-13, 10-5 WAC) in the conference standings, making this weekend's series a pivotal one.
It's also Alumni weekend at John Smith Field. On Saturday, May 5, the Hornets baseball program will celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the 1988 World Series team, commemorate former head coach Cal Boyes by retiring his #37 jersey, giveaway 250 Rhys Hoskins posters, and more. Get all the details online here.
First pitch on both Friday and Saturday is scheduled for 6:00 pm PT while Sunday's game will get underway at noon.
Watch The Hornets Live
All three games of this weekend's series against Seattle U will stream live online at WACSports.com/watch with play-by-play from Hornets broadcaster Anthony Rifenburg. An audio-only stream will be 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 be found by visiting the 2018 Baseball Schedule on HornetSports.com.
- This weekend's series starts back-to-back weekends against two of the WAC's top four teams for the Hornets. Currently second in the standings, Sacramento State will face Seattle U (third) and Grand Canyon (first). All three teams are within two games of each other.
- Tanner Dalton was named the Western Athletic Conference's Pitcher of the Week for the second straight week. He made three appearances last week and was a perfect 3-for-3 in save opportunities. He walked one, struck out five, and did not allow a hit in five shutout innings.
- Sacramento State put together their best month of the season in April, going 13-4 while hitting .278 as a club. They averaged almost seven runs and 10 hits per game as an offense while the pitching staff posted an excellent 2.86 ERA with an 8.3 K/9.
- With a series win on the road at UT Rio Grande Valley last weekend, Sacramento State has now won five straight conference series this season and seven straight dating back to last season. Four of those seven series wins have come on the road.
- Seattle U enters this weekend's series with a 29-13 overall record and a 10-5 mark in the WAC, good for third place, just one game behind the Hornets (11-4). The Redhawks have won four straight conference series and are 7-3 over their last 10 games.
By The Numbers
5: The Hornets are 23-5 this season when holding their opponent to 5 or fewer runs (1-14 when allowing 6 or more).
2: Games that separate the top four teams (GCU, SAC, SU, NMSU) in the WAC with three weeks left to play.
7: Consecutive conference series wins for the Hornets dating back to last season, including two three-game sweeps.
Scouting The Redhawks
- The Seattle U Redhawks come into this weekend's series with a 29-13 overall record and a 10-5 record in the WAC. They are just one game behind the Sacramento State Hornets (11-4).
- Seattle U has won their last four conference series, including a sweep of Chicago State and 2-of-3 against Northern Colorado, UTRGV, and CSU Bakersfield.
- The Redhawks played the entire month of April at home, going 13-3 in 16 games. Their last road game was a 10-0 win over Chicago State on Friday, March 30. They also played at home on Tuesday, May 1 (vs. Washington, L, 7-2), making it 17 straight games at home for Seattle U.
- Seattle U is led by a duo of big lefty pitchers, Tarik Skubal and Jake Prizina. Both are 6-0 with a 3.90 and a 3.98 ERA, respectively. As a duo, they have 146 strikeouts in 127.2 innings (10.3 K/9).
- At the plate, senior Dalton Hurd leads the team with a .356 average and seven home runs. He also has 40 RBIs (second on the club).
Against Seattle U
Sacramento State is 15-9 all-time against Seattle U, dating back to the 2011 season. Last season, the Hornets took two of three in Seattle before beating the Redhawks for a third time, 11-1 in seven innings in the first round of the WAC Tournament. Sacramento State is 7-2 against the Redhawks at John Smith Field.
About Last Game
Sacramento State ended their nine-game road trip with a loss in their last game, falling 6-2 at Nevada on Tuesday. The Hornets had just six hits, but drew four walks to put pressure on the defense, but struggled to deliver in timely situations, going 0-for-11 in RBI opportunities. Matt Smith and Keith Torres each had two hits to lead the team while Josh Urps doubled to extend his hit streak to seven games. On the mound, Michael Birch made his pitching debut after Alex Dentoni left the game with an apparent injury.
Conference Series Streak
With their series win last weekend at UT Rio Grande Valley, the Hornets have now won seven consecutive conference series, dating back to last season. Since the start of their seven series streak, the Hornets are 20-5 against WAC opponents (including last year's postseason), good for an .800 winning percentage. Currently, Grand Canyon leads the conference and the nation with a 14-series win streak against conference opponents. Coincidentally, the last time the Antelopes lost a conference series, it was against Sacramento State at the end of the 2016 season.
This weekend's series against Seattle U could have serious implications on the WAC standings as the Hornets (11-4 WAC) and Redhawks (10-5) enter the weekend in second and third place with just one game between them. Just two games separate the top four teams in the conference: GCU (12-3), SAC (11-4), SU (10-5), NM State (12-6). NM State is the only team among the top four to not yet have their bye week.
Home At Last
Sacramento State returns to John Smith Field on Friday for the first time since hosting Northern Colorado on Sunday, April 15. Over the last two weeks, the Hornets played nine games on the road, including six at conference opponents, going 6-3 overall and 4-2 against WAC teams. It was the team's second stretch of nine consecutive road games this season. They went 5-4 during that stretch and are 13-10 on the road overall this season.
A Southpaw Weekend
Seattle U is expected to throw three left-handed starters this weekend, making it the first time Sacramento State has seen three straight left-handed starters this season. The Hornets are hitting .259 against lefthanders this season, compared to .241 against righties. In games in which their opponent starts a left-handed pitcher, Sacramento State is 8-3. Matt Smith has thrived against left-handers this year and is hitting .533 (16-for-30) with two home runs, two doubles, and nine RBIs.
