TEAMS > College



Leon Lee Leads Sacramento Into the Great West

By Editor Rick Cabral

The city of Sacramento has seen its fair share of teams and leagues over the 150+ years they’ve been playing baseball in the Capital City.

Next summer that list will grow, with today’s announcement that Sacramento has been awarded a franchise and in 2016 will be a founding member of the Great West League.

The Great West League will be a high-level collegiate summer wood-bat program, that the organizers hope one day will rival the Cape Cod League, America’s elite summer wood-bat program.



Ken Wilson and Leon Lee at today's announcement
that Sacramento will field a team in the new Great West League in 2016.

The local franchise will be led by Sacramento’s “Mr. Baseball,” Leon Lee, who starred in the Japanese League from 1978 to 1987. His partner and main investor is Vujadin Jovic, a former NBA agent who represented Vlade Divac (the Kings’ new General Manager) and other Eastern European basketball stars.

Ken Wilson, the Great West League president, was on hand to make the announcement in concert with Lee at The Limelight Bar and Restaurant, Sacramento’s newest sports establishment with a baseball theme. Wilson said Sacramento is the fifth franchise, and he hopes to announce a sixth team later this week.

“We’re thrilled to be getting a GWL franchise here in Sacramento,” Lee said today, “this is really a big thing for baseball fans in Sacramento.”

Lee’s group—Sacramento International Baseball Association LLC—admittedly is behind, as they have yet to hire a general manager and operational and marketing staff. More importantly, they’re unsure where the team will play next season. Lee and his group have been negotiating with the city of Sacramento with big plans to renovate Renfree Field, once home to semi-professional and amateur baseball beginning in 1968.

But that announcement is for another time.

Wilson, who is affiliated with the Portland Pickles franchise, said the GWL has been brewing since 2013. “We wanted to do it right, with a solid foundation.” Along with Wilson—longtime major league broadcaster for the Mariners, Angels, White Sox, Cardinals and Oakland A’s, and a former league official of the rival West Coast League summer program—will be Pat Gillick, long-time Philadelphia Phillies executive who will run the Chico Heat. Other teams in the GWL include the Lodi Crushers and Marysville Gold Sox, which has operated a successful program in the Horizon Summer Series.

Wilson says the key to his new league is “community support and corporate sponsorship.” He believes fans will support the GWL because the quality talent level will rival comparable for-profit enterprises across the United States, like the Cape Cod League. “Our league will be run like a minor league baseball operation,” Wilson said.

When asked if Lee would recruit local collegiate players, he said that he could field a top caliber team today with the talent coming out of Sacramento. Lee should know.

The Grant High star was one of Sacramento’s top prospects in 1971 and played seven seasons in the Cardinals farm system. He then joined brother Leron Lee in Japan, and the Lee’s became “the Bash Brothers” of the Orient, slugging homers and driving in runs with eye-popping ferocity.

After his playing career was over, Leon Lee also coached and managed in the Japanese League, where he served as a consultant to the film producers of the movie, “Mr. Baseball,” starring Tom Selleck. Hence, Lee’s appellation “Sacramento’s ‘Mr. Baseball.’”

Lee and partners Eddie Cervantes and Larry Wolfe have run a baseball academy for youth up to age 18, and Cervantes and Lee also ran a summer-league program based in Lodi. So, Leon Lee is extremely well grounded in amateur baseball in the Sacramento region.

Oh, and his son Derrek Lee (El Camino High) enjoyed a 15-year career in the major leagues.

Finally, for the past two seasons Lee also has served as color analyst for the Sacramento River Cats' home games, pairing up with long-time play-by-play man, Johnny Doskow.

Stay tuned for more details on the Great West League’s newest franchise.

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Pollman and Madrigal Tabbed All-WCL in Summer League Action

Speaking of the rival West Coast League...

Gunnar Pollman, Sacramento State's junior catcher, and Nick Madrigal, (Elk Grove High) incoming freshman shortstop at Oregon State University, were selected First Team All-West Coast League, the NorthWest collegiate summer league.

Pollman, who caught for Klamath Falls, batted .314 with 10 doubles, two home runs and 11 runs batted in over 27 games.

Madrigal, fresh off the Sac-Joaquin Division I championship, hit .303 with nine doubles, two triples and 20 RBI for the Corvallis Knights, where he also stole a team-leading 40 bases.



Virginia Claims First CWS With 4-2 Win in Game Three Over Vanderbilt

by Editor Rick Cabral

Freshman Pavin Smith knocked in three runs, including a game-tying two-run homer and starter Brandon Waddell toughened after a rocky first inning, to lead Virginia to a 4-2 win over Vanderbilt and its first-ever College World Series.

For the Cavaliers, the win was especially sweet, as they watched Vanderbilt celebrate a 2014 CWS championship on this same field at TD Ameritrade Park. In the process, Virginia is the first Atlantic Coast Conference team to claim the trophy since Wake Forest did it in 1955.

This game epitomized the 2015 College World Series, with solid pitching, great defense and timely hitting by the unlikely hero, Smith.

Unlike the previous two contests, which saw both teams shut out through the first five innings, there was immediate action in this Winner-Take-All Game Three.

Virgina’s first two batters both singled off Vanderbilt starter Walker Buehler. With one out, he pitched around Smith to load the bases, then fanned senior Kenny Towns.

He got the next hitter to fly out to center field to deny the Cavaliers a score, and cast a veil of doubt early on Virginia’s dugout.

That veil grew larger when the Commodores then scored twice in their half of the first inning.

Virigina left-hander Brandon Waddell issued a leadoff pass to Bryan Reynolds, who went to third on Rhett Wiseman’s double to the left field wall. Dansby Swanson, the first player taken in the 2015 MLB Draft, hit a high chopper to third base, scoring Reynolds on the fielder’s choice.

Cleanup hitter Xander Weil whacked a double down the third base line, scoring Wiseman to give Vanderbilt a 2-0 advantage.

Vanderbilt struck again in their half of the fourth, but Virginia flashed incredible defense to negate another score. Waddell threw out Jeren Kendall on a well-placed bunt down the first-base line with Smith snagging the ball on a hop at first base.

After designated hitter Penn Murfee doubled, Smith caught a fly ball over his shoulder in foul territory. Murfee tagged and reached third base. Towns then trapped a rocket by Tyler Campbell behind the third base bag, got up and fired a perfect throw to first to end the inning.

Smith's game-tying home run in the fourth inning charged his teammates. Then in the fifth, the tall redhead put Virginia ahead 3-2 with a single to left field, notching his third RBI of the game.

The Cavaliers added an insurance run in the seventh inning when Towns smoked a breaking ball into centerfield, driving in Haseley for a 4-2 lead. It was Towns’ 7th RBI of the CWS.

Meanwhile, Waddell was lights out, retiring 11 in a row as he continued to shut out the vaunted Vanderbilt offense from the second through the seventh innings.

Nathan Kirby, who started and won a game earlier in this CWS, came on in relief in the bottom of the eighth. All he did was strike out Reynolds, Swanson and Weil.

Kirby, a first-round draft selection, gave up a two-out single in the ninth inning to Murfee, but fanned the final batter to close out the victory and send the ‘Hoos to their first-ever dogpile at the College World Series.

“This is incredible what (our players) have accomplished. Fortunately, we were able to piece it together,” O’Connor told ESPN with great emotion and his players celebrating on the field. “Vanderbilt is all class. Great opponent. We just feel fortunate to come away with this championship.

Virginia's 44 wins were the fewest by a national champion since the  USC Trojans posted 43 victories in 1968. The Cavaliers almost didn't get into the NCAA Regionals after a 1-3 showing in the ACC tournament.

But now they've earned the right to display the 2015 Championship in their trophy case.

Josh Sborz, who threw 13 innings, earned three wins and last night’s pivotal Game Two save, was selected the MVP of the CWS.

CWS Down to Winner-Take-All Third Game Tonight
Virginia Spins 3-0 Shutout Over Cavs--Hoos Hot Now?

UVA Media Relations Report

OMAHA, Neb. -- Virginia evened the College World Series Finals at a game apiece by blanking Vanderbilt 3-0 Tuesday night in front of 24,645 fans at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. The Cavaliers (43-24) forced a deciding Game 3 -- to be played at 8 p.m. Wednesday -- to determine the national champion. UVa is seeking its first national championship.

Adam Haseley and Josh Sborz combined on a seven-hit shutout, while the bottom of UVa’s batting order, Ernie Clement and Thomas Woodruff, recorded six of UVa’s 10 hits while driving in all three runs.

“We're excited that we have a chance to play again tomorrow night,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “Adam Haseley rose to the occasion on the mound and gave us just a high-quality start, and Josh Sborz did what he's been doing this entire tournament in grinding out the back half of the game and showed what he's made of. And then (Thomas Woodruff), I don't know when the last time he started a game was, but he put some great swings on the baseball and played some great right field. It was just a total team effort and I’m really proud that we have another chance to play and looking forward to tomorrow night.”

Making his first career NCAA tournament start and his first start since May 16 at North Carolina, Woodruff went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Clement also had three hits -- his most since April 11 at Georgia Tech. Both had run-scoring hits during a decisive three-run sixth inning.

In just his fifth start of the season and the first since May 24, Haseley worked a career-high five innings, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out one and holding the potent Vanderbilt offense scoreless. Haseley also led off and went 1-for-4 at the plate. He became the second starting pitcher to also hit leadoff at the CWS, joining Clemson's Bailey Hendley (June 15, 1958).

Sborz (7-2) worked the final four innings to earn his third win of the College World Series and has not allowed an earned run in his last 27 innings, including 13 frames at the 2015 CWS. He became the 11th player to earn three wins in a single CWS and now has four career CWS wins, which is tied for second in the event’s history. Sborz is the second player in history with three wins and a save in the same CWS, joining Southern California’s Russ McQueen (1972).

Vanderbilt starter Philip Pfeiffer (6-5) pitched 5.2 innings, allowing three unearned runs, eight hits and a walk while striking out six in taking the loss.

Vanderbilt (51-20) put the first two runners on base in the sixth inning. Rhett Wiseman singled to center and after Sborz entered the game, Dansby Swanson reached on an infield single. Sborz rebounded to get Zander Wiel to ground out before Bryan Reynolds hit a grounder to Daniel Pinero at shortstop, who stepped on second and fired to first for the a double play.

Virginia strung together four hits in the sixth inning -- all with two outs -- to score all of its runs and take its first lead of the finals series. Pavin Smith and Kevin Doherty hit back-to-back singles before Joe McCarthy reached on a fielding error by Wiel at first base to load the bases. Clement then singled through the left side of the infield to score Smith. Woodruff followed by stroking a single to center to bring Doherty and McCarthy home for a 3-0 lead.

Vanderbilt threatened with runners at second and third with two outs in the ninth inning before Sborz struck out Nolan Rogers to end the game.



Fulmer Lights Out, Vandy Takes CWS Game One 5-1

By Mike Herndon,

Carson Fulmer brought his nasty stuff on Monday and Vanderbilt has a 1-0 lead in the College World Series final.

Fulmer, the No. 8 overall pick in this year's Major League Baseball draft, allowed only two hits in 7 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out seven and the defending national champs are now one win away from a repeat. 

In earning the win, Fulmer tied a school record for wins in a season with his 14th. 

Virginia starter Connor Jones matched Fulmer almost pitch for pitch until the sixth, when Will Toffey finally broke a scoreless tie with a two-run double to right. Jones ultimately took the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits and striking out six in 6 1/3 innings of work.

Dansby Swanson, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and Bryan Reynolds had two hits and one RBI apiece for the Commodores.

The Commodores (51-19) and Cavaliers (42-24) meet again Tuesday at 7 p.m., with a third game set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, if necessary.


MLB Draft News 


(Sacramento State Media Relations contributed to this report)

Sacramento State senior right-handed pitcher Ty Nichols has signed a free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.  

As a senior Nichols put together arguably the greatest single season pitching performance not only in program history but also in WAC history. He was 6-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his senior season, shattering the single-season program record for ERA (min. 50 innings pitched) and ranking fifth in all of NCAA Div. I in ERA. 

Over his last 57 innings pitched Nichols allowed only five earned runs and just 29 hits, a 0.79 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, and .149 opposing batting average. For the season he also ranked 10th in the nation with just 5.60 hits allowed per nine innings and was 13th with a 0.90 WHIP. He also had a WAC-best .181 opposing batting average and earned First Team all-WAC honors. 

After four Hornets were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft last week Nichols becomes the fifth Sacramento State player to sign an MLB contract. The five MLB signees are the most the program has had in a season since 1993, when three players were drafted and three signed as free agents.  

Nathan Lukes, the career record holder for hits (244), this week penned his contract with the Cleveland Indians, who took him in the 7th Round. A two-time all-WAC first team selection, Lukes hit .345 in 2015 with 7 home runs and 38 RBIs.  

Brennan Leitao, taken by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 26th round, inked his deal yesterday. Leitao is Sacramento State's all-time leader with 31 career wins and 398.0 innings pitched. He is also third in program history with 226 career strikeouts and is the first player in program history to be a three-time all-WAC selection. He went 7-4 with a 2.20 ERA as a senior after being selected as a Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American. 

Also signed this week were junior closer Sutter McLoughlin, drafted by Philadelphia in the 22nd Round, and senior shortstop Scotty Burcham, taken in the 25th Round by Colorado. McLoughlin shattered the Sacramento State program record with 33 career saves and also recorded the lowest career ERA in program history at 1.93 (min. 100 innings pitched).  An all-WAC second team selection as a senior, Burcham hit a career-best .329 with four homers and 33 RBIs in 2015, and finished his collegiate career second in program history with 235 career hits, topped only by Lukes.  

Last week, two UC Davis seniors inked their professional contracts. First baseman Nick Lynch was selected by Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 30th Round and catcher Izaak Silva, taken by the same club one round later, has done the same.



LSU's Lange, Bregman and Crew End Titan's Season With 5-3 Win

by Editor Rick Cabral

LSU freshman Alex Lange allowed Fullerton State three runs in the first, then shut down their offense, while junior Alex Bregman led a 13-hit Tigers attack en route to a 5-3 victory in this elimination game at the College World Series.

The Titans, who lost a heartbreaker yesterday to Vanderbilt, were in for a big challenge with the All-American Lange on the hill. But the 6’4” right-hander had control issues early and CSU Fullerton capitalized in the first inning.

Number three hitter David Olmedo-Barrera tripled in Tyler Stieb to give the Titans a 1-0 lead. With LSU’s infield drawn in, Jerrod Bravo (Ponderosa/ Sacramento City) singled past the shortstop Bregman, scoring Olmedo-Barrera.

After Tanner Pinkston singled, moving Bravo to third base, junior transfer Dalton Blaser (Roseville High/Sierra College) laid down a sweet safety squeeze along the first base line, scoring Bravo and giving Fullerton State an early 3-0 lead.

In the LSU third, Bregman sliced a single through the 5.5 hole to start a rally that saw the Tigers score four times on six singles. In the process, they knocked Titans’ starter Connor Seabold out of the game. Coach Rick Vanderhook replaced Seabold with former Rio Linda High star Miles Chambers, who corralled the Tigers through the next four innings. Chambers limited LSU to five hits and one earned run, coming in the seventh inning.

But the way Lange (12-0) pitched this afternoon, turns out the Tigers didn’t need the insurance run.

At one point, the freshman retired 14 of 15 hitters, using a dominating mid-90s fastball, electricfying 12-6 curveball and a changeup in striking out 10 while walking two batters. He allowed the Titans six hits in all, but just three more through the final eight shutout innings, en route to a complete game victory, his 12th of the season.

After the game LSU head coach Paul Maineri said he wasn't worried about Lange after the Titans scored three quick runs. "(Lange) has shown us all year that he is not going ever to throw in the towel. He's going to fight you right to the very end. And he's the ultimate competitor, besides having a lot of ability. I really wasn't worried about it."

The loss sends Cal State Fullerton (39-25)—winners of the Big West—home after two tough losses at the CWS.

In post game comments Vanderook summarized his team's efforts at the CWS this way: "We played two games here, and didn't lose once. We got beat twice," he said, giving credit to Vanderbilt and LSU. "And I can live with that."

Meantime, LSU (54-11)—which was ranked first in the nation for much of the season—will face the loser of tonight’s game between TCU and Vanderbilt on Thursday.


Lightning Strike Homer By 'Dores Kendall Propels 4-3 Walk-Off Win Over Titans in Continuation Game

by Editor Rick Cabral

Who says lightning never strikes twice in the same place?

Last night near TD Ameritrade Stadium there was lightning, followed by a gully-washer that forced suspension of a game in which Cal State Fullerton led Vanderbilt 3-0 in the sixth inning.

In today's continuation match, lightning struck again, this time off the bat of Vanderbilt freshman Jeren Kendall whose two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth gave the Commodores a 4-3 walk-off win over the Titans.

Kendall smoked a first-pitch slider from losing pitcher Tyler Peitzmeir (5-4) over the right field wall knocking in Bryan Reynolds, who earlier in the inning had doubled home Xander Weil to cut the Titans lead to 3-2.  

When the game resumed this afternoon, Weil stood at the plate with a 3-2 count and Rhett Wiseman standing on third base with two outs. But instead of Thomas Eshelman on the mound, who held Vanderbilt in control all evening on Monday, Cal State Fullerton sent out Chad Hockin to finish the inning.

That’s because last night Eshelman allowed Weil to foul off two pitches before lightning struck and the heavens opened. Officials suspended the contest until 2 p.m. Central Time Monday.

When Hockin delivered the belt-high fastball Weil slammed it in to right center field, scoring Wiseman and putting Vanderbilt on the board with a 3-1 score. 

Although the Titans ran out to a quick 3-0 lead, Vanderbilt pitchers limited the West Coast team to five hits, with reliever Kyle Wright, who tossed two-thirds of the ninth inning, the winner.  

Kendall’s 8th round-tripper of the year became the first walk-off home run at the CWS since 2009.

Fullerton State will forever ingloriously remember this game. Everyone including Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin agreed that with Titans’ starter Eshelman in control, the Commodores’ only chance was for an evening washout.

And the 2014 National Champions got their wish and made the Titans pay, as they now go on to play TCU in the winner’s bracket tomorrow evening. 

Fullerton State drops to the loser’s bracket and tomorrow afternoon must play an elimination game against No. 2 LSU. 


Fullerton Rained Out in 6th with 3-0 Lead Over Vanderbilt

Cal State Fullerton starter Thomas Eshelman was in firm command over Vanderbilt and the the Titans were leading 3-0 when the game was halted due to a weather delay in the sixth inning. Nearly two hours later, with rain drenching the field, it was announced the game will be resumed tomorrow at 9 a.m. PDT.

Eshelman, the strike-throwing machine, had allowed just four hits, while striking out eight and walking none when the game was halted in the sixth with two outs, a runner on third and a full count on the power-hitting, Xander Weil.

The Titans scored once in the third inning on a walk, balk, a sacrifice bunt followed by a base hit by the number nine hitter, Taylor Bryant, who mashed a hanging curve ball by Commodores' starter Carson Fulmer.

In the top of the fifth inning Fullerton State scored two more runs off Fulmer, who was drafted eighth overall by the White Sox last week. The first run came in on a wild pitch and leadoff man Josh Vargas knocked in the third run to give the Titans what seemed a big 3-0 lead with Eshelman on the mound.

That will all change tomorrow morning when the game is resumed with Weil at the plate with a 3-2 count and a new pitcher on the hill.



Titans Feature Locals at College World Series

by Editor, Rick Cabral

Cal State Fullerton (39-23) is headed to the College World Series, thanks in part to several Sacramento area ballplayers, who’ve played an important role in the Big West Champions road to Omaha.

Among them are outfielders Dalton Blaser (Roseville High/Sierra College), Dustin Vaught (Bella Vista/Sierra College) and third baseman Jerrod Bravo (Ponderosa High/Sacramento City), and pitcher Miles Chambers (Rio Linda High).

For the second straight year, only one squad emerged from the Western United States. The Titans almost didn’t make it, taking two extra-innings games from host Louisville in the Super Regional.

Blaser led Cal State Fullerton to a 3-2 win over the Cardinals in the first game of the Louisville Super Regional last weekend, going 2-for-3 with two runs batted in. He also made a sensational diving catch of a line drive in right field in the fourth inning. Bravo scored the winning run when Timmy Richards was struck by a pitch with the bases loaded.

In Game Two, Louisville roared back, winning 9-3.

In the top of the eighth inning of Game Three, with the Titans trailing 3-1, Bravo shot a base hit through the left side to score two runs and tie the game. Although Louisville had its chances with runners in scoring position in the 9th and 10th innings, Titans All-American reliever Tyler Peitzmeier didn’t allow the Cardinals to score. In the top of the 11th David Olmedo-Barrera hit a slicing ball down the left field line that appeared to have landed just left of the left-field foul poll, but was ruled a home run on the field. After a lengthy review, the controversial call was upheld, giving the Titans a 4-3 lead.

