SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State baseball team returns from Grand Canyon just in time to the Arizona Wildcats tonight, Monday, May 14, at John Smith Field. First pitch is set for 6:00 pm.
This matchup between the Hornets (28-22, 14-7 WAC) and the Wildcats (29-20, 10-14 Pac-12) is the first since the teams played a three-game series at Arizona during the 2016 campaign.
Watch The Hornets Live
Monday night's game against Arizona will stream live online on WACSports.com/watch. You can also catch all the action with play-by-play broadcaster Anthony Rifenburg 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.
- Sacramento State saw their streak of eight consecutive conference series wins come to an end this weekend as they dropped two of three games on the road at Grand Canyon. Prior to this past weekend, the last time the Hornets lost a conference series was April 28-30, 2017.
- Ian Dawkins was incredible at the plate in the team's three-game series at Grand Canyon. He went 10-for-13 with two home runs, a triple, two doubles, and five runs scored. He slugged 1.538 and was named the WAC hitter of the Week for his performance.
- The best in the WAC and one of the best in the nation defensively, Sacramento State struggled in the field on Sunday, committing a season-high four errors. Their current .977 fielding percentage is still tops in the conference and is the 29th best in all of NCAA Div. I baseball.
- The Hornets pitching staff issued just five total walks over the weekend's three games, lowering their walks-per-nine-innings to a NCAA Div. I best 2.26 BB/9. Sacramento State had been second in the nation behind the College of Charleston for weeks and now have the top spot.
- Arizona enters Monday night's game with a 29-20 overall record, including a 10-14 mark in the Pac-12. They are coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of Cal, a team the Hornets beat 4-1 earlier this season. Their .283 team average is the fifth highest in the Pac-12.
By The Numbers
11: Hits in four games for Ian Dawkins. Dawkins hit .647 (11-17) with two homers, two doubles, and a triple last week.
44: Home runs hit by Sacramento State this season, second most in the WAC and just three shy of their 2017 total.
9: Games against Pac-12 teams this season. The Hornets are 4-4 (2-2 at home) through their first eight Pac-12 games.
Scouting The Wildcats
- Arizona comes into Monday night's game with a 29-20 overall recording, including a 10-14 mark in Pac-12 play.
- The Wildcats are coming off a though three-game sweep at Cal, though they had won six straight prior to that.
- Arizona is hitting .283 as a team, the fifth best average in the Pac-12. Offensively, they rank top-3 in OBP (.393, 3rd), run scored (327, 2nd), RBIs (292, 2nd), walks (238, 1st), and more.
- On the mound, the Wildcats are fifth in the Pac-12 with a 3.71 team ERA. Their 427.0 innings pitched are tops in the conference while they are top-3 in strikeouts (380, 3rd) and fewest home runs allowed (19, 1st).
- Arizona pitcher Cody Deason was named last week's Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week after throwing a complete-game shutout against #11 UCLA. He struck out a career-high 11 in the win.
- Arizona was picked to finish third in the Pac-12 behind Oregon State and Stanford. They enter Monday night's game eighth in the conference.
Monday's game between Sacramento State and Arizona is the first since the 2016 season when the teams played a three-game set in Arizona. The Wildcats swept the Hornets in that series and they lead the all-time series 15-5. Sacramento State's last win against the Wildcats came on Feb. 21, 2009, a 10-7 win in Arizona. The Hornets have not hosted the Wildcats since May 23, 2005. Sacramento State won that game, 7-4, against #5 Arizona.
Against the Pac-12
Sacramento State's game against Arizona will be their ninth against a Pac-12 opponent this season. The Hornets started the 2018 campaign going 2-2 against Washington before going 1-2 on the road at Utah. Their last Pac-12 game was a 4-1 win on the road at Cal. Since the start of the 2012 season, Sacramento State has played 34 games against Pac-12 opponents, going 15-19. Among those 15 wins are wins against #4 Oregon State and #18 Arizona State in 2014 and #11 Washington in 2017.
About Last Series
Despite hitting .299 with 13 extra-base hits in three games, the Hornets still didn't have enough offense to win more than one of three games this past weekend at Grand Canyon. The Hornets matched their season high with 15 hits on Friday night and had 32 for the weekend, but they also had 31 strikeouts. They went just 7-for-26 (.269) with runners in scoring position over the three games and left 23 men on base.
Dawkins' Big Weekend
Ian Dawkins had an unbelievable weekend for the Hornets, going 10-for-13 (.769) with five extra base hits. He had two home runs, two doubles, and a triple, good for an incredible 1.538 slugging percentage. He posted a .786 on base percentage and scored five runs. For the season, Dawkins leads the team in hitting (.343), OBP (.404), slugging (.527), runs (37), and hits (69). His .343 batting average is sixth in the conference.
