SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The 2018 baseball regular season comes to a close this weekend as the Sacramento State baseball team hosts Utah Valley in their final home series. The weekend series starts tonight, Thursday, May 17 at John Smith Field.
The Hornets (28-23, 14-7 WAC) enter the final weekend of the season in third place in the WAC and are looking to climb into one of the top two spots to secure a first round bye in the conference tournament. The Wolverines (15-34, 6-15 WAC) are the only team in the conference to have been eliminated from the postseason.
Saturday, May 19 is both Senior Day and Made at Sac State Day at John Smith Field. The Hornets wll honor their eight graduating seniors with a special postgame ceremony. In addition, to celebrate gradtuation, all recent Sacramento State grads (Winter, '17 and Spring, '18) and up the three guests can attend Saturday's regular season finale for free! See more details here.
Watch The Hornets Live
All three games this weekend against Utah Valley 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 dropped their final non-conference game of the season on Monday, falling 5-2 to the visiting Arizona Wildcats. The Hornets finish the 2018 campaign with a 14-16 overall record against non-conference opponents.
- The Hornets enter the final weekend of play in third place in the WAC. With a strong series this weekend and some help around the league, Sacramento State still has a chance to move up into the number one or two spot and clinch a first-round bye.
- Sacramento State saw their streak of eight consecutive conference series wins come to an end this past weekend as they dropped two of three games on the road at Grand Canyon. Prior to that series, the last time the Hornets lost a conference series was April 28-30, 2017.
- Ian Dawkins was named the WAC Hitter of the Week after going 11-for-17 with five extra base hits and five runs scored. Over his last 10 games, Dawkins is hitting .476 (20-42) with four doubles and three home runs. He has a .833 slugging percentage over that time.
- Utah Valley enters this weekend's series with a 15-34 overall record, including a 6-15 mark in the WAC. They are the only team in the conference who has been eliminated for postseason contention.
By The Numbers
28: Wins this season for the Hornets. They are two wins shy of securing their seventh consecutive 30+-win season.
6: Pitching categories in which Sacramento State leads the WAC: ERA, Hits per Nine, Shutouts, K:BB ratio, WHIP, and Walks per Nine.
7: Consecutive seasons in which the Hornets have clinched a WAC Tournament spot, including this year.
Scouting The Wolverines
- Utah Valley comes into this weekend's series with a 15-34 overall recording, including a 6-15 mark in conference play.
- The Wolverines are coming off a 12-6 loss at home against Utah (Pac-12). Over their last 10 games, the Wolverines are 2-8.
- Utah Valley is hitting .259 as a team, the fifth best average in the WAC. Offensively, they rank top-3 in just one category: triples.
- On the mound, the Wolverines are sixth in the league with a 5.33 staff ERA. They have allowed the second fewest walks as a staff this season with 162, second only to the Hornets (115).
- Utah Valley's Kaden Schmitt was named the WAC's Pitcher of the Week after picking up his second complete game win of the season. For the year, Schmitt is 4-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 14 games (12 starts).
- Utah Valley was picked to finish sixth in the WAC in the Preseason Coaches Poll. They have finished in the top five in back-to-back seasons.
Against Utah Valley
This weekend's series is the first between the Hornets and Wolverines since Sacramento State took two of three on the road at Utah Valley last season. The last time the Wolverines came to Sacramento State, the Hornets dropped two of three. All-time, Sacramento State is 20-15 against Utah Valley, including a 15-10 record against them in Sacramento.
About The Last One
Despite out-hitting the Arizona Wildcats by a tally of 9-7, Sacramento State dropped their final non-conference game of the season 5-2 Monday night at home. Steven Moretto hit his seventh home run of the season while Matt Smith knocked in the other Hornets run. Ian Dawkins went 3-for-4, raising his average to .351 for the year. On the mound, Hornets relievers Austin Ragsdale, Austin Roberts, Brady Rodriguez, and Tanner Dalton combined for 4.1 scoreless innings.