Titans' ace Thomas Eshelman leads the country in
walks ratio.
Photo © CSU Fullerton Athletics.

Junior pitcher Thomas Eshelman, who limited the Cardinals to one run over seven innings in Game One, closed in the 11th inning for his first career save and secured the victory that sent Cal State Fullerton to its 17th College World Series.

For Blaser, a junior transfer from Sierra College, it’s been an amazing ride. “It hasn't been easy for us but we are grateful for the road chosen for us,” he told BaseballSacramento. “We embraced the adversity from the beginning of the season and used it to put us where we are now.”

Fullerton State dropped out of the Top 25 early in the season and had to claw and scratch to win the Big West Conference on the final weekend. They swept through the Fullerton Regional, twice defeating Pepperdine.

For the season, Bravo hit .312 with 24 runs batted in. Blaser, who has started more frequently down the stretch, batted .272 with six doubles. Vaught, who played in nearly every game, hit .256. with 14 RBI.

Chambers, a right handed reliever, has appeared in 24 games and sports a 5-3 record with a 2.19 earned run average.

Fullerton State has the unenviable task of lining up against the 2014 CWS Champion, Vanderbilt (47-19), which returns to Omaha with two number-one draft picks in shortstop Dansby Swanson (.350, 15 HR, 62 RBI) who was selected first overall in the 2015 draft by Arizona and starter Carson Fulmer (13-2 / 1.82 ERA), plus a cadre of returning players from last season’s title team.

But the Titans boast a formidable one-two punch with Eshelman (8-5 / 1.58 ERA) and Olmedo-Barrera (.328/10 HR/45 RBI). Eshelman leads the nation with an impressive 131:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio (18.71) and walks allowed per nine innings (.46).

This will be the first official meeting between the two schools. Game time is Sunday, 5 p.m. PDT. Also slotted in Bracket Two are TCU (49-13) and LSU (53-10).

Playing Saturday in Bracket One, Arkansas (40-23) faces Virginia (39-22), while Florida (49-16) plays Miami (49-15). Teams from each bracket play a double-elimination tournament with the winners advancing to the championship round to determine the CWS winner.

Fullerton State last appeared at the CWS in 2013. Their last title came in in 2004 when head coach George Horton's Titans swept Texas and former Fullerton State mentor, Augie Garrido. In all the Titans have won the CWS four times.

This will be Rick Vanderhook's first College World Series as a head coach but his 12th trip to Omaha as a Division I coach. He's made 10 trips with the Titans (1990, 1992, 1994-95, 1999, 2001, 2003-04, 2006-07) and one with UCLA (2010). He's been on the winning end three times as a Titan. Once as a player (1984) and twice as an assistant coach (1995 under Garrido) and 2004 (under Horton).



Iowa Sends Oregon and Nogosek Packing 2-1 in 11 Inning Thriller

Oregon pitcher Stephen Nogosek (Woodcreek High) gave up the game-winning hit in the top of the 11th inning of the Springfield Regional as Iowa advanced with a 2-1 win over the Ducks.

Nogosek, who led Woodcreek to a Section II Championship in high school, came in relief in the seventh and threw four shutout innings. With two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh the sophomore right-hander--who consistently hit 94 on the radar gun--fanned the last batter to hold the Buckeyes in check.

With his 4 2/3 innings of stellar relief work, Nogosek (6-3) went five outs longer than in any of his 37 appearances for the Ducks this season, who finished the year under head coach George Horton with a 38-25 record.

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Texas A&M Edges Cal 4-3, Forces Game 7 Tomorrow

Aaron Knapp (Granite Bay High) was tagged out in a rundown attempting to score the tying run in the 12 inning, as Texas A&M wins 4-3, forcing a Game 7 in the College Station Regional tomorrow.

The Aggies scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th on a controversial call involving the lead runner touching home plate just before the trail runner was tagged out at third base. Replays showed the play too close to call, but the safe call stood (college doesn't employ a replay system), and the Cal Bears failed to score in the home half.

Knapp drew a walk to open the inning. He advanced to second on a sacrifice. With two outs, senior Chris Paul hit a chopper that bounced off the glove of the Aggies' first baseman, who recovered and threw home. Knapp had rounded third and was heading for the plate, but got in a pickel and was tagged by the Aggies' third baseman for the final out of the contest.

Last night, Cal won the 14-inning thriller on a walk-off home run by catcher Mitchell Kranson.

With a win tomorrow the Bears will advance to the super regionals. They last played in the College World Series in 2011.


College News

Trojans Defeat Stanford 2-0 Behind Hart’s 5-Hit Shutout

Freshman Mitch Hart (Granite Bay High) tossed a complete-game shutout, leading USC over Stanford 2-0 this afternoon and giving the Trojans an important series win.

Hart (7-2) allowed just five hits, while striking out six in his second career shutout. With the win, the Trojans move into a three-way tie for second place in the Pac-12 with a record of 15-9. Cal and Arizona State, which defeated UCLA 2-1 today, also share a 15-9 conference record.

UCLA still tops the Pac-12 standings with an 18-6 record. 

For his shutout against Washington State, Hart was selected Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week March 16.

With seven games remaining, Stanford (21-28) is on course to posting its worst record since head coach Mark Marquess took over the helm in 1977.


Hornets Sweep Northern Colorado Behind Burcham’s Two Bombs and 5 RBI

Senior Scotty Burcham’s two-home run afternoon led Sacramento State’s 9-3 win to complete a three-game sweep of Northern Colorado at John Smith Field.

Burcham, who went 3-for-5 with three scored runs and five runs batted in, had a two-run homer in the Hornets’ four-run fifth inning, a 2-run RBI single in the sixth, and a solo shot in the ninth inning for one his most prolific days in the Green and Gold.



Senior Scotty Burcham knocked in five runs with two homers in today's 9-3 win
over Northern Colorado. File photo

For the third consecutive game the Hornets (29-23) had more than a dozen hits, this time 14 in all for a weekend total of 40 base hits against the Bears.

Senior Chris Lewis, sophomore Gunner Pollman and freshman Vinny Esposito (Granite Bay High) each went 2-for-4. Lewis and Pollman both had a double in the Hornets explosive afternoon.

Starter Justin Dillon (6-4) gave coach Reggie Christiansen another quality start this weekend, going six innings, allowing six hits and all three of the Bears’ earned runs. The sophomore from El Dorado High walked one and struck out four. He was followed by relievers Ty Beardsley with one inning and closer Sutter McLoughlin with two shutout innings.

For Sacramento State (15-9 in WAC), the win marks the seventh in a row—all coming in May.

Next up is a crucial three-game series against Grand Canyon, which sits atop the Western Athletic Conference but is ineligible to advance to the WAC tournament during its transition to Division I.

Seattle University took its series with Chicago State this weekend and sits alone in second place in the WAC with a 16-8 record. CSU Bakersfield (15-8-1) dropped two of three to Grand Canyon and is one half-game behind Seattle in third place, and one-half game in front of the Hornets who are fourth in conference.

The two top teams in the conference earn a bye in the WAC tournament, and since Grand Canyon is ineligible, the Hornets would be seeded third if the tourney was held next week.

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CC Playoffs

In Community College Super Regional action, Cosumnes River took it down to the wire, but lost the pivotal Game Three 3-2 in 11 innings to Feather River, which advances to the Sectionals.

San Joaquin Delta, the top seed in the north, advanced easily, defeating Cabrillo College 11-0 behind the stout pitching of former Grant High lefty Cameron Avila-Leeper on Friday and 8-2 yesterday.


by Editor Rick Cabral

Lukes' HR Sets Hornets Career Hits Mark #230

On Mother's Day Weekend, with his mom and family members watching in the stands, local boy Nathan Lukes shattered the Hornets all-time hits mark by blasting a home run over the right centerfield wall for career hit number 230, as Sacramento State (27-23) took Game One from Northern Colorado 9-3.



Nathan Lukes and his Hornets teammates watch his seventh home run of the season rocket over the rightcenter field fence for a record-breaking career hit No. 230 against Northern Colorado today at John Smith Field. Photo by Rick Cabral.

After the record-breaking hit, an emotional Rebecca Lukes--who has watched nearly every home game of her son’s three-year career--said, “A mother can’t even explain…what it means to watch your child work so hard, and to see his dreams come true. Awesome.” Nathan's father Travis, who has faithfully parked himself in the upper row along the home side stands added, “It was a great thing to see. Well deserved. He’s having a great season.”

On Tuesday night, Lukes tied the team's career hits mark with a home run at Raley Field against UC Davis.

The Lukes family must feel mightly lucky to have seen their son break the career hits record, especially since this weekend series against Northern Colorado was scheduled to be played in Greely, Colorado. But predicted rain showers prompted the Bears to request a change of venue to Sacramento State's John Smith Field, where they serve as the home team and the "visiting" Hornets dress in road grays.

Consequently, Lukes came up in the top of the third inning with two outs and the game still scoreless. Bears' left-hander Dylan Shiroki, who retired Lukes easily in the first inning on an infield grounder to shortstop, went 3-0 in the count before Lukes took a called strike. With that perfect left-handed swing, the Antelope native launched the next pitch, a fastball, on a rocket drive to destiny. The two outfielders converged left of the flagpoles and watched the ball land over the wall for his seventh home run of the season, and 230th hit of his career.

Freshman Devin Lehman and senior Scotty Burcham, who follows Lukes in the batting lineup, and is hot on the heels of Lukes' career hits mark himself, congratulated Lukes as he touched home plate.

The hit proved huge for a more important reason, as the team entered today series tied with Northern Colorado (12-9) and North Dakota for third place in the Western Athletic Conference. Lukes' shot gave the Hornets the all-important early lead en route to today's WAC victory.



Scotty Burcham (No. 7) and Devin Lehman congratulate Nathan Lukes after setting the Hornets new career hits mark of 230 with his seventh home run of the season. Photo by Rick Cabral.

The Hornets erupted for four runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by sophomore Gunner Pollman's two-run homer to give the visitors” a 5-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Brennan Leitao (6-4) pitched another gem, going seven strong innings, allowing three earned runs while scattering seven hits, walking one and fanning four Bears. Leitao himself is a school record holder, with 30 career wins in four seasons. The senior righthander last week learned he is one of 10 NCAA Division I student-athletes nominated for the 2015 Senior CLASS Award for collegiate baseball.

Northern Colorado chipped away at the Sac State lead with single runs in fifth, sixth and seventh innings, after which head coach Reggie Christiansen relieved Leitao with freshman pitchers Jeremiah Moore and Ryan Smith who each threw a shutout inning.

Sacramento State tacked on two more runs in the ninth inning to take a 9-3 lead, the eventual final score.

Lukes is another of Coach Christiansen's hometown recruits who played beyond expectations. As a senior at Center High, he was tabbed Pioneer Valley League MVP after hitting .450 with four home runs and 26 runs batted in. Despite those stats, Lukes was a walk-on at Sacramento State, following older brother Shea Lukes, who pitched for the Hornets.

But Nate Lukes was in the starting lineup batting leadoff in his freshman season. Three years later he has broken the all-time hits mark, surpassing Aurelio Jackson, who set his mark in four seasons from 1998-2001. Lukes is projected be selected in the mid-rounds of the MLB amateur draft this June.

Meantime, he's got five more home games (two more against Northern Colorado and next weekend's three-game series against Grand Canyon) to push the mark even further.

~ ~ ~

Game Two

Hornets Double Their Pleasure with 9-1 Game Two Victory 

Sacramento State (28-23) used a similar, though less historic pattern of sterling pitching and timely hitting to take the second game of the double header against Northern Colorado 9-1. 

Starter Ty Nichols (4-0) tossed six innings of three-hit ball, allowing the Bears just one earned run, to win his fourth game of the season. 

Once again, the Hornets offense started early. 

In the second Inning, Sacramento State freshman Vinny Esposito (Granite Bay High) doubled to lead off. Two outs later, Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) singled up the middle, scoring Esposito with Hunley taking second on the throw home. Freshman Dan Deely then doubled to left field, knocking in Hunley to make it 2-0 Hornets.  

Sacramento State scored a solo run in the fifth inning when freshman Devin Lehman (Granite Bay High) singled in Nathan Lukes, and Esposito hit a solo shot in the sixth inning to make it 4-1. 

The Hornets added a pair of runs in the seventh inning. With two out, Lukes walked. Senior Scotty Burcham plated Lukes with a double, and then scored on Lehman’s RBI single, giving the Green and Gold a 6-1 advantage. They added one more run in the ninth inning.  

The Hornets tallied 13 hits total with Lehman and Esposito—who were playing last year for Granite Bay High—each went 3-for-5; Devin accounting for two runs batted in and Vinny one RBI.  

Sophomore Sam Long, (Del Campo High), the normal Saturday starter, relieved Nichols in the seventh inning and tossed three hitless innings to earn his first-ever save as a Hornet. Nichols now sports a 1.45 earned run average through 68.1 innings this season. 

After losing five of six at the end of April, Sacramento State (14-9 in WAC) has ripped off six straight victories, five of which were conference wins. 

In these two WAC wins, Sac State scored 16 runs on 26 hits, including Lukes' record-setting homer in Game One.

Sacramento State goes for the sweep against Northern Colorado tomorrow at noon. 


Lukes Ties School Career Hits Record With 2-Run Homer
Sac State Tops UCD 7-1 at Raley Field

by Editor Rick Cabral

Nathan Lukes tied the school record for career hits with a two-run blast and Jake Stassi earned his first win of the season as Sacramento State (26-23) defeated UC Davis 7-1 at Raley Field.



Nathan Lukes smoked this pitch over the right field wall for a two-run homer,
tying the Hornets all-time career hits record.

With Bronson Grubbs on first base, Lukes (Center High) drilled a 2-0 fastball over the right field wall to tie Aurelio Jackson for 229 career hits, while extending the Hornets lead to 7-0.

In the second inning, the sweet-swingin’ Lukes laced a double down the left field line, scoring Dan Deely, as the Hornets made five runs that inning and took over the game from the Aggies. 

Tonight’s victory marks the 10th win for Sacramento State in the last 11 games against their Causeway Classic rivals to the west.

On the hill for the Hornets, Jake Stassi (1-5) spun a two-hitter through six innings, allowing the Aggies' only run. UC Davis scored in the first inning on another of senior Nick Lynch’s patented doubles. Lynch leads all Division I hitters with 27 doubles, and is now hitting a robust .371. 



Jake Stassi won his first game as a Hornet at Raley Field.

Lynch also got the second hit off the left-hander Stassi, who used his curve ball like a carnival magician hypnotizing batters with his 11/5 Yellow Hammer. For Jake—the youngest of the three baseballin’ Stassi brothers of Yuba City—this marked his first collegiate win in two years. The fifth-year senior took a medical redshirt last year at Long Beach State while recovering from an arm injury.

Following Stassi to the mound, three Hornets relievers—Jeremiah Moore, Ty Beardsley and Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Ameriano)—each tossed a shutout inning, collectively limiting the Aggies to just one more hit for a total of three safeties.

Lukes wasn’t the only Hornets' batter peltin’ the pellet tonight. Scotty Burcham—who went 2-for-3—has now collected multiple hits in 10 straight games, and is right behind his teammate with 224 career hits. Burcham surely will surpass Jackson’s old record of 229 before the season is done: the question is will he overtake Lukes before his senior season ends.

Also getting two hits were Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) who had a double and one RBI and Deely who went 2-for-4. In all, the Hornets had 12 hits.

Starter Nat Hamby (0-3) who allowed six hits and five earned runs took the loss for UC Davis, which dropped to 26-20-1 for the year. They just returned from Santa Barbara this weekend where the Gauchos swept them in three games. 

~ ~ ~

The Hornets received some unexpected good news this afternoon when Northern Colorado called to switch this weekend's upcoming series from Greely to Sacramento State due to expected rains in Colorado. The Hornets are tied with Northern Colorado and North Dakota for third place in the upcoming Western Athletic Conference tournament. So this important series, scheduled under Colorado skies, will now be played on the Hornets' home diamond, John Smith Field.



Sac State students Kennedy Kurtz (left) and Leanne Krautheim share a laugh as a foul ball landed between them, striking Leanne on the leg. As Mike Krukow would say, "Bring your glove!" At least this Gamer Babe came up with the ball, which was fouled off by Hornets hero of the night, Nathan Lukes. The young women were among 545 fans who came out for this Tuesday Causeway Classic at Raley Field.



Sacramento State Completes Chi-State Sweep With 9-2 Win

(Sac State Media Relations)

CHICAGO – After scoring seven runs on Friday and eight on Saturday Sacramento State put up a nine-spot on Sunday to complete a dominant three-game sweep of Chicago State with a 9-2 win.  

Senior Scotty Burcham posted his ninth straight multi-hit game going 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the contest and is hitting .488 with a .511 on-base percentage in the last nine games. Junior Chris Lewis also had three hits and two RBIs on Sunday while freshmen Bronson Grubbs and Vinny Esposito and sophomore Brandon Hunley each had two hits. 

On the mound on Sunday senior Ty Nichols got the start for the Hornets and had another superb outing allowing just two runs (one earned) on four hits, one walk, and six strikeouts over seven innings. Freshman Jeremiah Moore had two strikeouts in a scoreless eighth and junior Sutter McLoughlin had a strikeout in a perfect ninth inning. 

Lewis gave the Hornets a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a 2-run double with the bases loaded. Two more Sacramento State runs scored in the second on a fielder's choice RBI from Lukes and an RBI single by Burcham. 

Chicago State got its two runs in the third inning, scoring a run on a fielder's choice and a Hornet throwing error and making the score 4-2 on a Matt Schmidt sacrifice fly. The two-run deficit was short lived as in the next half inning the Hornets got those runs back on another RBI single from Burcham and a fielder's choice groundout from freshman Devin Lehman. 

In the fifth the Hornets benefited from a Chicago State error and scored again on an RBI groundout from freshman Dan Deely. The last two Sacramento State runs scored in the seventh inning on two hits and two Cougar errors with a two-out single by Hunley plating two runs. 

Sacramento State had hits in all but one inning on Sunday, totaling 14 hits with a pair of doubles. Chicago State was held to four hits and just one walk while committing three errors. Starter Tyler Abbott took the loss on Sunday allowing six runs on seven hits and three walks over four innings.  

With a double on Sunday Hornet junior outfielder Nathan Lukes now has 227 career hits to rank third in program history and sit just two hits shy of the program record. Burcham now has 222 career hits as well, good for fourth all-time. Lukes is also now tied for second in program history with 128 career runs scored, just 10 behind the program record, and Burcham has 121. 

Sacramento State (25-23, 12-9 WAC) outscored Chicago State (11-35-1, 4-15-1 WAC) 24-5 in the series, wining each game comfortably while averaging eight runs scored per contest. The Hornets hit .343 as a team in the series, easily the team's best series batting average this season, with six starters hitting better than .360. The pitching was just as good with a 1.33 ERA and a .159 opposing batting average over the three games. 

After its 10-day road trip the Hornets return home for a midweek contest against rival UC Davis at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at Raley Field.

~ ~ ~

Gauchos Sweep Aggies with 13 Inning 4-3 Victory

SANTA BARBARA--In the third and final game, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara (34-10-1) battled 13 innings, but the Gauchos prevailed when Paddy O’Brien hit a two-out single to score Kyle Plantier to take the game 4-3 and sweep the Aggies. 

This entire weekend appeared to be a huge challenge, as UC Davis (26-19-1) was up against the nation’s finest pitching staff. Today they comported themselves admirably against sophomore right hander Shane Bieber, who came in 6-3 with a 1.88 earned run average.

Though not the strikeout machine that Friday’s starter Dillon Tate is, Bieber owned a 68-6 strikeout to walk ratio, which would make any pitching coach drool.  

While Bieber set down the Aggies easily in the first inning, UC Davis starter Max Cordy (McClatchy) found himself in trouble from the beginning. The Gauchos eventually loaded the bases on a hit, a walk and a hit batter. But Cordy got the next hitter to ground out to end the inning. 

In the Santa Barbara second inning, Andrew Calica led off with a double, and scampered home on Clay Fisher’s single. Cordy then gave up a single to Campbell Wear and walked Woody Woodward, and the two base runners completed a successful double steal to put themselves in scoring position. Wear scored on Peter Maris’ sacrifice fly and Cameron Newell singled in Woodward to give the Gauchos a 3-0 lead. 

The Aggies answered in the top of the fifth when Spencer Henderson led off with a single; just the second hit for UC Davis. One out later, Mason Novak—who replaced Nick Lynch, the Aggies doublin’ machine —hit a two-bagger to score Henderson and break the farm boys’ scoring drought. With a two-out walk, Novak advanced to second base, and moved to third on a wild pitch. He scored on Tanner Bily’s infield single to cut the Gaucho’s lead to 3-2.