Dalton Repeats As WAC Pitcher of the Week
Tanner Dalton was named the WAC Pitcher of the Week for the second straight week on Monday. Dalton was excellent last week, appearing in three games and going a perfect three-for-three in save opportunities. The junior right-hander issued one walk and struck out five over five hitless innings. He leads the team with nine saves, 22 appearances, a 1.59 ERA, and a .184 batting average against.
With Tanner Dalton's second straight Pitcher of the Week award announced Monday, the Hornets have now won a Pitcher or Hitter of the Week award in four consecutive weeks (PJ Floyd, 4/9; Parker Brahms, 4/16; Dalton, 4/23 and 4/30). Brahms also won Pitcher of the Week in March, giving the Hornets five total awards so far this season.
This Staff Is Really Good
Sacramento State pitchers come into play this weekend with a 3.82 ERA, the best in the conference and the 63rd best in the nation. Additionally, they rank third in the nation in shutouts (7), second in the nation in both strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.39) and walks per nine (2.34), and 18th in WHIP (1.23). Parker Brahms (2.17 ERA) and Austin Root (2.67) have been dominant in the starting rotation while Tanner Dalton (1.59 ERA) and Austin Roberts (2.32) have been lights out out of the bullpen. Freshman Scott Randall has been an excellent addition to the rotation and has a 1.63 ERA over his last five starts (4 er, 22.0 ip).
As mentioned above, the Hornets rank second in the nation with a 2.34 walks-per-nine innings (College of Charleston, 2.23). Austin Root leads the team and the conference while ranking 29th in the nation with a 1.27 walks-per-nine. His 6.10 K:BB ratio is second in the WAC and 35th in all NCAA Div. I baseball. Over his last six starts (37.1 ip), Root has walked just three batters while striking out 33.
The Month That Was: April
Sacramento State had their best month of the season by far in April, posting a 13-4 record in 17 games. The Hornets hit .278 as a team, nearly 50 points better than their .234 average in March. They scored 111 runs while racking up 55 extra base hits, including 18 home runs. The month included three mercy wins in a sweep of Chicago State and featured seven games in which the Hornets scored seven or more runs.
On the mound, the Hornets pitching staff posted a 2.86 ERA while striking out 134 batters and walking just 36 in 145.0 innings. They held their opponents to a season-low .224 batting average in April while throwing four of their seven shutouts. Sacramento State pitchers racked up double-digit strikeouts in five of 17 games, including 15 strikeouts twice.
The Month That Is: May
The Hornets dropped their first game of May, 6-2 at Nevada. Last season, the Hornets went 6-5 in May (not including postseason play) with a .288 average and 33 extra base hits. Including the postseason, Sacramento State went 10-7 with a .284 average while scoring over six runs per game.
As a pitching staff, Sacramento State had a 4.55 ERA in May of last season. Including the postseason, that number improved to 4.44.
Torres Finds A Way
Although he is hitting .250 over 42 games, freshman infielder Keith Torres own a .394 on base percentage, the second best mark on the team (Matt Smith, .410). Torres is tied for the team-lead with 25 walks and has been hit by a pitch seven times, most on the club. Over his last five games, Torres is 8-for-15 (.545) with three two-hit games. He has also drawn five walks, giving him a .619 on base percentage over that stretch.
Urps On A Streak
With a double in Tuesday's loss at Nevada, freshman Josh Urps is currently riding a career-long seven-game hit streak, dating back to April 7. During that streak, Urps is 9-for-26 (.346) with four doubles, six runs scored, and six RBIs. Because Urps has not walked, been hit by a pitch, or reached on an error during the streak, but does have a sacrifice fly, his OBP is .333, lower than his .346 batting average.
WAC's Home Run Leader
With eight home runs this season, junior right-fielder James Outman leads the team and is tied for the conference lead. The slugger finished tied for the team lead and third in the WAC with 11 home runs last season. He is on pace to finish the 2018 campaign with 11 home runs, as well. Although Outman is hitting just .232 this season, his .464 slugging percentage is third best on the club.
The Sacramento State baseball program will recognize and honor some of it's greatest coaches, teams, and players on Saturday, May 5 for their annual Alumni night. The 1988 World Series Runners-Up team will be recognized and former head coach Cal Boyes will have his #37 jersey retired. The team will present the first-ever Daryl Horn award and will be giving away Rhys Hoskins posters to the first 250 fans. There is also a baseball alumni barbecue for former Hornets players and their families.
Relying on the New Guys
According to a survey of baseball programs across the country, Sacramento State ranks fifth in the nation for most starts by freshmen players. Steven Moretto (42 starts), Keith Torres (41), Josh Urps (26), Dylan McPhillips (23), Scott Randall (12), Travis Martizia (1), and Brady Rodriguez (1) have combined for 143 total starts this season.
Magic Number Is Five
When the Hornets hold their opponents to five runs or fewer, they are 23-5 this season. Sacramento State has won just won game this season when their opponent scores six or more runs, going 1-14.
Sacramento State Stealers
James Outman and Matt Smith lead the WAC in stolen bases with 12 each while PJ Floyd is right behind them with 11. As a team, the Hornets lead the conference and are 56th in all of NCAA Div. I with 58 total stolen bases. 10 different Hornets players have stolen at least one base while six have stolen four or more.
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 108-82 (.568) 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 243-219 (.526) overall.
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