Sacramento State is ranked 140th in the nation by RPI, the second highest among WAC schools (NM State, 109; Grand Canyon, 143). The Hornets have faced just one top-50 RPI team this season (Arizona), going 0-1. Against teams ranked 51-100, the Hornets are 3-5. The Hornets finished last season with an RPI of 178.
The Hornets pitching staff enters the final WAC series of the season leading the conference in six different pitching categories. They are tops in the league in ERA (3.85), Hits Allowed Per Nine Innings (8.76), Shutouts (7), Strikeout to Walk Ratio (3.46), WHIP (1.23), and Walks Allowed Per Nine (2.32). Among those, they are 15th in the nation in WHIP, tied fourth for shutouts, and second in all of NCAA Div. I baseball in K:BB ratio and BB/9 innings.
Dawkins On a Tear
With three hits in Monday's game, Ian Dawkins is now hitting .351 for the season, best on the club and sixth best in the conference. Over his last 10 games, the senior outfielder is slashing .476/.511/.833. During that stretch, he has 20 hits in 42 at bats, including four doubles, a triple, and three home runs. For the season, Dawkins has scored a team-high 37 runs while also leading the team in average (.351), OBP (.410), slugging (.532), and hits (72).
Dawkins WAC Player of the Week
Ian Dawkins was named the WAC Hitter of the Week for his 11-for-17 performance last week. He had two doubles, a triple, and two home runs while hitting .647. The award is the first of his career. 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 three more hits in Monday night's game, Ian Dawkins now has 24 multi-hit games this season, eight more than the next most such games on the team (Matt Smith, 16). Last year, Dawkins matched a program record with 28 multi-hit games in a single season. He has 52 career multi-hit games, most among active Hornets (senior Vinny Esposito is second with 49).
Breaking Down the WAC
The Western Athletic Conference enters the final weekend of the regular season with much of the postseason picture still open. Grand Canyon, NM State, and Sacramento State all have a chance for the top seed in the conference. NM State plays at UTRGV, who has a chance for the sixth seed, while Grand Canyon is at Seattle U, currently the number four seed.
Patience at the Plate
Sacramento State has drawn 209 walks this season, third most in the WAC and 117th in the nation. They average over four walks per game and drew a season-high 12 on April 3 at Saint Mary's. James Outman leads the team with 33 walks this season, the second most by an individual in the conference. Vinny Esposito is second on the club with 27.
Home Run Leaders
Sacramento State has hit 45 home runs in 51 games so far this season, putting them on pace for 47 over the course of their 54 game season. Their 45 long balls are second most in the WAC (NM State, 53). They are led by James Outman, whose 10 home runs are most in the conference. Just behind him is PJ Floyd, who has nine. Floyd is tied with Northern Colorado's Brett Minnick for second in the conference.
40+ Homers Streak
With 45 home runs on the season, Sacramento State hit the 40 home run mark for the second consecutive season (47 in 2017). 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). Sacramento State hit a franchise-high 81 home runs during the 1998 season, led by Josh Payne with 18.
No Multi-Homer Games
Despite hitting 45 home runs this season, Sacramento State still does not have a player with a multi-home run game this season. If no Hornet hits two or more home runs in a game this season, it will be the first season without a multi-homer game from a player since 2013.
Newcomer pitcher Tanner Dalton has been exceptional for Sacramento State in his debut season. He has 27 appearances this season, most in the conference and 34th most in all of NCAA Div. I. Dalton has pitched to a 1-1 record with a 2.62 ERA over 34.1 innings. He has 10 saves this season, second most in the conference and the most by a Hornets pitcher since Tyler Beardsley recorded 11 in 2016.
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 last weekend 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.
Five Is Good
The Hornets are 27-7 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 51 games (45%). Among those 23 games are seven shutout wins, most in the conference and tied for fourth 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.
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 2-1 over their three remaining regular season games to reach the 30-win mark. With a spot in the postseason, they will have at least two more games after the regular season ends to reach that 30-win mark.
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 247-223 (.526) 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).
-- HornetSports --