Henderson went from shortstop to the mound, replacing Cordy (8-2) who gave up eight hits, three earned runs, two walks and had two strikeouts in four innings in the no decision. 

In the eighth, Davis tied the game 3-3 when Bily doubled to right field, went to third on a fly out and scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Austin March.  

Meanwhile, over his six innings the Aggies’ left-hander Henderson—who had pitched only 21+ innings to date—had lulled the Gauchos into an afternoon siesta, permitting just two hits, no runs, while striking out eight.

To start the ninth, UC Santa Barbara replaced Bieber with Kyle Nelson (3-1), who matched Henderson's zeroes on the scoreboard.

UC Davis closer Zach Stone (3-2 with 10 saves) came on to pitch the 11th inning. In the 12th frame the defense bailed him out with an inning-ending double play, giving the Aggies one more chance.

But the Davis offense, which hadn’t scored since the eighth inning, capitulated to the freshman, Nelson (3-1), who threw five innings of scoreless-hitless ball for the win.

In the 13th inning, Plantier (who had two of the Gauchos' 14 hits in a substitution role) singled and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. He went to third base on a groundout to the right side. Head coach Andrew Checketts pinch hit O’Brien for Campbell Wear, and his single up the middle completed the three-game sweep.

UC Santa Barbara is now 10-5 in the Big West, while UC Davis drops to 5-10 in conference. 

On Tuesday evening, the Aggies meet Sacramento State at Raley Field for the second and final matchup between the Causeway competitors.


UC Santa Barbara's Jacome Dominant as Aggies Drop Game Two 4-1

by Editor, Rick Cabral

SANTA BARBARA--When UC Davis traveled to Santa Barbara, head coach Matt Vaughn knew he was in for a tough weekend, as the Gauchos’ pitching staff sported a 2.12 earned run average—best in the nation among Division I schools.

Last night, they got a first-hand look at the quality of the Gauchos’ staff, as ace right hander Dillon Tate allowed just two runs in eight innings of work for a 3-2 victory over the Aggies.

Today, UC Davis faced junior left hander Justin Jacome who pitched even better, proving the Gauchos have a dominant right-left combination on the night of the heavyweight fight.

Davis jumped on Jacome in the fourth inning when Tino Lipson drew a one-out walk, stole second and took third base when the catcher's throw sailed into the outfield. He scored on a sacrifice fly by senior Nick Lynch.

UC Santa Barbara tied the score in their half of the inning on a Billy Fredrick RBI single.

In the bottom of the sixth, UC Santa Barbara senior Peter Maris deposited a Raul Jacobson pitch over the right field fence to give the Gauchos a 2-1 lead. Jacobson walked the next hitter Woody Woodward, who advanced to second on a bunt and scored on Luke Swenson’s single up the middle.

The Gauchos weren’t done.

When Jacobson hit the next batter Fredrick, Vaughn brought in new pitcher Nat Hamby, who allowed an infield single. With the bases loaded, Austin Bush knocked in Swenson, giving the Gauchos a 4-1 lead.

Meantime, Jacome was mowing down the Aggies lineup. With two outs in the eighth, the southpaw walked senior Evan Heptig, but then promptly picked off the Aggies runner at first base to close out the inning.

Domenic Mazza (5-0) relieved Jacome in the ninth and retired all three batters on groundouts to earn his first save of the season.

Through eight sterling innings, Jacome (7-2) allowed one unearned run while scattering three hits, walking three and fanning seven on 115 pitches (75 for strikes). In the process, the lefty lowered his ERA to 2.24.

Another impressive pitching performance by the Gauchos, who came into this weekend series ranked No. 11 by BaseballAmerica and are likely to break into the Top 10 on Monday.

UC Santa Barbara worked Aggies pitchers for 11 hits. Maris, Swenson and Fredrick each had two hits and an RBI for the Gauchos, who improved to 33-10-1 overall and 10-4 in the Big West Conference. The Aggies drop to 5-9 in conference and 26-18-1 overall.

Lynch also had a double, his 26th of the year, to lead all Division I players. With 51 career doubles, he is now one away from the UC Davis school record.

The two teams return for the third game on Sunday.

~ ~ ~

Hornets Prevail 8-1 Over Chicago State

CHICAGO, Ill--Starter Sam Long (6-4) regained his form, limiting Chicago State to one earned run over six innings and Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) supplied a two-run homer to power Sacramento State to a 8-1 victory today.

Long (Del Campo) scattered five hits and Tyler Beardsley pitched three shutout innings in relief to limit C-State to one run. Meantime, the Hornets scored eight runs on 10 hits. Senior Scotty Burcham went 2-for-5 with a double and junior Dane Fujinaka also had a two-bagger for Reggie Christiansen's squad, which claimed the series with the win today.

Sacramento State improves to 24-23 overall and 11-9 in the WAC.

~ ~ ~

2015 NorCal Community College Regional Playoffs--Day Two

No. 1 seed San Joaquin Delta dropped the first game to No. 17 Sequoias 8-4, but came back to win the clincher 5-1 to advance to next weekend's Super Regionals.

No. 9 Cosumnes River had no trouble taking Game Two from No. 8 Gavilan by the score of 4-2 and will also advance to the Super Regionals.

No. 2 Fresno--which lost yesterday to No. 15 Skyline--took both games today by scores of 16-6 and 11-8, and advances to the Super Regionals next weekend.

No. 13 Folsom Lake dropped both games to No. 3 Feather River and were knocked from the playoffs in this their first season.


Sac State Takes First Game vs. Chicago State 7-2

CHICAGO, Ill--The first three Hornets hitters went 8-for-13 and knocked in four of the team's seven's runs tonight leading to a 7-2 win over Chicago State in the first of a three-game series.

Sacramento State head coach Reggie Christiansen shook up the lineup, batting Nathan Lukes (Center High) in the leadoff spot and freshman Devin Lehman (Granite Bay High) in Lukes' usual number-three slot and it paid big dividends. Lukes went 3-for-5 with a double and one run batted in, senior Scotty Burchm continued his torrid pace going 2-for-5 with triple and one RBI, and Lehman went 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI.

Senior right-hander Brennan Leitao (5-4) threw six scoreless innings, allowing Chicago State just two hits while earning the win. With the victory, the Hornets (23-23 and 10-9 WAC) snap a four-game losing streak. Chicago State falls to 4-13-1 in the WAC.

Lukes is now just four hits away from owning the school's all-time hits leader.

The two teams resume the series with Game Two tomorrow.

~ ~ ~

Aggies Lose 3-2 to Santa's Barbara Tate

SANTA BARBARA--UC Davis took one of the nation's top pitchers--Dillon Tate--to the brink today, but suffered a 3-2 loss in Santa Barbara.

Trailing 1-0 in the fifth inning, the Aggies Tanner Bily doubled home a run, and senior Nick Lynch knocked in another with a fielder's choice to take a 2-1 lead.

But the Gauchos tied the game in their half of the fifth, and then took the 3-2 lead in the sixth inning.

Despite a well-pitched game, senior right-hander Spencer Koopmans (5-4) took the loss, snapping the Aggies (26-17-1 overall and 5-8 in Big West) five-game winning streak.

As Tate allowed two earned runs over eight innings, his ERA rose to 1.63. He fanned seven while walking two and hitting two batters. 


Gauchos starter Dillon Tate, a projected first-round pick in next month's MLB Amateur Draft, limited the Aggies to two runs today in winning his seventh game. File photo Rick Cabral.

~ ~ ~

In the first round of NorCal community college playoffs… 

No.1 seed San Joaquin Delta defeated No. 17 Sequoias 5-2

No. 13 Folsom Lake topped No. 3 Feather River 8-7 

No. 9 Cosumnes River trumped No. 8 Gavilan 6-2 




Watching a Pac-12 replay of a Tuesday game when Fullerton State visited USC we saw someting unusual. And according to play-by-play man Ted Robinson, "I've never seen that before."

The play involved Titans starting pitcher sophomore Miles Chambers, a 2012 graduate of Rio Linda High. In the first inning, Chambers allowed the first two batters to reach base on walks. He appeared uncomfortable on the mound. The next hitter advanced the runners into scoring position. And at that point, Chambers called time out.

He ran toward the Titans' dugout, where he changed into a new set of "spikes." At first, Robinson and Pac-12 analyst Scott Erickson (an All-star pitcher who tossed a no-hitter for the Twins in 1994) wondered what prompted the switch. "I'll admit, I've never seen that before," the always low-key Robinson admitted.

Then the camera zoomed in on the issue: the bottom half of the shoe had separated from the upper part.

"A flat tire," Robinson joked. With the equipment malfunction addressed, Chambers trotted back to the mound. Checking the runner at third, he then struck out the clean-up batter, and retired the next hitter to strand the two runners on base.

Chambers tossed 3+ innings against the Trojans, allowing four hits and one earned run (a homer), as Fullerton State took the game 5-3 in 12 innings. For the season, Chambers is 2-3 with a 2.32 earned run average in 42+ innings of work.


OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Sacramento State senior right handed pitcher Brennan Leitao is one of 10 NCAA Div. I baseball student-athletes who excel both on and off the diamond that were selected as finalists today for the 2015 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate baseball.



Brennan Leitao, Sacramento State University

Leitao was one of 30 candidates for the award announced in March, and from that list a national media committee selected the 10 finalists for the award. Those 10 names will now be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote, and fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award.  

Fan voting will run through June 8 on and fans can vote once per day. This year's Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2015 College World Series® in June. The other finalists come from schools such as UCLA, Arizona State, Oklahoma State, LSU, and Florida. 

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. 

A four-year starting pitcher, Leitao has excelled not only on the mound but also in the classroom and community. He is a three-time Academic All-WAC Selection and is on track for his fourth such honor following his senior season, having already completed his degree in three and a half years with a 3.33 cumulative GPA majoring in communication studies.  

Leitao overcame a broken back prior to his junior in high school to become a Division I player and has worked his way into becoming one of the premier pitchers on the west coast. He is Sacramento State's all-time leader in wins and innings pitched and is third in program history with 209 career strikeouts with a 3.05 career ERA. He is a two-time all-WAC First Team selection and in 2015 was named a Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American and the WAC Preseason Pitcher of the Year.  

He has also done a tremendous amount of work in the community, serving as a volunteer coach for a 9-year-old travel team and volunteering 50 hours teaching sports at his church in Irvine in the summers following his freshman and sophomore seasons. He also has done multiple homeless feeds with the team at First Covenant Church in Sacramento and has registered at least 20 hours of community service with the team each year. 


Notre Dame Shuts out Sac State 2-0  

(Sac State Media Relations contributed to this report)

NORTH BEND, Ind. -- Two Notre Dame pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout of Sacramento State (22-23) today, winning 2-0. 

A solo homer off Hornets starter Jared Paredez in the first by senior Ryan Bull put Notre Dame (29-16) ahead 1-0.

In the fourth inning, Sac State reliever Grant Kekuk gave up two hits and an earned run, as the Irish took a 2-0 lead.  

Although four Hornets pitchers allowed only five hits, the offense was limited to two singles by red-hot Scotty Burcham and not much else. Notre Dame escaped from trouble with four double plays, adding to its Division I-leading mark of 55 coming into the game.

Burcham started a final-gasp rally with a lead0ff single in the ninth inning. Nathan Lukes flied out and Vinny Esposito grounded into a game-ending double play. 

The non-conference loss is Sacramento State’s fourth in a row. The team battled No. 15-ranked Iowa last night, but lost 4-3 in an 18-inning contest.

The Hornets are hitting just .254 as a team this year, yet the pitching staff is holding the opposition to a .249 average and a 3.34 earned run average. By comparison the 2014 offense posted a .282 average, while the staff ERA was only a little better at 3.27. Clearly, pitching has kept these Hornets in most ballgames.

Sac State heads to the the Windy City for a three-game Western Athletic Conference series against Chicago State.


Olson's Slam Rallies Aggies 9-7 at Santa Clara

Lynch Sets Two Records with Three Doubles





(UC Davis Media Relations)

SANTA CLARA --  Junior Cameron Olson's grand slam with nobody out in the seventh keyed a six-run UC Davis rally, erasing a three-run deficit and helping lift the Aggies to their fifth straight win, a 9-7 victory over host Santa Clara in a non-conference clash at Schott Stadium.

UC Davis improved to 26-16-1 overall heading into this weekend's Big West Conference series against nationally ranked UC Santa Barbara, taking both midweek meetings with the Broncos in 2015.

Senior Nick Lynch also finished 4-for-4 in the game, tying a school single-game record with three doubles and setting a new single-season record with 25, passing the previous mark of 24 held by Jim Saunders that had stood since 1979.  Lynch now leads all D-1 hitters in the nation with 25 doubles.

Santa Clara, which jumped out to a quick lead after both teams combined for nine runs over the first three innings, fell to 18-25 overall with the loss.

Trailing 6-3, the Aggies' big inning opened with an infield single by Tanner Bily and the bases were quickly loaded thanks to walks issued to Tino Lipson and Lynch, bringing up Izaak Silva. The senior catcher worked the count full before drawing a walk and driving home a run, then Austin March rapped a single to right, scoring Lipson and making it 6-5.

The comeback was complete when Olson strode to the plate next and smashed a 2-1 offering from reliever Nick Medeiros (1-1) over the wall in center field, clearing the bases and giving UC Davis the 9-6 lead.

Riding a five-game winning streak, the Aggies head south on Friday for a three-game series against No. 11-ranked UC Santa Barbara (31-10), whose pitching staff boasts a 2.12 earned run average-- best in the nation among Division I schools.
~ ~ ~


 (Sac State Media Relations)

IOWA CITY, Iowa - In the longest game in program history, Sacramento State battled No. 15 Iowa for more than five and a half hours before the Hawkeyes scored on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 18th inning for a 4-3 win.

Ironically, Sacramento State (22-22) and Iowa (31-11) were scheduled to play a doubleheader on Tuesday but it was reduced to one game after weather forced the Hawkeyes to play a doubleheader on Sunday. The teams ended up playing 18 innings anyway in five hours and 40 minutes as both teams did not relent and the two pitching staffs combined to strand 38 runners on base.

In the 18th Iowa center fielder Eric Toole, in his ninth at bat of the game, led off with a single and reached third with one away after another Hawkeye single and a Hornet fielding error. After stranding the bases loaded in both the 15th and 17th innings, Iowa was finally able to get the winning run home on a sacrifice fly to center off the bat of John Barrett.

No. 15 Iowa finished with four runs on 13 hits and two errors stranding 18 runners on base. The Hornets had the bulk of the opportunities until the last few innings, finishing with three runs on 17 hits and five errors with 20 runners stranded.

At 18 innings the game was three innings more than the previous longest game in program history, a 15-inning game at home vs. Seattle U last season that the Hornets won by the same score as Tuesday's game, 4-3. It was not the longest game in WAC history, however, as former league member Fresno State played a 22-inning game against San Diego in 2011.
~ ~ ~

CC Playoffs Start This Week  

The Community College baseball playoffs begin this week and three of the area’s six teams are in. 

No. 16 Yuba College (21-15) of the Bay Valley Conference will host up No. 17 Sequoias in a “play-in” game this afternoon to see who goes to the 16-team “Big Dance” beginning Friday. 

Folsom Lake (22-14), in its maiden season, finished one notch ahead of Yuba in conference and will play at No. 3 Feather River, a perennial playoff finisher. 

No. 9 Cosumnes River (23-13), which finished third in the Big-8 Conference, will travel to Gilroy to face No. 8 Gavilan. 

For the first time since 1980, Sacramento City College (17-19) failed to make the playoffs. On a positive note, American River College (17-19) improved this season, finishing in a tie with their big brother Panthers and one spot ahead of traditional power Sierra (14-21), which dropped to sixth in the Big-8 Conference in 2015.

San Joaquin Delta College 33-2, which went undefeated through its first 28 games until losing at Sac City College, is NorCal's No.1 team, and in some rankings the top CC in the nation. The Mustangs were led by Cameron Leeper (Grant High), who finished 12-0 with a state-leading 101 strikeouts.


Hornets Hitters Burcham and Lukes Play "Hit Parade" Like Few Before Them

By Editor, Rick Cabral

Sacramento State is on a 10-game road trip, their longest of the year. Next up tomorrow is No. 15-ranked Iowa of the Big 10 and on Wednesday they head to Notre Dame of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Although the Hornets are not winning at the same clip as last year, two of their consistent highlights this season have been s enior shortstop Scotty Burcham and outfielder Nathan Lukes (Center High), who are both closing in on the career hits mark of 229 set by Aurelio Jackson (2001).

Lukes, the lefthanded slugger, has 219 hits and is just 10 away from the career mark. Burcham, who bats from the right side, is right behind Lukes with 211 total hits and shares fifth-place with Hornets' Derrick Chung (2012) and Tim Wheeler (2009). Wheeler (El Camino High) became the program's first-ever first-round draft selection when he was taken 32nd overall by the Colorado Rockies in 2009.

Lukes has surpassed those two alumni, and is just seven shy of tying David Flores (2008), who managed 226 hits over his illustrious career. Flores is in his first season as an assistant coach to Hornets' head man, Reggie Christiansen.

By the time the team arrives home on Sunday, it is quite possible Lukes could be the program's new record holder. With Burcham right behind.


Parker's Two Homer Day Leads River Cats in Win  

(River Cats’ Media Relations) 

Jarrett Parker paced the Sacramento offense today as the River Cats beat Tacoma, ending their six-game losing streak.

Parker was 4-for-4 with two home runs – one an inside-the-park home run – and four RBI.

Sacramento's starting pitcher Ty Blach dazzled, tossing six three-hit innings and allowing just one run while striking out three and walking none.


College News

Aggies Sweep Tigers With 11-5 Victory in Stockton

U.C. Davis’ Austin March pounced on Pacific pitching for two home runs and five runs batted in to lead the Aggies to an 11-5 victory—and a series sweep—today in non-conference action at Klein Family Field in Stockton.

March had a three-run homer in the first inning, and a two-run blast in the fifth inning when the Aggies (25-16-1) pushed their lead to 10-4. Senior catcher Izaak Silva continued his hot hand, going 2-for-4 and raising his team leading batting average to .369.

Aggies junior right hander Max Cordy (McClatchy High) scattered nine hits and five Tigers runs over five innings to win his eighth game of the season. He now leads the staff with an 8-2 record.

Pacific starter Cory Popham (1-4) took the loss. The Tigers fall to 9-32 for the season.

~ ~ ~


(Sac State Media Relations)

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Sacramento State junior outfielder Nathan Lukes hit his fifth home run of the season and sophomore Sam Long allowed just five hits over seven innings but North Dakota rallied with two runs in the seventh inning for a 2-1 win on Sunday.

Lukes broke a scoreless tie with a home run in the fifth inning on Sunday, launching a 3-2 pitch over the right field wall leading off the inning. Long had allowed just two hits over the first six innings but North Dakota staged a rally in the seventh.

North Dakota (16-20, 10-8 WAC), which entered the weekend tied with the Hornets in the WAC standings, moved ahead by taking two of three in the series. Sacramento State (22-21, 9-9 WAC) scored five runs in a win over UND on Friday but was held to one total run over the last two games of the series.

Although Long posted a quality start, he now has lost four consecutive games for a 5-4 mark.

Senior Scotty Burcham went 3-for-5 Sunday for his third multi-hit game in as many contests in the series, going 8-for-13 (.615) over the three games with two runs scored. Freshman Dan Deely went 2-for-3 on Sunday and junior Chris Lewis had a single and a walk.

The Hornets remain out east over the coming week for games against No. 17 Iowa and Notre Dame before a WAC series next weekend at Chicago State. The Hornets and Hawkeyes will play a double header on Tuesday in Iowa City beginning at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.


Pacific's Ninth Inning Rally Falls Short in 5-4 Loss to UC Davis

Right fielder Tanner Bily threw out the potential tying run with two out in the ninth inning to preserve UC Davis’ 5-4 victory over Pacific last night at Klein Family Field in Stockton.

The Tigers trailed 5-2 in their last at bat, and quickly loaded the bases with no outs against Aggies’ closer Zach Stone. A walk to Dallas Correa cut the lead to 5-3. Two outs later, and the bases still loaded, Pacific’s dynamo Tyler Sullivan singled through the right side, scoring Nate Verlin.

But Bily’s throw to the plate nailed pinch runner Jimmy Boras (Jesuit High) to end the game.

The Aggies scored two runs in both the third and fourth innings off Pacific starter Will Lydon (1-8), and held a 5-0 lead when Pacific answered with one run in the sixth inning.

UC Davis starter Raul Jacobson (4-2) pitched eight innings, allowing four earned runs on nine hits and two walks, while striking out four Tigers. Stone earned his ninth save.