Dawkins WAC Player of the Week
For his big week, Ian Dawkins was named the WAC Hitter of the Week. It is his first career award. For the season, Sacramento State has now won six Player of the Week Awards, including a stretch of four straight from April 9 through April 30. In addition to Dawkins, PJ Floyd was named a Hitter of the Week while Parker Brahms and Tanner Dalton were each named Pitcher of the Week twice.
With two or more hits in each of this weekend's three games, Ian Dawkins now has 23 multi-hits games this year, seven more than the next most such games on the team (Matt Smith, 16). Last year, Dawkins set a program record with 28 multi-hit games in a single season. He has 51 such games in his career, the most among active Hornets (teammate Vinny Esposito is second with 49).
Welcome Back Vinny
After missing nine starts due to a left hand injury, senior first baseman Vinny Esposito returned to his starting role at first base last week. Through his first four games back in action, Esposito hit .400 (6-for-15) with a home run, three RBIs, and two runs scored. His .400 average, .600 slugging percentage, and .471 obp were all second best on the team last week. For the season, Esposito is hitting .265 with five home runs and 25 RBIs.
Piling Up The Ks
Sophomore starter Parker Brahms struck out five batters in his last start, bringing him to an even 100 for the season. His 100 Ks are second most in the conference (Kyle Bradish, NMSU, 104). It is the first triple-digit strikeout total of his career and he is now just 19 back of the all-time record for strikeouts in a single season. Erik Bennet (1989) and Mike Ebby (1995) hold that record with 119. Brahms has two 14-strikeout games this season, the school record for most strikeouts in a single game.
Conference Series Streaks
Sacramento State's series loss at Grand Canyon is their first this season and their first since April 28-30 of the 2017 campaign. The Hornets had won six consecutive conference series this season and eight straight dating back to last season. During the their eight-series streak, the Hornets went 22-6 against WAC opponents (including last year's postseason), good for a .786 winning percentage. With the series win, Grand Canyon extended their streak of consecutive conference series wins to 16, the longest such streak in the nation.
Crowded at the Top
With just one week remaining in the regular season, the WAC postseason picture is still far from complete. Just four games separate the top four teams in the conference – Grand Canyon, NM State, Sacramento State, and Seattle U. The Hornets are one game behind the Aggies and one ahead of Seattle U. The Lopes and Redhawks will face each other in the final weekend of the season while NM State goes to UTRGV. Sacramento State holds the tiebreaker over both NM State and Seattle U.
Uncharacteristic in the Field
Sacramento State committed a season-high four errors in Sunday's loss at Grand Canyon. The Hornets entered the game with a .978 fielding percentage, tops in the conference. After the game, that number fell to .977 though they are still the top fielding team in the WAC and the 29th best in all of NCAA Div. I. The Hornets have committed just 41 errors in 438.0 innings this season.
Five Is Good
They Hornets are 27-6 this season when holding their opponents to five runs or fewer. Sacramento State has won just one game this year when allowing their opponent to score six or more runs, going 1-16 in those games.
Two Is Better
The Sacramento State pitching staff has held opposing teams to two runs or fewer and incredible 23 of 50 games (46%). Among those 23 games are seven shutout wins, most in the conference and tied for third most in the nation. In those 23 games in which the Hornets have allowed two runs or fewer, they are 22-1. Their lone loss came on Feb. 23 at home, 2-0 against San Francisco.
Home Run Leaders
Sacramento State has hit 44 home runs in 50 games so far this season, putting them on pace for 48 over the course of their 54 game season. Their 44 long balls are second most in the WAC. They are led by James Outman, whose 10 home runs are most in the conference. Just behind him is PJ Floyd, who has nine. The duo is 1 and 2 in the WAC.
More About Homers
With 44 home runs on the season, Sacramento State hit the 40 home run mark for the second consecutive season. The Hornets last hit 40+ home runs in back-to-back seasons in 2009-10. Those two seasons were part of a four-season streak in which the Hornets hit 40+ homers (2007-10).
Looking At 30
Sacramento State has won 30 games in each of the last six seasons and is one of just two California teams to have achieved that feat (also, Cal State Fullerton). The Hornets have 28 wins so far this season and need to go 2-2 over their four remaining regular season games to reach the 30-win mark. Should they clinch a spot in the postseason, they will have at least two more games, as well.
Torres Going Streaking
Freshman infielder Keith Torres saw his career-best 10-game hit streak come to an end over the weekend. The 10-game streak is the second longest by a Hornets hitter this season (Ian Dawkins, 12) and a personal best for Torres. During the streak, he went 14-for-35 (.400) with a home run, five RBIs, and six runs scored. He drew six walks and was hit by a pitch during the streak, giving him a .488 on base percentage.
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 111-85 (.566) 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 247-222 (.527) 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).
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