UC Davis managed eights hits in the contest, including a 3-for-4 night for senior shortstop Ryan Heptig, who drove in two runs. Center fielder John Williams—who knocked in the winning run with a suicide squeeze bunt in Friday’s 4-3 win over Pacific—had two hits including a double.

No doubles this game for Nick Lynch—the nation’s Division 1 co-leader with 21 doubles—who went 1-for-4.

Pacific’s Sullivan—the team’s leading hitter—raised his batting average to .364 with a 4-for-5 night and one RBI.

With the victory UC Davis improves to 24-16-1, while Pacific drops to 9-31 in a tough season for Ed Sprague’s Tigers.

The two teams meet this afternoon for the final contest in the three-game series.


North Dakota Shuts Down Hornets 10-0

North Dakota left hander Za ch Muckenhirn spun a six-hit shutout, while his offensive mates pasted Sacramento State pitchers for a 10-0 Mercy Ruling win at home in the second game of the series.

North Dakota pounced on Hornets’ starter Justin Dillon (5-4 from El Dorado High) for seven earned runs in four innings. Meantime, the southpaw Muckenhirn silenced the Hornets’ bats, with Scotty Burcham managing two hits in the contest.

Trailing 9-0 in the eighth inning, the home team managed one run off Anthony Castenada (Woodland Christian) to give them a 10-run advantage, which after seven innings triggers the Mercy Ruling end to the game.

With the loss Sacramento State falls to 22-20. The two teams sport the same 9-8 records in the Western Athletic Conference, and will break the tie in the final game tomorrow.


College News

Eighth Inning Suicide Squeeze Leads to Aggies 4-3 Win Over Pacific 

by Editor, Rick Cabral

UC Davis’ Izaak Silva scored on an eighth inning suicide squeeze giving the Aggies a 4-3 lead, which proved to be the winning run against University of the Pacific this afternoon at Dobbins Stadium.  


Aggies' Izaak Silva, shown earlier this month against the Hornets, scored the winning run on a suicide squeeze play in the eighth inning today as UC Davis defeated Pacific 4-3.
File photo Rick Cabral.

With storm clouds brewing in the West, and 20-mile-per-hour winds blowing in the hitter’s face, Silva led off the eighth inning and smashed a triple over the right fielder’s head that bounced against the wall under the flagpoles. One out later, when John Williams squared around, Silva crashed hard from third base and scored easily when the squeeze bunt was fielded by Pacific pitcher Taylor Johnson (0-1), who had no choice but to throw out Williams at first base.

That gave the Aggies a 4-3 lead and held up when closer Zach Stone relieved starter Spencer Koopmans in the ninth inning.

But not before Pacific made things interesting by drawing a one-out walk by pinch hitter J.P. Yakel. Tigers head coach Ed Sprague sent in pinch runner Jimmy Boras (Jesuit High) and sent him to second on the first pitch. Silva, the catcher, gunned down Boras for the second out. Stone then fanned the final batter to preserve the victory for UC Davis (23-16-1) and earn his eighth save.

Koopmans (5-3) pitched eight innings, allowing five hits and three walks. Only one of the three Pacific runs was earned, as Aggies’ second baseman Tino Lipson made two consecutive errors in the third inning, leading to two Tigers scores that inning. 

Lipson made up for his infield gaffes by going 2-for-4, and starting two of the defense’s 4-6-3 double plays on the day.

Pacific (9-30) opened the scoring with a run in the second, but the Aggies came back to tally two runs in the bottom of the second off starter Jake Jenkins. Cameron Olson (who had two hits today) tripled to right center field, scoring Austin March, and Williams hit a single to shortstop which plated Olson for a 2-1 UC Davis lead. 

After the game, assistant head coach Tony Schifano said the suicide squeeze was an easy call as “Johnny (Williams) can really handle the bat. I gave him one pitch to hit, and we said ‘whether it’s a ball or a strike, we’re going to squeeze on the next pitch.’” Schifano credited Silva who scored on the play. “Izaak’s timing on the pitch was tremendous.” 

Silva, who is the team’s leading hitter with a .368 batting average, commented on the Aggie’s recent downturn due to injuries. “It took us a little while to regain our identity, but we’ve had a couple of good wins. Things are getting loose, and we’re getting back to (winning ways).”  

On Tuesday, UC Davis won in walk-off fashion 6-5 in the ninth inning over Santa Clara at home. Today’s victory meant another close, one-run margin. 

Silva said the eighth inning triple “was awesome,” but conceded he was more pumped at his previous at bat. In the sixth inning, Nick Lynch hita leadoff double, his 21st of the season, making him the NCCAA Division I co-leader.  Silva moved Lynch to third with a fielder’s choice to the right side.

“Coach let me swing away rather than bunt, and I got him over. Having a good approach there helped in my last at bat, because you build confidence with at bats like that one.”

When Silva came to the plate in the eighth inning, the Pacific outfielders once again were playing shallow, due to the strong winds blowing from the southwest. Silva’s blow was one of four that sailed over the Tigers outfielder’s heads this afternoon.

Silva, the scrappy senior from Soquel, admitted that batting with the wind in the face makes it hard on the hitter, but “it’s one of those things that’s going to happen and you don’t try to change your swing. You’re just trying to shoot holes and get on base.” 

His blast found a big hole in right center field, and Silva ended up scoring the winning run in a victory that will boost confidence in the Aggies’ locker room. 

Overlooked in the loss was the fine pitching by Tigers’ starter Jenkins (2-6), who scattered nine hits over seven innings, allowing three earned runs. Entering today’s game with a 8.48 earned run average, he dropped his ERA more than one point today.

The scene now shifts to Stockton where the Tigers will host two non-conference games tomorrow and Sunday at Klein Family Field. 

~ ~ ~


(Sac State Media Relations)

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Senior Brennan Leitao allowed just one run and two hits over six innings and senior Scotty Burcham had three hits to lead the Hornets offense in a 5-1 win over North Dakota on Friday afternoon.

With the win Sacramento State (22-19, 9-7 WAC) moved one game ahead of North Dakota (14-20, 8-8 WAC) and opened a stretch of nine road games in 10 days with a victory.

Leitao picked up his fourth win of the year after allowing just three base runners in six innings of work. With four strikeouts Leitao moved past former Hornet pitcher Roland DeLaMazza into third place in program history with 209 career strikeouts.



A committee of Fresno State (20-21) pitchers shut out Sacramento State 8-0 tonight at Raley Field.

The Hornets (21-19) managed just five hits against five Bulldogs hurlers, with starter R. Thomas (2-1) notching the win after giving up four hits.

Reliever Grant Kukuk (2-3), who allowed just one run in two innings of work, took the loss for Sacramento State. With the Bulldogs up by only 1-0 in the eighth inning, Hornets' pitcher Chad Perry (Marysville High) allowed five earned runs in his one inning of work.

The loss also marks the first time that Sac State's leading hitter Nathan Lukes (Center High) failed to reach base this season. Lukes, WHO went 0-for-4, is now hitting .361 overall.

Sac State hits the road this weekend for a three-game series against North Dakota, followed by two games at Iowa and one at Notre Dame before visiting Chicago State on Friday, May 1.


(UCDavis Media Relations)

DAVIS, Calif. -- For the third time this season, senior outfielder Austin March came up with runners in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth and did not disappoint, smashing a single through the right side to plate teammate Nick Lynch all the way from second base, sending UC Davis home with a 6-5 walk-off win over San Jose State on Tuesday afternoon at Dobbins Stadium.

The win improved the Aggies to 22-16-1 overall, putting them one win shy of last year's win total.

~ ~ ~

Cosumnes River Hands Delta Second Loss of Season, 8-1  

by Editor Rick Cabral

With their ace pitcher Cameron Leeper resting a tired arm, Delta College dropped just its second game of the season 8-1 to Cosumnes River College at Cecchetti Field in Stockton. 

And the best hitting team in the Big-8 conference trumped the best pitching staff in the state. 

The Hawks were more than happy to see Leeper, who is 11-0 with 91 strikeouts on the bench, as CSR is fighting for a second place finish in the Big-8, which Delta wrapped up last week. Cosumnes River  

Cosumnes River scored three times in the first inning off starter Tucker McPhaul, who was erratic from the starter. Hawks leadoff hitter Devin Pettingill drew a walk. With one out Alex Fitchett was hit by a pitch. Cleanup hitter Logan Marston singled to load the bases.  

Lefthander Tyler Blake, was plunked—the second batter in the inning—to plate the Hawks first run. Fitchett scored on a passed ball for a second run, and Chris Nicholson’s fielder’s choice made it 3-0.


Hawks pitcher Matt Stafford allowed one run in four innings today.

Hawks starter Matt Stafford struggled early as well. Coming into today’s game, Stafford had only thrown 10+ innings this year. When he went 3-0 on leadoff hitter Ryan Smith, Cosumnes River immediately got the bullpen going. Smith hit a laser off the third baseman’s leg and eventually scored on Collin Theroux’ RBI single to make it 3-1.

But Stafford settled down and shutout the Mustangs for three more innings.

In the second inning, the Hawks picked up where they left off when McPhaul hit the leadoff batter. Gabe Abelia. When he walked number-nine hitter Trevor Ray, the Mustangs brought in reliever Jacob Rosales. Rosales mishandled a sacrifice bunt by Pettingill, and the Hawks again had the bases loaded. 

Andre Gregory singled up the middle to score one run. Rosales then hit Fitchett in the foot to plate the fifth CSR run, making it four hit batters in less than two innings. Marston shot an RBI single through the infield and a fielder choice by Blake added two more runs. Fitchett scored on a wild pitch to make it eight runs in just two innings. The number-one ranked (PerfectGame) community college team in the nation trailed 8-1.

And that was it. 

Cosumnes River (23-11/13-6 Big-8) did all that damage on just as many hits (four) as hit batters. 

Brett Elgin (7-2) relieved Stafford in the fifth inning and pitched four innings of shutout ball for the victory, allowing the Mustangs just two hits. Austin Ales pitched a shutout ninth inning.

The two teams meet again Thursday at the Hawks' home park.

College News


Sac State Comeback Foils San Francisco Dons

(Sac State Media Relations)

The Hornets mounted a four-run ninth inning rally to come from behind and beat University of San Francisco in the City today 7-4.

Freshman Dan Deely, who had the go ahead RBI hit in the ninth inning, went 3-for-5 in the game with three RBI for his first career 3-hit game.

Junior Chris Lewis and sophomore Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) each had two hits. Hunley had two of four Sacramento State doubles and Nathan Lukes (Center High) and Vinny Esposito (Granite Bay High) each scored twice.

Senior Jake Stassi (Yuba City High) gave the Hornets a strong start, allowing three runs on eight hits with no walks and three strikeouts over five innings. Junior Tyler Beardsley also pitched well in relief, allowing just one run on four hits in three innings to pick up his first Hornet win.

Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano) earned his sixth save of the season.

Sacramento State plays again tomorrow night hosting Fresno State at 6:35 p.m. at Raley Field.

Hawks Travel to Stockton to Tangle with Near-Perfect Mustangs


by Editor, Rick Cabral

There’s a big community college matchup in Stockton today, as Delta hosts Cosumnes River College in the final regular series of the season.

Delta leads the state with a 31-1 overall record and has clinched the Big-8 Conference championship with a 17-1 mark. Cosumnes River, which nipped Sac City 8-7 on Friday to improve to 12-6, is tied with Santa Rosa for second place. 

On Friday Delta beat Diablo Valley 1-0 as Colin Theroux knocked in Jacob Thomas on a first inning fielder’s choice and pitcher Rick Delgado through a three-hit shutout to claim the Mustangs’ 31st victory. Delgado, who struck out nine while walking one, is now 7-0.

But that nail-biter wasn't as harrowing as it once might have been. Two weekends ago Sacramento City College pasted the Mustangs 7-1 at Cecchetti Field with their first loss of the season.

Delta had won its first 28 games, and are ranked No. 1 in the nation by Perfect Game (

Starting for Delta today is lefthander Cameron Leeper (Grant High), who is second in the state with a perfect 11-0 record and tied for first with 91 strikeouts. His 1.59 earned run average is third best among California CC pitchers, as is his 10.32 strikeout-per-game ratio. Teammate Dean Kremer is 9-0 with a 1.82 ERA.

The Mustangs' only Top 10 conference hitter is Kris Bartlett (.333). As a team they’re hitting .272, tied for second in the Big-8.

By contrast, the Hawks .311 team batting average leads the Big-8 as they claim six of the Top 10 hitters with Alex Fitchett (.361), Trevor Ray (.348), Andre Gregory (.344), Nico Toni (.336), Tyler Blake and Devin Pettengill (both .333). 

This is big game and should be a good 'un.


College News


(Sac State Media Relations)

 SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Freshman first baseman Vinny Esposito hit a pair of home runs and junior Nathan Lukes went 4-for-4 and reached base five times to ignite the Hornet offense in a 7-4 win over CSU Bakersfield in the series finale.

Sacramento State (20-18, 8-7 WAC) totaled seven extra base hits among its 13 knocks in the game after being held scoreless in the first two games of the series. Sophomore Justin Dillon also threw five strong innings in the win, which snapped a nine-game winning streak for CSU Bakersfield (22-15-1, 10-4-1 WAC). 

"I was proud of how we bounced back," Sacramento Sate head coach Reggie Christiansen said. "I thought yesterday was kind of a low point in the season for us and it was important for our guys to come back out here on Sunday and salvage the series. I was proud of the effort we gave and we talked after the game that its one thing to do it once but we need to find a way to be more consistent."

Esposito had his first career multi-homer game, hitting a two-run home run to left in the fifth inning and blasting a solo shot off the scoreboard in the seventh. He has hit three home runs in his last five games with a team-high five homers overall this year.

Sophomore Brandon Hunley and junior Chris Lewis also had two-hit games on Sunday as the Hornets got contributions throughout the lineup. Hunley's two hits were a double and an RBI triple and sophomore Gunner Pollman also had a double. Lukes recorded his fourth career four-hit game and his second of the season, doubling twice and also drawing a walk to reach base in all five of his at-bats.

Sacramento State matched its season high of seven extra-base hits a week after scoring 13 runs on seven extra-base hits last Sunday at Utah Valley. CSU Bakersfield's starting pitchers in the first two games of the series held the Hornets scoreless on just six singles before the bats came alive on Sunday.

Dillon allowed just four hits and one run over five innings to match sophomore Sam Long with a team-high five wins. Senior Ty Nichols allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits in three innings before junior closer Sutter McLoughlin finished the game in a non-save situation.

Sacramento State will play two midweek games in the coming week, playing at San Francisco at 2 p.m. Tuesday before hosting Fresno State at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday night at Raley Field. 

~ ~ ~

Aggies Drop Game 6-3 and Series to UC Irvine

(UC Davis Media Relations)

IRVINE, Calif. --  A three-run fourth inning erased a two-run deficit for host UC Irvine, and the No. 19 Anteaters stranded 11 UC Davis baserunners on the day, rallying to win the series with a 6-3 victory over the Aggies in the finale on Sunday afternoon at Anteater Ballpark.

Despite collecting 10 hits -- four of those going for extra bases -- UC Davis fell to 21-16-1 overall and 5-7 in Big West Conference action. UC Irvine improved to 23-13 and 10-2 with the win.

Senior Nick Lynch finished with a game-high three hits, while Tino Lipson was 2-for-5 with a double, notching his fourth consecutive multi-hit game. Senior catchr Izaak Silva, who also finished with a pair of hits, extended his hitting streak to a team-high eight games.

Starter Max Cordy (McClatchy) gave up three earned runs in less than four innings of work, taking his second loss of the season. He is now 7-2 on the year.

The Aggies won the first game of the series on Friday 8-3, then dropped a 12-inning game 4-3 yesterday.

UC Davis takes a break from Big West play next week, hosting San Jose State in a non-conference mid-week contest on Tuesday (April 21) at 2:30 p.m., before taking on former league rival Pacific in a three-game series beginning on Friday (April 24) at 2:30 p.m. at Dobbins Stadium.


Bakersfield's Barragan Shuts Out Sac State 5-0

Cal State Bakersfield (22-14-1) starter James Barragan (5-3) spun a one-hit shutout as the Roadrunners took Game Two 5-0 at John Smith Field.

For the second straight game, Sacramento State bats were mired in a meat locker, as Barragan fanned 10 Hornets hitters en route to the victory. Chris Lewis picked up the lone hit for his team.

Yesterday, the Roadrunners shut out the Hornets 1-0.

Bakersfield’s Jordie Hein opened the game with a leadoff single off southpaw Sam Long (5-3). One out later, David Metzgar singled to center field, with Hein scooting to third base. Metzgar then stole second base.

Long got two quick strikes on Max Carter, who drilled foul balls wide of third base, including one that bounced off the shoulders of Hein, the runner who was standing in foul territory near third base. Hornets third baseman Dan Deely then cheated toward the bag. Carter shot a single just past Deely’s outstretch glove, scoring both runners to give CSU Bakersfield a 2-0 lead.

In the fourth inning on a 1-2 count Roadrunners’ lefty Ryan Grotjohn led off with a home run over the right field fence. Soloman Williams then singled off Long, and advanced to third base after a bunt and long fly out. Hein hit a soft grounder to the left side, but shortstop Scotty Burcham couldn’t reach it in time, and the Roadrunners had their fourth run of the game.

The Roadrunners, who now own a nine-game winnings streak, collected 11 hits off Long and three relievers. Meantime, Bakersfield’s Barragan iced the Hornets bats all afternoon, as temperatures climbed into the mid-80s.

For Long, this was his third consecutive defeat. Last weekend, Utah Valley shellacked him for nine earned runs, and today he gave up four in five innings, raising his earned run average to 3.53.

The Hornets (19-18 / 7-7 in WAC) have now dropped their third consecutive conference series. Bakersfield, meanwhile, improves to 10-3-1 in conference and tomorrow will try to sweep Sacramento State in the series finale at noon.



Leitao's Gem Wasted--CSU Bakersfield's Carter Silences Hornets 1-0

by Editor Rick Cabral

Sacramento State (19-17) starter Brennan Leitao came out on the short end of a 1-0 pitcher’s duel as Cal State Bakersfield (21-14-1) took Game One in the Western Athletic Conference series at John Smith Field.

Leitao went the distance in allowing just one earned run on five hits, no walks, while striking out seven Roadrunners.


Brennan Leitao notched his 200th career strikeout today in a losing effort. File photo © Rick Cabral.

But CSU Bakersfield starter Hayden Carter—with excellent defense behind him—was equally as good, as the Roadrunners (9-3-1) claimed their eighth consecutive win in conference.

Plus, his offense pushed across the game’s only run in the second inning when the Roadrunners bunched three consecutive singles off Leitao. Chance Gusbeth singled to center field and Brandon Hunley’s perfect relay throw to the plate was a hair late as Ryan  Grotjohn slid under the tag by Hornets’ catcher Gunner Pollman.

As it turned out, that was the only score of the day as both pitchers had their mojo working on the hill.

Carter could point to a half dozen “web gem” style plays by his defense, including two layin’-out catches by center fielder Jordie Hein. In the ninth inning, first baseman Max Carter gobbled up a smash by Hornets’ leading hitter Nate Lukes, flipping in time as the pitcher covered the bag for the first out. If Lukes’ ball rolls to the outfield, the Hornets have the leadoff hitter on with no outs, and a speedy runner at first.

But it was not to be.

Leitao pitched one of his finest games of his career, and that’s saying something as he’s the Hornets’ career leader in wins (27). Today marked his first complete game of the season, and was his best outing in five starts dating back to a three-hit, eight-inning shutout at Cal Poly where he also fanned seven on March 13.

In the process, Leitao (3-4) lowered his earned run average to 2.59, while his record dips under .500. The Hornets are now 7-6 in the WAC.

Senior shortstop Scotty Burcham went 2-for-3 for the Hornets, who managed just five hits against the right-hander senior Carter, who improves to 5-3.

The two teams meet again tomorrow (1 p.m.) and Sunday (noon).


Editor's Commentary

Pacific Tigers -- Bring Back the Bunt!

On this Tax Day 2015, we are not here to advocate for the Flat Tax or even the abolition of taxes altogether. 

Instead in a roundabout way we are reminded of how the Pacific Tigers baseball team yesterday taxed the Hornets with a display of bunting we have never seen at the professional or collegiate level. Pacific bunted 11 times in the game and it resulted in a 9-6 victory for the Stocktonites.

Last time a team attempted that many bunts, Japan took their first Little League World Series title as Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” rocked the pop charts.

The Tigers -- whom the Hornets defeated 3-2 just a couple weeks ago -- entered the contest with a 7-27 record. And as the Green and Gold have taken it on the chin in two successive weekends in conference play (a series sweep at the hands of Seattle U and just one win at Utah Valley last weekend), one would have assumed the Hornets would be licking their chops at the prospect of cleaning up against the seemingly-defanged Tigers.

Instead, coach Ed Sprague employed a technique more commonly used in the days of “Wee” Willie Keeler and “Rabbit” Maranville. And it worked.

In his 12th season as the Pacific skipper, Sprague, who played 11 years in the major leagues, knows a thing or three about baseball. He told BaseballSacramento that Pacific “had been scuffling offensively,” averaging a paltry “four or five hits a game.” So he elected to implement the aggressive bunting strategy at Sacramento State.

The plan, he said, was to treat certain batters “like National League pitchers; move guys ninety (feet) and get guys up there who maybe have been swinging the bats a little better with runners in scoring position.” Of the team’s 11 bunt attempts, four went for base hits (the team had 15 hits in all).

Leadoff man Tyler Sullivan, who opened the game with a bunt hit and started a two-run rally, was a perfect 5-for-5. Two of his hits were of the bunt variety.

J.J. Wagner, who went 4-for-4, also had two bunt hits, including a suicide squeeze bunt in the eighth inning that gave the Tigers their 7th run. This proved to be the winning tally, as Pacific’s defense limited the Hornets to 6 scores.

In that eighth inning rally, three consecutive Pacific batters bunted, including Wagner. In all, the Tigers were credited with six sacrifice bunts in the contest, two that drove in runs. Former Stanford coach Dean Stotz, who spent 37 seasons on the Farm, admitted about the bunt plethora: “That is wayyyy over the norm.”

St. Mary’s College leads the nation in sacrifice bunts with 1.64 per game.

Although the Hornets played errorless defense, several of Pacific’s bunts were mishandled, which is one of the desired outcomes when an offense employs the bunt strategy. “The breaks fell our way, which made it look like a great strategy,” Sprague admits with laughs the day after his team recorded just its eighth victory of the season.

In 2012, writer Greg Jayne of The (Vancouver) Columbian went through the archives of Retrosheet and did a study on the effectiveness of the sacrifice bunt in the pros from 1993-2010 (ironically, this period happens to vaguely correspond to the Steroid Era). He found that teams that employed a sacrifice bunt with a runner on first and no out decreased their run efficiency by 23 percent versus a team that swung away.

“(O)uts are a commodity,” the study proved to Jayne. ”They are the currency by which the game is governed, and willfully giving up an out is never worth the extra base that a bunt can provide. It’s trading a piece of gold for a piece of silver. ”

Really? Tell that to Ed Sprague and the Pacific Tigers, who defied conventional wisdom yesterday by spinning gold with a square-around strategy.

And in the process increased their win percentage by 14 percent.

I’ll take those metrics any day, especially on April 15.


College News

Titans Act Like It, Take Series with 13-3 Win on Sunday

By editor Rick Cabral 

The Titans (19-15) and Aggies came out swinging on Sunday, scoring two and three runs respectively in the first inning.

But it was the boys from SoCal who continued to pour it on, as Fullerton State added 11 more runs to take Game Three 13-3 this afternoon.

On the mound for UC Davis today was Max Cordy (McClatchy) who came in with a nation leading 7-0 record. By the time he departed in the fifth inning, the Titans were in firm control. 



Max Cordy earned his first loss of the season as Fullerton State defated UC Davis 13-3 this afternoon.

In the first inning, Fullerton State scored twice on RBI singles by Davi  Olmedo-Barrera and Scott Hurst.

UC Davis answered when catcher Izaak Silva homered over the left field wall for his first home run of the season, making it 2-1. Nick Lynch gained first on an infield hit. And when Austin March singled, Lynch moved to third on an errant throw by third baseman Dustin Vaught (Bella Vista/Sierra), and later scored on a wild pitch, tying the game 2-2. Alex Aguiar’s sacrifice fly brought home March, giving the Aggies a 3-2 lead.

It would be the last time UC Davis led. 

Cordy got the next four outs, but in the third inning, Josh Estil reached on a throwing error by Aggies’ second baseman Tino Lipson, who made three of the team’s four errors today. Olmedo-Barrera doubled home Estil, tying the game at 3-3. 

Cordy (7-1) gave up a pair of walks, sandwiched around another Hurst RBI single. Altogether, the Titans scored four times in the third inning and took a 6-3 lead. When they added another run in the fifth inning, Cordy was out of the game, and the rout appeared on.

After the three-run first inning, Fullerton State left-hander John Gavin (5-1) put up zeroes on the board and allowed the Aggies just one more hit through five innings.  

The Titans didn’t stop there, adding two in the seventh, one in the eighth and three runs in the ninth, as head coach Rick Vanderhook rewarded the reserve players with at bats. One of those—Dalton Blaser of Roseville High and Sierra College—made good on his pinch-hit appearance, knocking in a run with a double. 

Fullerton State collected 14 hits total, including three doubles and one triple, and still left 12 runners on the basepaths. 


Davi Olmedo-Barrera had three hits and two RBI against UC Davis on Sunday,
including this run-scoring single in the first inning.

Fullerton State’s Olmedo-Barrera went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI, while Hurst was a perfect 4-for-4 with two RBI. Tyler Stieb only generated one bingle, but drove in three runs for the Titans, who are now 6-3 in the Big West Conference.

The Aggies (20-13-1 /4-5 Big West) were limited to six hits, including Silva’s home run and a double by John Williams. 

In addition to the Aggies’ four errors, when you factor in their seven walks, three hit batsmen, four wild pitches and passed balls combined, this one felt more like a Pony League tournament game, with the better team advancing to the next stage.

UC Davis hosts San Francisco on Tuesday, then heads south for a series against the Big West’s top team, UC Irvine (8-1), which dropped its first conference game today to Long Beach State.

~ ~ ~


(Sac State Media Relations)

OREM, Utah – Sacramento State scored in five innings, highlighted by an eight-run sixth inning, and all 10 Hornets that had at-bats in the game got hits in a 13-2 mercy rule win over Utah Valley in seven innings to close the three game series.

Sophomore Justin Dillon allowed just one earned run over five innings for the win as Sacramento State (19-15, 7-5 WAC) ended its eight-game road trip with a conference win. After scoring 23 runs in the first two games of the series, Utah Valley (12-21, 8-4 WAC) was held in check on Sunday by Dillon and senior Ty Nichols.

Junior Chris Lewis had the big blow in the sixth inning with a 3-run homer, his second home run of the series, and finished the game just a double shy of hitting for the cycle. Senior Scotty Burcham also went 3-for-5 on Sunday with three RBIs while freshman Dan Deely hit his first career home run and drove in two runs and freshman Vinny Esposito homered as well.

Sacramento State hit five home runs and scored 22 runs over the last two games of the series. Lewis and sophomore Gunner Pollman each hit .500 in the series, with Lewis driving in seven runs and slugging 1.071. Burcham hit .417 with six RBIs as the Hornets hit .320 as a team with 13 extra base hits and a .580 slugging percentage.

The Hornets scored first in all three games of the series, on Sunday taking a quick 1-0 lead on a Burcham RBI single in the first inning. Deely homered in the second to make the score 2-0, and after the Wolverines got a run in the bottom of the second Sacramento State scored twice in the third on a Burcham sacrifice fly and a solo homer from Esposito.

With the Hornets leading 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning Utah Valley loaded the bases with nobody out before Dillon got a pop up and a double play groundout to strand the three runners. The eight Hornet runs in the sixth inning came on six hits, three hit batters, and a Wolverine error as 12 men hit in the inning and Lewis, Deely, freshmen PJ Floyd and Devin Lehman, and sophomore Brandon Hunley drove in runs.

Nichols allowed just one hit pitching the sixth and seventh innings to put the WAC 10-run mercy rule into effect after the seventh inning concluded. Utah Valley starter Kaden Schmitt lasted just three innings allowing four runs on six hits and a walk to fall to 0-2 on the season. Wolverine relievers Kyle Valgardson and Eric Olguin combined to allow nine runs on seven hits in 2.2 innings.

The 13 runs scored on Sunday were a season high for Sacramento State, which also had its second 3-homer game of the year. After two weeks on the road the Hornets play four home games next week, hosting Pacific at 3 p.m. Tuesday at John Smith Field before a WAC series hosting CSU Bakersfield next weekend. 



College News


With left-hander Sam Long on the Mound and a 9-4 lead in the sixth inning, the outcome looked positive for Sacramento State. But Utah Valley scored seven times that inning to take the second game of the series 11-9.

Long (Del Campo) gave up a career-high 10 runs--nine of them earned--in taking just his second loss of the season.

Gunner Pollman and Scotty Burcham each had home runs and three runs batted in for the offense, which on any other day would have been ample for the usually stingy Hornet pitching staff. The nine runs scored was the most this year for Sac State on the road.

Sac State drops to  18-15 overall and 6-5 in the Western Athletic Conference, where Utah Valley improved to 8-3.

The teams close out the series tomorrow afternoon.

~ ~ ~

Aggies Drop Game Two 10-6

Cal State Fullerton defeated UC Davis 10-6 today at Dobbins Stadium.

Max Cordy (McClatchy) will take his 7-0 nation-leading record on the hill for the Aggies tomorrow against the Titans.



(Sac State Media Relations)

OREM, Utah – Utah Valley scored 11 runs over the first four innings of the game in a 12-3 win for the Wolverines in the opener of a three-game series Friday night in Orem.

Sac State junior Chris Lewis went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs for Sacramento State (18-14, 6-4 WAC), which dropped its fourth straight road conference game after opening WAC play at 6-0. Utah Valley (11-20, 7-3) moved ahead of the Hornets into third place in the league.

Aggies Defeat Eshelman and Fullerton State 3-2

by editor Rick Cabral

Facing the Titans of the Big West and their All-American pitcher, UC Davis this afternoon played solid baseball and earned a 3-2 win over Fullerton State.

Titans ace Thomas Eshelman came into the contest with a pedestrian 3-3 record, but the junior right-handed pitcher’s 2.20 earned run average and 59 strikeouts in 51 innings were testament to being named to everyone’s Preseason All-American teams to begin 2015.

The Aggies (20-11 / 4-3 Big West) seemed primed for the challenge.

In the bottom of the second, senior Austin March stroked a double and was knocked home by Spencer Henderson’s single to give UC Davis an early 1-0 lead.

After four full frames, however, the momentum seemed to shift toward the orange and blue as Aggies starter Spencer Koopmann appeared to tire on the hill, while Eshelman remained a strike-throwing machine, placing fastballs on the knees with the precision and complexity of an M.C. Escher drawing.

In the fifth, Koopmans (3-3) bounced three balls in the dirt, but regained his footing and boarded his fifth shutout inning. The Aggies offense then mounted a second assault on the Titans All-American, as freshman Brad Pluschkell laced a grounder just under the glove of Fullerton's second baseman and was sacrificed to second base. Tino Lipson knocked him in with a single up the middle to make it 2-0.

After senior Nick Lynch was plunked, March singled in Lipson and suddenly the Aggies owned a 3-0 lead over the master painter, Eshelman, and the Titans.

But to start the sixth inning Koopmans walked the Titans leadoff hitter Timmy Richards,  and then threw a pickoff attempt to the wall, allowing Richards to scamper to second base. Junior Dustin Vaught (Bella Vista/Sierra College) brought Richards home with a single to narrow the gap to 3-1.

Frustrated with the Koopmans' leadoff walk, Aggies Head Coach Matt Vaughn had seen enough and brought in the first of three relievers to hold off the Titans, who seemed to recapture the momentum. Especially since ace Eshelman (3-4) refused to allow UC Davis any more runs in his eight-inning performance.

The Titans scored once more in the seventh inning on Vaught’s second RBI.

But in the eighth closer Zach Stone took the hill for the Aggies and pitched two frames of shutout ball, including a dominating three-pitch strikeout of the final batter to cinch the 3-2 victory over Fullerton State and earn his 7th save of the season (earning Koopmans his third win of the season).

Tanner Bily and March each had a pair of hits for the Aggies, while Tyler Stieb went 3-for-4 and Vaught had the two hits and two RBI for the Titans.

Entering today’s ballgame, Fullerton State enjoyed a 27-3 overall record against the Aggies, pointing to the importance of today’s victory.

“The way we’ve been playing baseball lately, it’s a huge win,” admitted Vaughn, whose team is now tied with Fullerton State with 4-3 conference records. “And we got back to some better baseball, especially against that team over there and an All-American (Eshelman).”

Over their history, the Titans have won four collegiate baseball championships, their last one coming in 2004 under Coach George Horton.

The two teams meet twice more at Dobbins Stadium with both starting times at 1 p.m. 


UCD's Cordy and Lynch Among D-1 Leaders

Despite dropping a Causeway Classic to Sac State yesterday, Cal Davis coach Matt Vaughn has reason to be optimistic: his team is 19-11-1 (3-3 in the Big West Conference) and he has pitcher Max Cordy and Nick Lynch, who are among the leaders in Division I statistics.



Max Cordy
Courtesy of UC Davis Athletics

Cordy (McClatchy High), a junior right-hander, is 7-0 on the season. He's tied for first in the nation with three other D-1 pitchers who share that record. Cordy has thrown 41.2 innings this year, posting 41 strikeouts and 17 walks and a 3.46 earned run average. Quite an improvement over last year, when Max made 10 starts and finished 1-3 with a 5.62 ERA.

As a redshirt freshman in his first season with the Aggies, Cordy was used mostly as a closer and posted a 5-6 record with a 4.29 ERA in 35.2 innings.

Lynch, a senior from Burlingame, is leading the team with a .384 average, and his 19 doubles lead the nation among D-1 hitters. He's also slugging at a .685 clip.

This weekend the Aggies will host Fullerton State, which is one game up on UC Davis with a 4-2 conference record. They're both looking up at UC Irvine, which is 6-0 in the Big West.

~ ~ ~

Cameron Leeper (Grant High) and the Delta College Mustangs continued their pursuit of perfection yesterday with a 2-1 victory over Sacramento City College. The Panthers' loss was the first by ace starter Ben Ritchey (6-1). The former Capital Christian star allowed two earned runs over his eight innings.

With the win, Leeper elevated his record to a state-leading 10-0 as the Mustangs improved to 27-0. The southpaw also leads the state with 83 punchouts.



(Sac State Media Relations)

DAVIS, Calif. – Three Hornet pitchers held UC Davis to just two runs and Sacramento State broke a late tie with a run in the eighth and another in the ninth for a 4-2 victory over the Aggies in the first of two meetings this season between the Causeway rivals.

Sacramento State (18-13) won its fifth straight game against the Aggies in Davis and picked up 2.5 points in the all-sport Causeway Cup competition. UC Davis (19-11-1) lost for just the fourth time at home this season in its 13th home contest.

After a 15-7 Hornet win over the Aggies in Davis last year, the first inning looked like a harbinger of another offensive shootout. With one out in the top of the first senior Scotty Burcham tripled into the gap in right center and the following batter, junior Nathan Lukes, was hit by a pitch. Junior Chris Lewis then singled to shortstop to score Burcham and sophomore Brandon Hunley followed with another single to make the score 2-0.



Sacramento State's Chris Lewis smoked an infield single
in the first inning to bring home the game's first run.

UC Davis came right back in the bottom of the first with consecutive singles from Tanner Bily and Tino Lipson. The Hornets cut down Lipson on a stolen base attempt but, with Bily at third, Austin March lifted a sacrifice fly to right to bring in the run and make it a 2-1 game.

In the fourth inning UC Davis got a leadoff double from Isaak Silva and, after a single moved the runner to third, tied the game on a sacrifice fly from Brad Pluschkell. Meanwhile, two Aggie pitchers retired 11 straight batters and allowed just one more Hornet baserunner into the seventh inning.

Burcham jump started the Hornet offense in the eighth inning on a one-out single. Lukes replaced him on base on a fielder's choice, stole second, and then scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error by UC Davis shortstop Evan Heptig. In the ninth, freshman Vinny Esposito had a one-out double and came in to score on a two-out single from senior Kyle Moses

Junior closer Sutter McLoughlin needed just five pitches to set down the Aggies in the ninth with his 31st career save. In his five save appearances this year McLoughlin has five saves and has needed just 38 pitches to do so without allowing a baserunner over 4.2 innings pitched.

Senior Ty Nichols got the win in relief for the Hornets throwing four scoreless innings and allowing just four hits and no walks. He entered after senior Jake Stassi threw the first four innings and allowed just two runs on six hits. Justin Mullins was the third of five UC Davis pitchers and took the loss allowing one unearned run on two hits and a walk in 2.2 innings pitched.

Burcham and Esposito each had two hits for the Hornets while Silva went 3-for-4 with a run scored to lead the Aggies. UC Davis had a 10-8 edge in hits but committed the games only error, leading to the game-winning run. Each team left seven men on base.

UC Davis came into the game ranked fourth in the NCAA with 79 stolen bases this season, averaging 2.6 steals per game, but was 0-for-1 in stolen bases attempts against catcher Gunner Pollman on Tuesday and had a runner picked off at second by Nichols. The Hornets totaled three steals in the game in as many attempts.



Hornets second baseman Brandon Hunley prepares to apply the tag on UC Davis runner Tino Lipson, who came into the game 18 for 21 in the stolen base department until he was gunned down by State catcher Gunner Pollman. Pollman, who is closing in on a .500 caught stealing percentage, is on the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award for the nation's best Division 1 catcher.

Sacramento State concludes its eight-game road trip this weekend in a WAC series at Utah Valley starting at 5 p.m. Pacific time on Friday. The Hornets and Wolverines are tied for third place in the WAC with identical 6-3 conference records.


Panthers Sweep DVC With Today's 10-6 Win

Sacramento City College (13-14, 5-7) earned a sweep this week against Diablo Valley College with a hard fought 10-6 victory today at home at Union Stadium.

The Vikings tied the game by posting three runs in the top of the seventh inning, but SCC Panthers rallied in their half of the seventh. They quickly loaded the bases and then scored five runs on two walks, a fielder’s choice and two DVC infield errors to take a 10-5 lead. 

In the first inning Sacramento City trailed 1-0 on an unearned run off Panthers’ left-hander Brandon Langdon. The offense loaded the bases on an Anthony Fellman base hit, a hit batter and a walk. Boston Romero drove in the first run with a fielder’s choice up the middle for a 4-6 force at second base. Coach Sullivan’s team kept the line moving with a Kyle Blakeman RBI single, followed by the first of Langan’s two RBI this afternoon.

First baseman Drake Atlee’s fielder’s choice scored the fourth Panthers run and catcher Austin Spainhour knocked in the fifth run. Vikings coach Steve Ward had seen enough from starter Andrew Merken, and brought in left-hander Eric Crispell, who restored order on DVC defense.

Crispell silenced the Panthers' bats by posting five consecutive shutout innings. 

The Vikings narrowed the gap to 5-2 with a run in the third inning. After they scored their three in the seventh inning, Sullivan summoned left-handed reliever Travis Magness, who secured the final out of the inning. Turns out he earned the victory (4-1), as the Panthers then went out and scored five times.

Sacramento City had fewer hits (8) than runs today, and made four errors in the contest, two by Romero, the Panthers’ second baseman, who had a pair of RBI. 

With today’s win and the sweep, Sacramento City is now tied with Sierra College for fourth place in the Big-8 conference. Sierra was swept this week by Delta College (24-0), which remains undefeated with a 15-0 conference record. 

In other Big-8 news, American River College (12-15 / 4-8) took two of three from Modesto, while Cosumnes River (17-10 / 7-5) defeated Santa Rosa 2-1 today to take the series and move into a tie for second place with Santa Rosa.  

~ ~ ~

Hornets Snookered 2-1 At Seattle U

(Sac State Media Relations contributed to this report)

Speaking of sweeps, Sacramento State took the backend of the broom bristles today as Seattle University defeated the Hornets 2-1 for their third straight win.

Starter Sam Long (5-1), undefeated until today, allowed just two hits and gave up the two runs in seven innings. But the Sac State offense mustered only four hits off four Seattle U pitchers to drop the contest and the third game this weekend. After this weekend, Long is the staff leader in innings (48.2) and 1.85 earned run average.

Sacramento State (17-13, 6-3 WAC) was swept in a conference series for the first time since the 2013 season as the Redhawks held the Hornets to just five runs in the series.

With the victory, Seattle U (15-15 / 8-1 WAC) claims the top spot in the Western Athletic Conference and Sac State is suddenly looking up at the front-runner in a three-way tie for third place with Northern Colorado and Utah Valley.

With their series sweep of UTPA, Grand Canyon (18-14 / 7-1 WAC) is one-half game behind Seattle U.

On Tuesday, the Hornets play at UC Davis, then hit the road on Friday for a three-game series at Utah Valley.





Sacramento State dropped its second game in a row to Seattle University today 5-2.

Yesterday, the Redhawks took Game One of the series 3-2 in 11 innings.

Hornets starter Brennan Leitao allowed the Redhawks four runs over his four innings(three earned) lowering his record to 3-2. Justin Dillon (El Dorado High) was terrific in relief, allowing just one run over the last four frames.

Seattle starter Skyler Genger scattered four hits and limited the Hornets to two runs over his seven and two-thirds innings of work. Sac State senior Kyle Moses had two of the team's six hits in their third consecutive loss; the team lost at Pacific on Tuesday.

Sacramento State is now 17-12 overall and 6-2 in conference, while Seattle U has moved into first place with a 7-1 mark, despite their 14-15 overall record.

The two squads meet tomorrow afternoon in the final game of the series. Sam Long (5-0) takes the hill for the Hornets, who hope to salvage a win in the Northwest.


McLoughlin Sets WAC Saves Record With 30th Career Save

(Sacramento State Media Relations)

STOCKTON, Calif. – Freshman Devin Lehman (Granite Bay High) went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, including a game-winning RBI single in the eighth inning, to lift the Hornets to a 3-2 win at Pacific on Tuesday night in Stockton.

Junior Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano High) picked up his fourth save of the year and now owns the WAC record on his own with 30 career saves, breaking a tie with former Louisiana Tech closer Caleb Dudley. After missing the first month of the season McLoughlin is now 4-for-4 in save opportunities and has thrown just 33 pitches to record the four saves, needing just seven pitches (all strikes) on Tuesday.   

Sacramento State (17-10) won the first of two meetings this year with Pacific (5-21), which had won three of its last six contests. The squads will meet again in two weeks at John Smith Field.



(Sacramento State Media Relations)

DENVER - After taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning and throwing eight shutout innings in a 1-0 Hornet win over New Mexico State sophomore left handed pitcher Sam Long has been named Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Pitcher of the Week.



Sam Long, Sacramento State

A sophomore from Rancho Cordova (he played on Del Campo High 2013 section title team) was named WAC Freshman of the Year and a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American last season. Long threw 7.1 hitless innings on Saturday and allowed just one hit over eight innings. He did not walk a man and equaled his career high with seven strikeouts.

Of his 107 pitches, 78 were strikes, and he managed to work around three Hornet errors to pitch in his second shutout of the season. Two weeks ago Long went the full nine innings at Cal Poly in a five-hit shutout, and in his six starts this year Long has not allowed a run in three of them. 

With his dominant performance against the Aggies Long now leads the WAC with a .164 opposing batting this season and five wins with a conference-low 24 hits, four walks, and eight runs allowed among all starters. He is second in the league only to his teammate, senior Brennan Leitao, with a 1.73 season ERA (Leitao at 1.64).

Sacramento State has won all six games Long has started this year, and for his brief career he is now 13-2 overall and is 6-0 in WAC games.


Hornets Sweep NM Aggies With 10-0 Mercy Ruling Win

Sacramento State pitcher Justin Dillon (El Dorado High) tossed a three-hit shutout as the Hornets beat New Mexico State (4-20-1) 10-0 to sweep the Aggies in an 8-inning Mercy Rule win at John Smith Field this afternoon.

This marked the second straight weekend the Hornets posted a conference sweep at home (last weekend was Texas-Pan American), improving to 16-10 and a perfect 6-0 in the Western Athletic Conference.




Justin Dillon shut down the Aggies in a 10-0 victory for the series sweep.

Right-hander Dillon continued where southpaw Sam Long left off yesterday posting eight gooseeggs on the scoreboard, while the Hornets offense provided a big cushion today. 

Dane Fujinaka, in a rare start behind the dish, opened the scoring when his double off the left field wall brought home freshman P.J. Floyd (Whitney High) in the fourth inning. Fujunaka scored on a fielder’s choice making it 2-0. RBI singles by Scotty Burcham and Nathan Lukes (Center High) doubled the lead, and Burcham then scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-0 Sacramento State. 

The Hornets added two more runs in the fifth when freshman Devin Lehman (Granite Bay) singled in Floyd and Fujinaka to make it 7-0. 

In the eighth, Lukes hit a solo shot in the eighth inning to push the lead to 9-0. With his 3-for-3 day at the plate, Lukes raised his average back over .400 and is now hitting .415. Pinch hitter Josh Egan knocked in a run with his first hit of the year to make it 10-0, after which the game was called on the 10-Run Mercy Run.

Burcham, Fujinaka and Lehman each had a pair of hits for Sac State.

Dillon, a sophomore, improved his record to 3-3, deepening New Mexico State’s scoreless streak to 17 consecutive innings. He struck out three while walking just one batter, lowering his ERA to 2.70.

The Hornets travel to Stockton on Tuesday for a match against University of the Pacific at Klein Family Field. On Thursday, they travel to the Northwest on Thursday for a three-game series against Seattle University.




Long Hurls Eight Scoreless Frames as Hornets Win 1-0

Sophomore Sam Long (Del Campo) pitched eight shutout innings and closer Sutter McLoughlin tied a conference record with a perfect ninth inning of relief to lead Sacramento State (15-10/5-0) to a 1-0 victory over New Mexico State.

Long (5-0) was brilliant against the Aggies, not allowing a hit until the eighth inning when Daniel Kennon doubled. After Kennon advanced to third base on a wild pitch, Long stranded him there when he got the next hitter on an infield pop up to preserve the whitewash.  

The southpaw struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter in one of his strongest outings as a Hornet pitcher. He fanned the side in the third inning, after the first hitter reached on an error. Of his 107 pitches, 78 were strikes, lowering his earned run average to 1.73. 

Aggies (4-19-1) starter Riley Barr was nearly as stingy. Although he allowed nine hits, he limiting the Hornets to one run in the fourth inning, when Dane Fujinaka’s fielder’s choice scored Scotty Burcham, who had walked to lead off the inning.  

That was all the Hornets offense could muster, but the way Long was slingin’ it today, that’s all they needed. 

For the second consecutive game, however, the Hornets defense made multiple errors; this time three of them by freshman Dan Deely making his first start at third base.

The Hornets offense was led by senior Kyle Moses and freshman Bronson Grubbs (Pleasant Grove High) who each had a pair of hits and a double.

For the second straight day McLoughlin (Rio Americano) entered the game with a save opportunity. Today, he pitched a perfect ninth inning, including two strikeouts, for his third save of the season, and 29th of his career, tying the Western Athletic Conference record for closers.



by editor Rick Cabral

In the first game of the New Mexico State series Sacramento State (14-10) made a month’s worth of mistakes, but held on for an 8-7 victory this afternoon.

Losing 8-4 in the ninth inning, the Aggies (4-18-1) kept it interesting, by scoring two runs and narrowing the Hornets lead to 8-6 off of two relievers. Coach Reggie Christiansen summoned closer Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano High), who finally shut the lights but not before New Mexico State scored once more for a 8-7 final.

The Hornets, ranked in the Top 15 in team defense, committed an eye-popping four infield errors and made another mental error that didn’t go in the books.

Hornets ace Brennan Leitao started the game with classic efficiency, retiring the first two batters and looking like the school’s career 26-game winner. The Aggies leading hitter Joseph Koerper—coming into the series with a team-leading .376 average—shot a single to right field. Next second baseman Brandon Hunley misplayed a routine hop, putting runners at first and second.

Leitao then struck out Michael Paulson, but Hornets’ catcher Gunner Pullman couldn’t find the ball in the dirt as the bench yelled “Feet!, feet!”, and then after retrieving it, casually launched the throw too late to first base, which loaded the bases. When the next batter hit what appeared to be an inning-ending grounder, the ball clanked off third baseman P.J. Floyd’s glove, and the Aggies led 1-0.

Sophomore Daniel Johnson of Vallejo then hit a soft liner just over the glove of shortstop Scotty Burcham and two more runs scored, giving New Mexico State a 3-0 lead. All three runs were unearned. Leitao struck out Derek Umphres with a statement fastball, taking control of an abysmal defensive showing by the Hornets.

Sacramento State calmly responded in their half of the first inning, knowing they were facing a pitching staff with an aggregate earned run average over six, and a team that started the season 1-15.

Leadoff hitter Kyle Moses singled and Burcham followed with a walk. Nathan Lukes (Center High) hit a soft infield chopper that put out the lead runner. Burcham and Lukes pulled off a double steal just before Chris Lewis walked to load the bases.

Floyd singled to the second base bag, scoring Burcham. Then junior designated hitter Dane Fujinaka, who has taken over as the team’s RBI machine, dropped a soft liner just over the shortstop’s outstretched glove to tie the game. After Vinnie Esposito’s (Granite Bay High) shallow fly to left field couldn’t score the runner from third, Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) did it with a walk, putting the Hornets ahead 4-3.

Talk about a long first inning.

In the next two innings, the staunch Sac State defense of yore returned with two infield double plays, as Leitao bore down, preventing the Aggies from scoring again before leaving the game after five innings with a pitch count over 70. By that point, the Hornets offense had padded their lead to 6-4 in the fourth inning on a Chris Lewis RBI triple and Dan Deely’s RBI double.

In the top of the sixth inning, senior Ty Nichols relieved Leitao and quickly gave up a solo blast to Paulson, which cut the lead to 6-4.

But in the bottom of the sixth, Fujinaka came through again.

With two runners on, he hit a perfect wedge shot down the right field line, scoring two runs, and pushing the Hornets lead to 8-4. But those insurance runs proved critical, as the Aggies scored three more in the ninth inning, before McLoughlin secured his second save of the season and 28th career save, one shy of tying the Western Athletic Conference career record.

Leitao picked up his third win of the season and 27th of his career, extending his personal record. Going 2-for-4, Fujinaka had three RBI for the Hornets, while Johnson led the Aggies with three hits and three RBI.

Lukes, who came in with a team-leading .414 average, went 0-for-4 and saw his average drop below .400 for the first time all season. He is now hitting .398, but extended his on-base performance to a perfect 24 games.

The two teams return tomorrow at 1 p.m. for game two of the series.


Cosumnes River (13-9/3-4) erupted for five runs in the second inning and three more in the 6th to take the first game of this week's series from American River (10-12/2-5) 10-4 yesterday in Big-8 competition.

Tyler Blake (Franklin High) had three RBI for the Hawks, shortstop Andre Gregory (Jesuit) added two more, while DH Nico Toni (Pleasant Grove) went 3-for-5.

Brett Elgin (3-1) who allowed one earned run in three and two-thirds innings of relief, was the victor.

~ ~ ~

Sacramento City--led by Kyle Blakeman's three RBI day--edged Sierra College 6-5 in Rocklin.

Right-hander Ben Ritchey (Capital Christian) allowed one earned run through seven innings to win his fifth game of the season against no defeats.

Kyle Dixon went 4-for-4 for the losers.

The Panthers are now 2-5 in conference (10-12 overall), while Sierra's record drops to 3-4 in Big-8 play (9-12 overall).


James Outing Helps Stanford End 5-Game Losing Streak

Junior lefty Logan James (Jesuit) provided four innings of scoreless relief and Austin Barr hit a three-run home run to lead Stanford to a 7-3 win against visiting San Diego on Monday. The Cardinal snapped a five-game losing streak in the process.

James, who has moved to the bullpen, is now 2-1. 


Sierra College RHP Tyler Milani was been named the the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association’s (CCCBCA) baseball Pitcher of the Week for the week of March 16th–March 22nd.

Against Diablo Valley, Milani (Woodcreek High) scattered six hits in a complete game shutout. He struck out three and walked none, while posting 72 strikes among his 100 pitches.



Sacramento State (13-9/3-0) secured a series sweep against Texas-Pan American by scoring five first-inning runs en route to a 10 to 2 victory.  

UTPA scored once in the top half of the first inning when Logan Landon singled, went to second on a single by Jesus Garcia, and was knocked in by Jacob Huckabay, to make it 1-0 Broncos. 

Sacramento State quickly answered and loudly when senior Scotty Burcham drilled a singled down the right field line, and was advanced to second on Nathan Lukes’ (Center High) walk. Burcham stole third base and came in on freshman P.J. Floyd’s infield single to tie the score 1-1. Designated hitter Dane Fujinaka knocked in a pair of runs with a double, his fourth run batted in for the series.

Freshman Devin Lehman (Granite Bay High) then homered over the right field fence—the first round-tripper of his collegiate career—pushing the Hornets lead to 5-1

The game stayed that way as sophomore right-hander Justin Dillon (El Dorado)—back in the starter’s role with the return of closer Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano)—limited the Broncos to two runs (one earned) through four innings. He was replaced by Ty Nichols, the previous Sunday starter, who tossed three shutout innings for his first win of the season. Sophomore Austin Ragsdale (Bradshaw Christian) and junior Tyler Beardsley closed out the contest for Sac State. 

The Hornets plated another run in the sixth inning when Lehman scored on a failed pickoff attempt by the UTPA pitcher to make it 6-2.  

Sac State scored two more times in the seventh when sophomore Brandon Hunley, walked (Christian Brothers), advanced to second when Floyd was hit by a pitch. Hunley stole third and then scored on a throwing error by the catcher, Huckabay. Two batters later Lehman drove home Floyd with an RBI single, making it 8-2 for the Green and Gold. 

In the eighth inning, Vinnie Esposito gained first on an error, the third of the day by UTPA. Then senior Kyle Moses homered (2) for the second straight game to knock in two more runs, pushing the lead to 10-2.

Despite the scoring advantage, the Broncos outhit the Hornets 12-9, but all were singles.

Hornets’ freshman Lehman went 3-for-3 with three RBI while Floyd and Fujinaka collected three hits and three RBI between them.

Hunley failed to get a hit today, ending his 10-game hitting streak. Lukes, the team’s leading hitter at .412, also went hitless, but walked twice and scored one run, extending his streak of reaching base to 22 consecutive games. 

Corrie Davis went 3-for-4 for the visitors while Landon added pair of hits. He came into the series batting .476 and finished with a .453 batting average.

With the series sweep over UTEP, Sacramento State remains in a first place tie in the Western Athletic Conference with Grand Canyon (14-10) and Northern Colorado (6-11).

Sacramento State plays at Nevada on Tuesday then continues WAC competition by hosting a three-game series against New Mexico State beginning on Friday.




Kyle Moses’ three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a 4-4 tie and led Sacramento State (12-9) to a 7-4 victory over Texas-Pan American today.

The win was the Hornets’ second consecutive in Western Athletic Conference play and ensures a series win against the Broncos (10-10).

Trailing 3-1 in the seventh inning, leadoff hitter freshman Vinnie Esposito (Granite Bay) dropped a bleeder near the right field foul line that allowed him to race to second for a double. Moses singled him to third base with one out. Senior Scotty Burcham, who’s been hot lately, hit his second triple of the series, scoring both runners and giving the Hornets a 4-3 lead.

Scotty Burcham tripled home two runs today
to help power the Hornets to a 7-4 win over UTPA.

But in the top of the eighth, the Bronco’s Logan Landon--a Top 20 batting leader in all Division 1--smacked a home run off reliever Chad Perry (Marysville High) to tie the game at 4-4. After UTPA got two runners on via an infield error and single, Coach Reggie Christiansen brought in reliever Grant Kekuk. Scott Mercer smoked a liner off Kekuk’s leg, but the pitcher fielded the ball and threw out Mercer in time to end the inning, preventing further damage.

The Hornets led 1-0 through four innings as southpaw Sam Long (Del Campo) continued to work his magic on the hill. In the fifth inning when UTPA’s Jesus Garcia led off with a single, Long sent the next two hitters back to the dugout. But Isaac Gonzalez drove home Garcia with a single, and the Broncos’ Cole Loncar followed with a two-run homer to give the visitor’s a 3-1 lead.

The Broncos defense kept them in this game with some sterling plays. With Sac State batting in the second inning and runners at third and second, Chris Lewis hit a fly in shallow right field. The second baseman Garcia laid out and made a diving catch with his back to the infield, popped right up and relayed the ball to the catcher, preventing the Hornets from scoring.

In the sixth inning, designated hitter Dane Fujinaka lined a ball safely into the outfield. But Broncos right fielder Correy Davis was playing shallow, allowing him to field the ball on one hop and nail Fujunaka before reaching first base.

Long allowed three earned runs through seven innings, pushing his earned run average to 2.43 in the no decision. For his one-third inning of work in the eighth, Kekuk (2-2) was rewarded with the win and 6’5” righty Ryan Smith from Rocklin High shut out the Broncos in the ninth inning to earn his third save of the season.

Sacramento State's offense was led by Moses, who went 3-for-5 with the three RBI, and Burcham who collected the triple and a double and two RBI.

The two teams meet for the finale tomorrow at noon.



McLoughlin Sets School Saves Record

by editor Rick Cabral
(Sacramento State Media Relations contributed to this report)

Sacramento State (11-9) scored three runs in the first while ace Brennan Leitao limited Texas-Pan American to two runs for a 4-2 win this afternoon in the opening game of Western Athletic Conference play at John Smith Field.

Perhaps most memorable, the game marked closer Sutter McLoughlin's return to the save column, earning his first of the season and the 27th of his career, setting the Hornets career mark.

In the first inning, the Hornets came out roaring, as senior Scotty Burcham tripled with one out and was brought home on Nathan Lukes (Center High) soft single to center for a quick 1-0 lead. Freshman P.J. Floyd (Whitney High) was hit by a pitch, and both runners advanced on Brandon Hunley’s fielder’s choice. Designated hitter Dane Fujinaka—in a rare start—drove home both runners to extend Sac State’s lead 3-0.

But the Broncos chipped away and scored solo runs in the third and fifth innings off Leitao (2-1), who allowed just four hits in seven innings of work.

Meantime Bronco’s starter Blake English (2-2) entered with a 1.59 earned run average and played like Harry Houdini, escaping danger and holding the Hornets to those three runs in the first.

With one out in the Hornets half of the second, sophomore Gunner Pollman smoked a double. Senior Kyle Moses shot a single to left field that was hit so hard Pollman didn’t dream of taking home. Next batter Burcham hit into a double play, stranding the strapping sophomore at third base.

In the bottom of the seventh, Lukes launched the ball over the wall near the flagpoles for his second home run of the season to pad Sac State’s lead to 4-2.

Pitcher Grant Kekuk relieved Leitao in the eighth and right-hander Sutter McLoughlin closed out the ninth inning on nine pitches for the record save. Dating back to last season, McLoughlin had been tied with Mike Frame with 26 saves. With three more like it, McLoughlin will break the current WAC record of 29 career saves.

Coach Reggie Christiansen rejiggered his lineup to start conference play with an upper-division laden group. In addition to Moses in right and junior Chris Lewis in left field, Lukes took center, as freshman Bronson Grubbs—who started nearly every game in center to this point—was relegated to the bench.

That allowed the junior Fujinaka—a two-year starter at catcher until Pollman unseated him this season—to fill the designated hitter position, and he filled it nicely, going two-for-four with the two RBI.

In addition, Burcham, Lukes and Pollman collected two hits, as the Hornets had 10 safeties today.

This weekend series against Texas-Pan American matches two of the best hitters in the nation: Lukes (who is now hitting .444, putting him in the Top 20 NCAA D-1) and the Broncos senior Logan Landon, who came in on a 15-game hitting streak and a .476 average—good for fourth in the NCAA Division I until today’s game. Leitao and company held Landon hitless, dropping his average to .448.

Sophomore Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) had a double to extend his hitting streak to nine games and Lukes has now reached base in all 20 games this season.

The two teams battle again tomorrow as sophomore southpaw Sam Long (Del Campo High) takes the hill for the Hornets. Game time is 1 p.m.


USC's Mitch Hart Tabbed PAC-12 Pitcher of the Week

Mitch Hart, USC

Freshman Mitch Hart earned Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors for tossing a two-hit shutout Sunday against Washington State in the third game of the series. 

Hart (Granite Bay High) threw a gem in just his fourth collegiate start in USC's 11-0 victory over Washington State. He had a no-hitter going through the first 5.1 innings, and did not allow a second hit until there were two down in the top of the ninth inning. The right-hander also struck out five in the win, and walked just one as the Trojans claimed the rubber match against Washington State.

Hart is now 4-0 with a 2.35 earned run average. The last time a Trojan threw a two-hitter was in 2009.


College News

Hornets Drop Night Game to Fresno State 6-2

After being shutout through eight innings, Sacramento State scored two runs in the ninth, but the rally fell short as host Fresno State won 6-2 in a non-conference matchup between former Western Athletic Conference rivals.

The Bulldogs (7-5) scored four runs in the second off Hornets (6-4) starter senior Jake Stassi. They managed another run off Stassi in the fourth and scored again in the fifth inning to take a commanding 6-0 lead, and held on the for win.

After winning six straight, the Hornets have now dropped three in a row.

Sac State managed just six hits in the game, three of which came in the ninth inning off Bulldogs closer Rickey Ramirez. Junior Nathan Lukes (Center High)--who went 2-for-3--singled to open the final frame. Freshman Devin Lehman (Granite Bay High) followed with a safety. After a fielder's choice, pinch hitter P.J. Floyd (Whitney High) tripled in both runners to make it 6-2, but the Hornets failed to score again. It was Floyd's first hit and RBIs as a Hornet.

Sacramento State made two errors in the game.

The Hornets open a three-game series at home on Friday against #18 ranked U.C. Santa Barbara, which is 9-3 overall after defeating the University of Southern California today at home 3-2. The Gauchos feature power-armed junior pitcher Dillon Tate, who has touched 100 mph on the radar gun. He comes to Sacramento with a 2-1 record, 1.29 earned run average while fanning 25 batters in 21 innings.

Panthers Maul Vikings 14-4 in Diablo Valley

Visiting Sacramento City (8-5) won its sixth straight game this afternoon and first in Big-8 Conference play by scoring five runs in the seventh inning and five more in the eighth to defeat Diablo Valley 14-4.

Freshman Boston Romero blasted a triple and double and drove in four runs while clean-up hitter Kyle Blakeman went 3-for-4 with three RBI to lead the Panthers hitting attack.

Panthers starting pitcher Ben Ritchey (Capital Christian), who allowed 10 hits and all four Valley runs, improved to 4-0. When the sophomore right-hander departed after completing the sixth inning, the score was tied 4-4. Sac City blasted the game open with the five spot in the top of the seventh, thanks to RBI-doubles by freshman Brandon Langan (Sheldon High), sophomore Austin Spainhour (Rocklin High) and Romero. The Panthers pounded out 20 hits against Vikings pitchers.

They play Thursday at Union Stadium in an evening game (5 p.m.) against league rival Sierra College, which lost 16-5 to undefeated and number-one ranked Delta College (12-0).

In other Big-8 action visiting American River (7-6) defeated host Modesto 2-1, while Cosumnes River (9-4) topped Santa Rosa 5-4 in 10 .



Due to sub-freezing temperatures, and snow on the ground all around Lubbock, Texas, the series with Texas Tech was cancelled today. The Hornets will return home after playing just one game versus the Red Raiders on Wednesday. In that contest, Sacramento State led 3-1 going into the bottom of the ninth, but Texas Tech managed four hits to win the game in a 4-3 walk0ff.

To compensate for the lost three games, Sac State has added one more to the schedule when it plays Cal Poly SLO beginning on Thursday, March 12 in San Luis Obispo.


SCC Defeats Santa Rosa 1-0 in Non-Conference Pitcher's Duel

Freshman Boston Romero’s RBI-double was the difference in Sacramento City College’s 1-0 win over Santa Rosa in a non-conference game today at Union Stadium.

In the bottom of the fourth, Romero turned on an inside fastball, lacing a double down the right field line and scoring freshman Kyle Blakeman, who had singled earlier. 


Zach Smart pitched nearly five innings of shutout ball
as the Panthers won 1-0 over Santa Rosa today.

That was the difference in today's pitcher’s duel that saw Panthers starter Zach Smart (Laguna Creek High) pitch 4- and-2/3 innings of shutout ball, allowing three hits, four walks, while fanning four Santa Rosa hitters. He was followed  by freshman left-hander Travis Magness (Granite Bay High), who allowed the Bear Cubs two hits and no runs in four innings and earned the victory.

Closer Gabe Meza (Granite Bay High), came in with two out in the eighth, and shut down a Santa Rosa rally. Then in the ninth inning, with two outs and a Bear Cub dancing on third base, Meza got Santa Rosa’s Ryan Haug to fly out to center field to preserve the victory.

Sacramento City notched just four hits in the contest, including Romero’s double and two singles by Blakeman. Santa Rosa's three infield errors didn't contribute directly to the loss, although it put more stress and added pitches to starter Garrett Hill's seven-inning outing, who allowed the one earned run.

With the victory—the Panthers’ fourth straight—coach Derek Sullivan’s club improves to 7-4, while Santa Rosa (8-3) dropped its third game of the year.

“Santa Rosa’s good. We’ll take this one,” he said with a smile after the game. Sullivan offered that he removed Smart, who had only given up the three hits by the fifth inning, because of his high pitch count. “He’s tough to hit, and they were probably glad to see him taken out.”

Although he had trouble locating his fastball this afternoon, Smart snookered Santa Rosa with more curves than the Olema-Bolinas Road on Highway 1.

Meza, a redshirt freshman, noted he got a bit of a late start on his bullpen, and didn’t feel quite right as he came on in the eighth.“But I wanted to go in and do my part for the team. I’m happy my defense backed me up. Glad things worked out and we got the win,” along with Meza’s third save.

Asked if having the tying run on third base in the last inning caused concern, the hard-throwing right-hander laughed. “That’s exactly the position I want to be in. And (winning) is what I want to do.”

In other Big-8 action, Cosumnes River defeated Canyons 5-3 in 10 innings. American River dropped a home game to Diablo Valley 6-4.



Portland Takes Game Four From Sacramento State

by editor Rick Cabral

In the final game of the series, Sacramento State and Portland battled through eight scoreless innings like it was a Division I Regional Playoff game.

Typically, the last game in a four-game series ends in a football score. But in this match that Portland (1-7) desperately needed, and State didn’t (6-1) the teams competed on a blustery day in which North winds negated any chance of the home runs that were launched yesterday over the left and center field walls.

The Hornets had won three straight from the Pilots including yesterday’s doubleheader that saw junior Chris Lewis clout two home runs and freshman Vinny Esposito one two-run blast.



Nathan Lukes laced this pitch in the outfield for one of his two hits today against Portland pitcher Davis Tominaga, who hurled a complete game for the Pilots win.

Starting for Sacramento State was left-handed pitcher Jake Stassi (Yuba City High), making his return to the mound after Tommy John last year while at Long Beach State. He was limited to two shutout innings in which he allowed no hits and walked the first batter of the game.

Stassi was followed by a committee of relievers which didn’t allow the Pilots their first hit until the seventh inning, and shut them out for eight frames.

With the game still scoreless in the ninth, and Justin Dillon pitching his second inning of relief, the Pilots scored two unearned runs on a Kevin Farley single to take a 2-0 lead.

Portland starter Davis Tominaga (1-1) scattered seven Hornets hits in an impressive complete game shutout victory to give the Pilots (2-7) just their second win of the season.

Dillon (2-1), who has filled in as State’s closer while Sutter McLoughlin continues to recover from arm discomfort, took the loss. The Pilots, who were limited to three hits, made the last one count, as it was Farley’s game winner.

Nathan Lukes, who continues to swing a hot stick, went 2-for-3, but was thrown out in the fourth inning trying to stretch a single into a double. The Hornets had two other runners thrown out today, including freshmen Devin Lehman who was thrown out at the plate in the fifth inning, and Bronson Grubbs, who was picked off first base by Tominaga in the third inning, right after barely getting back to the bag on the previous pickoff attempt.

Sacramento State (6-2) dropped just its second game of the season, ending a six-game winning streak.


Left handed starter Jake Stassi pitched two innings of hitless ball
in his first outing for the Hornets.


Hornets Sting Pilots 7-2 In Game One of Saturday Doubleheader

Senior catcher Dane Fujinaka made his first appearance of the season count at the plate with a double and 2-RBI single as Sacramento State took Game One of today’s doubleheader against Portland 4-2.

State’s senior pitcher Ty Nichols and Pilots starter Kurt Yinger put up zeros through three innings. In the Hornets fourth, junior Nathan Lukes reached on an error, followed by sophomore Brandon Hunley’s single.

Up stepped Fujunaka, who had doubled against the left field wall earlier in his first at-bat of the season (replacing Gunner Pollman behind the dish). He stroked a single up the middle that easily scored Lukes, but Portland center fielder Geoffrey Lee slipped and the ball skipped past him, allowing Hunley also to score and Fujinaka reached third to give Sacramento State a 2-0 lead.

The Pilots answered when Davis Tominaga drove in two runs with a double off Nichols in the fifth to tie the game, 2-2. Nathan Lukes answered in the sixth inning with a solo shot to give the Hornets’ a 3-2 lead.

After Junior Chris Lewis singled in a run in the seventh inning to give Sacramento State a 4-2 lead, in the eighth the Hornets scored on back-to-back bases loaded walks freshman to make it 7-2 for the green and gold.

Junior transfer Grant Kukuk pitched two innings of shutout ball, followed by Ryan Smith (Rocklin High), who also whitewashed the Pilots in the eighth and ninth innings.

Hunley  (Christian Brothers), who now anchors third base for Coach Christiansen’s team, led all hitters, going 3-for-4 with a double and two scored runs.

~ ~ ~

Hornets Take NightCap Against Portland 12-2

In the second game of a rare double-header at John Smith Field, Hornets hitters played the “hit parade” against Portland pitchers, winning 12-2.

Junior Chris Lewis quickly got into slugging mode with a pair of two-run homers, and freshman Vinny Esposito hit a two-run blast, and knocked in two more with a Texas Leaguer to lead the offensive charge for Sacramento State.

With the victory, the Hornets (6-1) have now won all three games against the Pilots, and six games in a row.

Lewis started things off in the bottom of the first with a no-doubter over the left field wall for his first two-run shot. The Pilots answered in the third with a two-run homer by Michael Lucarelli, the first runs charged to Slingin’ Sammy Long this season.

In the Hornets third, Esposito (Granite Bay High) drove the ball over the wall near the scoreboard with senior Kyle Moses on base to break the tie and give Sac State a 4-2 lead. Junior Nathan Lukes (Center High) dropped down a beauty of a bunt along the third base line, and Lewis followed with a deep blast over the left field fence to extend the lead to 6-2.

Sac State then piled it on in the fourth inning, with five runs on six hits to push the lead to 11-2. With two runners on, Esposito’s bleeder in centerfield was mishandled, allowing both runs to score. Lukes doubled home Esposito, making it 9-2 and knocking out Pilots starter Alex Fisher from the game.

Lewis doubled to right field, brining home Lukes, for his fifth RBI. Sophomore Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) singled home Lewis to make it 11-2. The Hornets added another run in sixth inning.

Long (2-0), in his second start of the year, threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits. He whiffed five and walked one. Hornets relievers didn't allow another run, beginning with sophomore Austin Ragsdale (Bradshaw Christian) who came in the sixth inning and pitched 1 1/3 innings.  Freshman right-hander Jeremiah Moore closed out the game.

Senior Turner Gill was the sole Portland hitter with multiple hits (2), as Sac State pitching held the Pilots to seven hits in the second game, which was also a nine-inning affair.

While Esposito and Lewis each had three hits, and five and four ribbies respectively, Lukes went 4-for-5. Hunley chipped in with two more safeties to go with his three hits in the first game.

Christiansen's got to be thrilled to see Lewis' bat heat up. A Louisville Freshman All-American in 2013, Lewis last year raised his average to .221 after heating up in the postseason where he was selected WAC Tournament Most Valuable Player.

The Hornets offensive leader, however, clearly is Lukes, who today showed he can do it all with the stick, bunting for a single, and blasting the ball over the fence in the first game.

In addition to the double win for the home team, there was a Dusty Baker sighting at the ballpark today.


College News

Moses Leads Sac State to 3-2 Walk-Off Win in 9th

Senior Kyle Moses singled in freshman Bronson Grubbs with one out in the bottom of the ninth to give Sacramento State (4-1) a 3-2 walkoff win over Portland this afternoon.

Grubbs (Pleasant Grove) started the ninth-inning rally with a one-out single, went to second base on a balk, and advanced to third on freshman Dan Deely's single, paving the way for Moses game-winning hit. The Hornets compiled nine hits in the game, one by each position player.

Sacramento State's starting pitcher Brennan Leitao had another solid outing, giving up one run and seven hits in seven innings, lowering his earned run average to 2.25. When he left the team led 2-1, thanks to freshman Vinny Esposito's (Granite Bay High) RBI double in the sixth inning.

Reliever Justin Dillon (2-0), who gave up the tying run in the eighth, earned the victory for the Hornets.

Sophomore catcher Gunner Pollman continued his hot hand behind the dish, throwing out two Portland base runners for a total of eight in the first five games. He also had a double.

After dropping their first game of the season, the Hornets have now won four straight.

The two teams meet tomorrow in a double header, with the first game starting at 11 a.m.


Sac City Beats Butte 10-2 in Oroville

Visiting Sacramento City College yesterday downed Butte College 10-2 with a five-run fifth inning and eight strong innings by Panthers starting pitcher Ben Ritchey (Capital Christian). With the win, Sac City evens its record at 4-4.

Ritchey (3-0) allowed two earned runs on seven hits and zero walks, while fanning five. The sophomore threw 64 strikes among his 88 pitches.

Leading hitters for the Panthers included catcher Matt Poulin (Ponderosa), who went 2-for-4 with a home run and three runs batted in; shortstop Anthony Fellman, 3-for-4 with two RBI; and leadoff hitter Alex Muzzi (Vista del Lago) went 2-for-4 with a triple and one RBI.

Cosumnes Nips Sequoias 4-3

Cosumnes Rivers defated Sequoias yesterday 4-3 at home. The Hawks posted four runs in the third inning and held on for the win.

Sophomore right-hander David Smith (Elk Grove High) went six innings to post his second win of the season. His earned run average is 1.93 in 23 innings.

Sophomore Logan Marston (Oak Ridge High) went 2-for-4 with one RBI, while Andre Gregory (Jesuit) had a double and an RBI for Cosumnes River, which is now 5-3 on the year.


Hornets Win 8-7 On Deely's Walk-Off RBI Single

Freshman Dan Deely knocked a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Sacramento State an 8-7 walk-off win over Utah.

With the victory over the Utes (1-3), Sacramento State (3-1) takes the four-game series three game to one.

Utah jumped out to a 2-0 lead with single runs in the first and second innings, both off freshman starter Anthony Castaneda (Woodland Christian), making his collegiate debut. Castaneda, who consistently left his fastball up out of the zone, walked three and gave up two hits, leading to the two earned runs.

The Hornets answered with two runs in the third inning to tie on Junior Nathan Lukes (Center High) 2-RBI double up the middle.

Utah retook the lead 3-2 in the 4th inning, then Sac State scored twice in the sixth inning for a 4-3 advantage. Both teams scored three times in the seventh inning, and Sac State went into the ninth inning with a 7-6 lead.

Hornets right-hander Jared Paderez (1-0), who started the eighth inning, allowed a double and a single. A sacrifice bunt brought home the tying run, but the sophomore right-hander  got out of the inning with a double play.

In the Hornets half of the ninth, sophomore Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) started the rally with a double and advanced to third base on an error. A pair of intentional walks loaded the bases, and Deely, the freshman second baseman from Sonoma, delivered the game-winning hit.

Deely's RBI single was his second of the game. Lukes had another big day, going 3-for-5 with two RBI, while senior shortstop Scotty Burcham was 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Freshman Devin Lehman (Granite Bay) also went 3-for-5. The Hornets outhit Utah 14-9 (they're now hitting .286 for the season), while the Salt Lake City boys also made five errors.

With three more hits today, Lukes maintains his team-leading batting average of .389. Burcham is close behind with .385. Both veterans now have five runs batted in. Deely is third on the team hitting .308 over the four games.

Gunner Pollman threw out a baserunner in each game. Utah, an aggressive running team which made five outs on the basepaths yesterday, tested and lost to Pollman's arm six times in the series, including three times by Cody Scaggari, the fleet-footed shortstop.

Sacramento State will host Portland University for a four-game series beginning Friday at 2 p.m.



Sacramento State Jumps Out to 10-Lead –
Holds On for First Victory of 2015

by editor Rick Cabral

Sac State took the second game of the Utah series with a 10-3 victory today at John Smith Field behind pitcher Sam Long’s five shutout innings and the big bat of freshman Vinny Esposito.

Throughout his five innings of work Long consistently induced fly balls from Utes batters (10 of 15 outs were on flies or lineouts), while limiting them to two hits and one walk for his first win of the year.

The southpaw was in trouble from the start when he walked the game’s first batter, who was sacrificed to second base and stole third. With the infield in, senior shortstop Scotty Burcham fielded a chopper and threw to sophomore catcher Gunner Pollman who tagged the runner at the plate. Long then struck out the Utes cleanup hitter to end Utah’s once-promising rally. 




Hornets catcher Gunner Pollman makes the tag at home on Kody Davis, who tested the drawn-in infield and was thrown out at the plate by shortstop Scotty Burcham.

In their half of the first, the Hornets jumped on the scoreboard when junior Nathan Lukes (Center High) doubled in two runs. Two innings later Esposito hit a solo shot over the left-centerfield wall to give State a 3-0 lead. He went 3-for-5 with a home run and three runs batted in.

The Hornets pushed the lead to 5-0 in the fourth inning on freshman Dan Deely’s bases-loaded single and Burcham’s sacrifice fly. 

Sacramento State blew open the game with five runs in the fifth inning, featuring Esposito’s 2-run single and sophomore Brandon Hunley’s RBI single. 

For the second straight game, Pollman gunned down a base runner with a laser to second base. 

In the sixth inning, freshman right-hander Austin Root (Oak Ridge High) got his first taste of collegiate ball with one inning of relief in which the Utes scored two runs. Ty Beardsley pitched a perfect seventh inning, while Jared Paderez allowed one more Utah run in two innings of work.

The Hornets managed 10 hits and played error-free defense. Lukes continued his torrid early-season streak, going 2-for-5 with two RBI and a double.  He and Esposito are hitting .400 through the first two games.




Sam Long tossed five shutout innings against Utah for the Hornets first win of the season.


Hornets Game One to Utah 6-4

by editor Rick Cabral

Sacramento State, last year's Western Athletic Conference champion, dropped its home opener this afternoon 6-4 to Utah at John Smith Field.

Leading 2-0 going into the sixth inning, with the team’s ace Brennan Leitao on the mound, the Hornet’s looked in good shape to take the first of a four-game series. But the Utes scored twice that frame, knocking Leitao from the game. 




Grubbs RBI 

Bronson Grubbs (above) knocks in his second run
on this single in his first game as a Hornet.

In the bottom of the sixth, Sacramento State retook the lead on the second RBI single from freshman Bronson Grubbs (Pleasant Grove). He knocked in senior Scotty Burcham, who had tripled. But in their half of the seventh inning, Utah scored four runs to take a 6-3 lead, benefiting from three hit batsmen in the inning.

Junior right fielder Nathan Lukes (Center High), the team’s leading hitter in 2014, went 2-for-5 in the game and knocked in the Hornets first run with a single in the third inning. He also laid down a picture-perfect bunt down the third base line in the fifth.

Hornets defenders made a number of dazzling plays, including Grubbs’ sliding catch of a sinking liner in center field that saved a run in the second inning. Sophomore catcher Gunner Pollman lived up to his name, throwing out a runner second base. 

A key defensive play occurred in the pivotal sixth inning.

Pitcher Grant Kekuk had relieved Leitao after Utah scored its first run, leaving Utah runners at the corners with no outs. Hornets’ sophomore third baseman Brandon Hunley (who played all last year at second base) fielded a hot smash, looked the runner Cody Scaggari back to third, then began a 5-4-3 double play. The runner broke for home and scored ahead of first baseman Vinny Esposito’s (Granite Bay High) throw to tie the game 2-2.

Utah’s leadoff hitter Kody Davis had a couple hits and two RBI, while Dallas Carroll went 3-for-5 with three RBI. Ute’s start Bret Helton was the winner, while Kekuk took the first loss for the Hornets this season.

The teams resume play tomorrow at 1 p.m.



Costner's Memories of Steinbrenner from Film For Love of The Game

By Cabral

Kevin Costner was on ESPN's Mike & Mike this morning promoting an upcoming movie (McFarland USA). He told an interesting story about the late George Steinbrenner. In preproduction for his movie For Love of The Game Costner was brought in to personally ask Steinbrenner for permission to film in Yankee Stadium as the fictional Detroit Tigers pitcher, Billy Chapel. Steinbrenner objected because in the movie script, the Yanks lose the game.

“That (competitiveness) is something about him that I love,” Costner told hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic. Steinbrenner told Costner ‘Look Kevin, I like you, but I’m not going let my guys lose, (especially) if this is a good movie.’” Thinking quickly, the film star explained that in the film the Yankees have already clinched their division with two games remaining and the Tigers are playing a meaningless game in which their pitcher (Chapel) gets in the zone and throws a perfect game. “You guys are going on to the playoffs,” Costner told the owner.

“We’ve clinched,” Steinbrenner said, reiterating this fictional movie plotline. Assured he understood correctly, the Yankees owner consented for Costner to make the movie in Yankee Stadium (And in this author’s opinion, it includes some the finest baseball action sequences on film).

In reality, the Yankees went on to win the World Series that 1999 season just after the movie debuted. Afterward, Steinbrenner presented Costner with a world series championship ring. Although he accepted the gift, Costner certainly felt he had no right to the hardware. “To this day I will never wear that world series ring they won that year,” Steinbrenner, he felt, “shouldn’t have done that, but he’s a big gesture guy.”

Costner has hit the Trifecta in baseball movies, starring in Bull Durham, Field of Dreams and For Love of The Game.



Hornets Open 2015 Season This Weekend Versus Utah

The Hornets open the 2015 season with a four-game homestand this weekend against Utah.   

Sacramento State last year won both the Western Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships, and earned their first-ever Division 1 NCAA tournament victory in the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Regional. The team posted a 40-win season in 2014, its first in Division 1 play, and its third consecutive 30-win season. 

Coach Reggie Christiansen’s 2015 Hornets are loaded with six returning position players, five starters, and several relievers. Best, Sacramento State’s roster is comprised of almost entirely of players from California, and one half of the 35-member squad are from area schools: from Yuba City to Elk Grove.

The Hornets’ big loss is slugger Rhys Hoskins (Jesuit), who led the team in home runs and runs batted in. He was drafted by the Phillies in the 5th Round of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft. 

Leading the way are All-WAC players junior outfielder Nathan Lukes (Center High), who led the conference last season with a .371 average, 54-runs scored and posted a 20-game hitting streak; southpaw sophomore Sam Long (Del Campo), who went 8-1 (5-0 in conference with a 2.51 earned run average). Sophomore infielder Brandon Hunley hit .269 last season and was tied for second on the team with six home runs. He moves from second base to third base this season. Both Long and Hunley graduated one year early to get an early start on their collegiate careers last season. 

The team is led by ace right-hander Brennan Leitao, the Hornets all-time wins leader with 24 victories, who was a preseason Louisville All-American pick in 2015.  Junior right-handed closer Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano) enters the season tied for the school's career saves record with 26.

In the preseason 2015 WAC Coaches Poll, the Hornets are tabbed to finish first in the conference. 

The Hornets first game against the Utes is 2 p.m. Friday at John Smith Field. Start time for both weekend games is 1 p.m., and they finish up on Monday with an 11 a.m. start. 


Community College Updates

Kirby Broadbent (Oakmont High), pitcher and first-baseman for American River is hitting .615 over the first four games, second best in the state. The 6’5” slugger has three doubles, two triples and four runs batted in for the Beavers.

Austin Wailes, a freshman infielder at Folsom Lake College, is tied for the state lead in home runs with three. Folsom Lake, sporting its first-ever baseball team, has come out swinging with a 4-2 record. They are part of the Bay Valley Conference. Leading this new squad is freshman shortstop Grant Heisinger (Bradshaw Christian), a three-time All-Capitol Team member. Wailes, one of the few players outside of California, hails from Crosby, Texas. But he’s not the farthest from home: Vincent Debove, a right-handed pitcher, is from Lille, France.

And at Delta College in Stockton freshman Cameron Leeper (Grant High) is tearin’ it up on the hill for the Mustangs. In two starts and 14 innings, the southpaw has allowed six hits, one earned run (0.64 ERA) and fanned 19 to earn two quick victories on the young 2015 season, placing him among the top three pitchers in the state in the latter two categories. Leeper was drafted last year in the 29th Round by Minnesota.

A number of Sacramento-area athletes have migrated down to Stockton to play community college ball, including: Leeper’s teammate at Grant, Jelanie Davie; Lance Berringer (Oakridge), and Eddie Sievers and Raul Ortiz from McClatchy High. Delta, the preseason number one team in Northern California, has stormed out to a 5-0 record.

Cosumnes River is 1-3, while Sierra and Sacramento City both have 2-3 records in the first two weeks.

Get out and watch the five area community college teams in action.




Courtesy of Sacramento State Media Relations

DENVER - The Sacramento State baseball team was a near unanimous pick to win the 2015 WAC Championship in a vote of the league's 10 head coaches, who could not vote for their own team. Additionally, senior Brennan Leitao was named the Preseason WAC Pitcher of the Year and four other Hornets were selected to the preseason all-WAC team. 

The defending WAC Champion Hornets received eight first place votes and 80 total points in the poll. Grand Canyon, which finished second in the final WAC regular season standings last year, picked up the two other first place votes and totaled 71 points to be picked second. Bakersfield, Seattle U, and Utah Valley rounded out the top five with Texas Pan-American and New Mexico State close behind in the preseason prognostication.

A two-time all-WAC first team selection and a 2015 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American, Leitao was picked as the top returning pitcher in the league. He already is Sacramento State's all-time leader in wins and last year went 9-5 with a 2.15 ERA while ranking third in the NCAA with 18 starts. He was especially dominant in WAC play last year, going 7-0 with a 1.43 ERA and a 52-9 strikeout to walk ratio in 10 WAC games.

Sophomore pitcher Sam Long (Del Campo) joined Leitao on the Preseason all-WAC team as the Hornets had two of the three starting pitchers selected in the poll. Long was a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American last year as well as WAC Freshman of the Year and an all-WAC Second Team selection. He went 8-2 with a 3.03 ERA overall in 2014 and was 5-0 with a 2.24 ERA in nine WAC games, including two complete game shutouts.

The Hornets also have the lone reliever selected to the all-conference preseason team in junior closer Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano). Tied for the all-time program record with 26 career saves, McLoughin is a two-time all-WAC selection, a former WAC Freshman of the Year, and led the WAC with nine saves last season while going 4-2 with a 1.81 ERA.

Additionally, two Hornet position players also received preseason accolades from the league. Junior outfielder Nathan Lukes (Center High) was selected after a brilliant 2014 season in which he hit .347 with 26 RBIs and 54 runs scored and led the WAC with 90 hits in earning all-conference first team honors.

Senior shortstop Scotty Burcham was an at-large selection to the team after hitting .300 last season and leading the team with 154 assists as arguably the top defensive infielder in the league. He was also named to the all-San Luis Obispo NCAA Regional team in Sacramento State's first Div. I NCAA appearance.

In all the Hornets return six starting position players and all five starting pitchers from their 2014 WAC Championship team, including five All-WAC selections.

The 2014 team won 40 games for the first time since 1991 and had the fifth most wins in a season in program history. It was the program's third-straight season with 30 or more wins, the longest such streak since a string of nine straight 30-win seasons from 1985-1993.

The Hornets will challenge themselves in the non-conference season with series against three preseason ranked teams including 2014 College World Series qualifier Texas Tech, which was picked fifth in the country in the Baseball America preseason poll. A road series at Cal Poly and a home series against UC Santa Barbara also highlight the early non-conference schedule.

Sacramento State opens the season with eight home games starting next Friday, Feb. 13, in the first of a four-game series with Utah. WAC play for the Hornets begins March 20 with a home series against Texas-Pan American.


Delta #1 Pick in NorCal Community College Pre-Season Poll

San Joaquin Delta was selected as the number-one team in the California Community College Baseball Coaches pre-season poll by a wide margin over Chabot. Delta (35-11) last year won the Big-8 Conference.

Cosumnes River (24-14) and Sierra (24-17)--which tied for third in the Big-8 last year--tied for the 8th spot in NorCal pre-season poll. Sacramento City (25-13), which finished fifth in the Big-8 in 2014, was selected 9th.


Garvey Headlines Hornets 5th Annual Diamond Dinner

by Editor Rick Cabral

Hornets head coach Reggie Christiansen welcomed a crowd of more than 500 parents, alumni, friends and student athletes to the team’s 5th Annual Hornets Diamond Dinner. Ten-time All-Star and 1974 National League Most Valuable Player Steve Garvey (Dodgers/Padres) served as the evening’s featured speaker.

The Hornets, off last year’s 40-win season, a Western Athletic Conference championship and first-ever Division-1 tournament victory, are stocked again this year, the head coach said. The team returns six position players, and a strong pitching staff led by two-time All-WAC senior Brennan Leitao, a preseason Louisville Slugger All-American selection. Leitao went 9-4 2.15 ERA last year and is the school’s all-time wins leader with 24 victories. Also returning is sophomore left-hander Sam Long (8-2/3.03--Del Campo High), a Louisville Freshman All-American pick, plus they’ve also got junior Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano), a fireballin’ closer.

Christiansen (124-116 all time with Sac State) explained that the Hornets Diamond Dinner is the club’s chief fundraising event to help offset such items as travel expenses, as the club continues to take on (and has beaten) some of the nation’s Top 25 teams, such as Texas and Texas A&M over the past three years. He also thanked the school administration for committing to providing a major field renovation and stadium lights, slated for later this year.

In attendance last night were dozens of proud parents, plus a number of alums including Rhys Hoskins, a three-time starter at first base who last summer signed a pro contract with the Phillies, Jim Graf and Roger Zanze, plus a large contingent from the 1961 team.

Other notables in the crowd included former pro Nick Johnson (McClatchy High) and rising Astros star Max Stassi (Yuba City High), who was there along with his family to support youngest brother Jake, a graduate student who transferred from Long Beach State after arm surgery sidelined his senior season last year. Also seen were the Hornets former head coaches, John Smith and Cal Boyes.

Before calling up the featured speaker, Christiansen admitted he’s a long-time Dodgers fan, which naturally drew a lot of boos from the Giants’ fans. Garvey, however, has another direct connection to the Hornets in senior shortstop Scotty Burcham. Garvey coached Burcham on a youth travel team in southern California. Burcham is a close friend of Garvey's daughter, Olivia, also in attendance.

For many who may not know Garvey’s background, he was raised in Tampa, Florida by New York exiles who rooted for the Dodgers (dad) and Yankees (mom). On March 23rd, 1956 Garvey’s father, a bus driver, brought him along to pick up the 1955 World Series champions Dodgers team at the airport. A string of notable names from Brooklyn fame debarked, patting seven-year-old Stevie’s crew cut on their way to his dad’s bus. He fondly recalls the last two off the chartered plane—Jackie Robinson and Ray Campanella—who took time to talk to the youth, each inspiring him with a special message.

When they arrived in St. Petersburg, the Yankees were taking batting practice. While playing catch with Dodgers first baseman Gil Hodges, Stevie turned at the crack of the bat to watch a towering shot by Mickey Mantle, inadvertently missing Hodges’ throw which hit him in the chest. Gentle Gil asked if young Garvey was alright, then quietly chided him for focusing on the Yankee great: “Son, (the Dodgers) are the world champs now.”

Garvey was asked to serve as bat boy that day, and continued the tradition all through high school, where he was prep star quarterback and infielder. On a recruitment visit to Michigan State (which offered him a baseball scholarship), he bumped into head football coach Duffy Daugherty, who encouraged him to play both sports.

Steve Garvey, Michigan State

He accepted and enrolled in fall 1966, a notable time, as the Spartans were ranked number two in the nation, just behind Notre Dame. In preparation for that titanic tussle between the nation's top two collegiate teams, the Spartans used freshman QB Garvey to simulate Irish quarterback Terry Hanratty, and he still remembers the bruises inflicted by the Michigan State defense, led by Bubba Smith. Garvey played his part well, as the Spartans tied Notre Dame 10-10.

That spring, in his first ever collegiate at-bat, Garvey clubbed a grand slam, and later led the Big 10 in home runs. On the gridiron, he started at defensive back, making 30 tackles.

In 1968, Garvey’s dream came true when the Dodgers called notifying they had drafted him in the first round of the 1968 (secondary phase) amateur draft. “What are the chances of that happening?” he marveled about his favorite team.

Dodgers scout Gus Wellman came down to Florida to pen the deal. After Millie Garvey prepared a wonderful meal, the scout invited the Garvey men into the living room to pen the deal. Garvey’s father, unskilled as a negotiator, balked at the original bonus offeringb, managing to raise the bid to $18,000. But when he asked for more Wellman called Dodgers GM Al Campanis, who agreed to $25,000.

Before they shook on the deal, however, Mrs. Garvey (obviously eavesdropping from the kitchen as she washed the dishes) interceded and told the Dodgers scout she would pay her son the same amount to return to Michigan State. Steve and his father thought she had blown the deal. Wellman then went into the kitchen to talk with the mom. When they returned to the living room, Mrs. Garvey announced she had secured for her son a $40,000 bonus, plus a new car.

One year later in 1969, the Dodgers promoted Garvey in a September call-up. But it wasn’t until 1973—June 23rd to be exact—when manager Walt Alston told him he would start the second game of a double header. Garvey remembers the day, because it represented the transformation from a “wild-armed third baseman” who could always hit into the team’s first baseman for a decade.

A 10-time National League All-Star, 4-time Gold Glover, Garvey played in 1207 consecutive games, still the National League record and fourth all time. He won a World Series ring in 1981, and later played in the 1984 with the San Diego Padres.

Garvey counseled Hornets players they should celebrate the “wonderful journey you’re on,” and focus on the next step to becoming a Division 1 power: “Learn to close (the deal),” he told them. 





TUCSON, Ariz. - Sacramento State senior right-handed pitcher Brennan Leitao has been named to the Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American Third Team selected by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.  

He is the only Western Athletic Conference (WAC) player named to the preseason teams. 

Sacramento State pitcher Brennan Leitao

Already Sacramento State's all-time leader with 24 career wins and 304.0 innings pitched, Leitao is a two-time all-WAC first team selection and was also an all-WAC Tournament honoree last season after leading the Hornets to their first WAC Tournament championship and Division I NCAA Regional appearance. 

He went 9-4 with a 2.15 ERA last season, recording the fifth-lowest ERA in a season in program history and tying for third in the NCAA with 18 games started. He also ranked second in the WAC in ERA, wins, innings pitched (117.0), and strikeouts (74) last season and went 7-0 with a 1.43 ERA in 10 WAC games. 

Leitao also led the Hornets in the postseason, starting the WAC Tournament-clinching game against Utah Valley and allowing only one run over seven innings in Sacramento State's 5-4 win over No. 18 Arizona State in the NCAA Regionals.  

He enters his senior season ranked eighth in program history with 171 career strikeouts and is ninth with a 3.17 career ERA.  


Sac State Baseball Program To Receive Field Upgrade, New Lights and Extends Christiansen Through 2019

by Editor Rick Cabral

Sacramento State’s head baseball coach Reggie Christiansen is all smiles these days. 

The University’s Athletic Department received $3.5 million to improve the athletic facilities, with $850,000 earmarked for two substantial projects the baseball program has eagerly awaited. 

John Smith Field this fall will undergo a complete regrade process that includes taking the surface down several inches, reskinning it, installing new irrigation, and laying burmuda sod over the entire field. At an estimated cost of $200,000 the baseball field re-grade also eliminates the dropoff in the outfield and improves player safety, according to Sac State media relations.

Christiansen says this project will begin in mid-October and should be completed a month later. 

In addition, the new funding also pays for the installation of stadium lights, something Christiansen has lobbied for since he got here. The new lights permit the team to schedule night games, which means student athletes will miss less class time during mid-week games. 

More importantly, stadium lights puts the Hornets baseball program in step with nearly every other Division I program in the country, and will enable Sac State to host post-season tournaments.  

Although the timeline is still in flux, Christiansen is hopeful lights will be installed before end of 2015 season. “I’m actually hoping we can play with them against Grand Canyon, which is our very last (home series) weekend,” he said. 

Asked if he thought the Hornets recent playoff run may have persuaded the University to award the funding, especially for the lights, the head coach said, “These were things that were being discussed prior to that (playoffs). If anything, it certainly pushed them to the front of the agenda sooner.” 

A  two-time Western Athletic Conference (WAC) coach of the year, Christiansen led the Hornets to their first outright regular season WAC title and their first WAC Tournament championship last season. The squad played in the D-I NCAA Regionals for the first time in program history and eliminated perennial national power Arizona State in the tournament held at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. 

Success on the field has certainly helped in recruiting, as demonstrated by the 16 new local players that will matriculate to Sac State this fall. “We’ve shown improvement each year, but an announcement like this really puts it over the top,”  Christiansen allowed. 

“I was very grateful that (University) President Gonzalez has shown the ability to help our baseball program continue to grow.” 

In 2014, the Hornets won 40 games for the first time since 1991. 

Over the last three seasons Christiansen's program has received one All-American Honor (Rhys Hoskins), four Freshman All-American Honors, three WAC Freshmen of the Year, and two WAC Player of the Year honors. The squad has also won 30 or more games in three-straight seasons, the longest such streak since a string of nine straight 30-win seasons from 1985-1993.  

Among 24 Division-I baseball teams in California, the Hornets have recorded the eighth-most wins over the last three seasons, winning 105 total games from 2012-2014.  

For all his great work (and that of his assistant coaches, specifically McClatchy grad and former major leaguer Steve Holm who has served as assistant head coach the past two years), the University’s Athletic Department also rewarded Christiansen with a new five-year contract that will take him through the 2019 season and includes a small pay raise, he said today.

(Sac State Media Relations also contributed to this report)


Collegiate News

Legends Earn West Bid in AABC World Series  

Team Seeking Donations to Offset Travel and Hotel Accommodations in New York

The Sacramento Legends Baseball Club has won the Western Regional Championship and earned a berth in the American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC) Stan Musial World Series in Farmingdale, NY, announced Legends manager, Steve Gill. 

The team’s immediate goal, however, is to find the funds to offset travel and hotel accommodations once they reach New York. They haven’t much time, as the eight-team tournament begins August 7th.  

The Legends, comprised of collegiate players from the local area, were winners of the Sacramento Premier League with a 9-0 record. The team currently sports a 46-21 record with four games to play in the regular season.  

They are led by pitcher Lucas Still (CBS High bound for Willamette University) with a 7-1 record and 2.31 earned run average and hitters Brian Ingram who is hitting .350 with six home runs and a team-leading 46 runs batted in, and Matt Caselli (CBS/Sacramento City College) with a .346 average. 

“We’re asking the local community to help us offset the travel and room expenses for this trip to the AABC World Series,” Gill said today. The team estimates expenses will total around $30,000. So far they’ve raised less than $1,000. Gill asks that anyone who would like to contribute should please visit this link at 

The Sacramento Legends play three times this week at their home field Union Stadium on the Sacramento City College campus beginning tonight, tomorrow and Friday evening. Game time is 7 p.m. and admission is free.

The Legends were founded in 2002 by Gill, who as club manager is following in the footsteps of his late father Joe Gill, the long-time coach at Christian Brothers High and Southside American Legion. 

The AABC is comprised of age divisions that include the Musial League (19+), Connie Mack (18U), Don Mattingly (17U), Mickey Mantle (16U), Ken Griffey Jr. (15U), Sandy Koufax (14U)




(Courtesy of Sac State Media Relations)

The Sacramento State baseball team welcomed eight new Hornets who will officially join the program this fall as announced by head coach Reggie Christiansen. Six of the eight newcomers are local to the Sacramento area.  

“We believe our 2015 class will be exciting to watch on the field, but equally as important they will represent our program in the classroom and off of the field in a first class manner,” Christiansen said. “We sought to bring in a group of position players that can play multiple positions along with adding a few left handed hitters. We are also very excited about the two physical right handed pitchers in Tyler Beardsley and Brad Bonnenfant, both of whom have very high ceilings and can pitch in multiple roles.” 

The eight newcomers join a group of 10 players that committed to the program in November (see below). Two of those 10 players, Sam Long (Del Campo) and Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers), played their freshman seasons in 2014 after graduating high school early, so there will be a total of 16 newcomers to the program next year.  

Sacramento State is coming off a historic season in which it claimed its first WAC title and played in the Div. I NCAA Regionals for the first time. The squad lost six seniors as well as junior MLB Draft picks Rhys Hoskins and Alex Palsha, but does return six starting position players as well as all three weekend starters and closer Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano High).  

The eight signees are below:  

Tyler Beardsley - RHP - College of the Sequioas - Tehachapi, Calif.
Coach Christiansen: “Tyler has a chance to be used both as a starter or reliever. He is a competitive kid and will fit in nicely with the group of pitchers returning this fall.” 

Brad Bonnenfant - RHP - Sutter High School - Yuba City, Calif.
Coach Christiansen: “Coach Jake Angier did a nice job finding Brad this spring. Brad is a diamond in the rough and is a big, physical pitcher that throws downhill.” 

Sam Curtis - Infielder - Rocklin High School - Rocklin, Calif.
Coach Christiansen: “Sam can really run and plays with a lot of energy. Sam brings some versatility to us as he can play all three positions in the middle of the diamond.” 

Josh Egan- Utility - Ohlone College - Castro Valley, Calif.
Coach Christiansen: “Josh is a left-handed hitter that has the ability to play three positions (OF/C/1B). We are excited to add Josh to our club this fall.” 

PJ Floyd - Infielder - Whitney HS - Rocklin, Calif.
Coach Christiansen: “PJ reminds us of a young Justin Higley. He can really run and has the ability to play all three infield positions.” 

Bronson Grubbs - Utility - Pleasant Grove HS - Elk Grove, Calif.
Coach Christiansen: “Bronson is a winner, plays the game extremely hard, and also brings flexibility to our roster as we he can play all three positions in the middle of the diamond.” 

Billy Rockefeller - 1B/LF - Del Oro HS - Loomis, Calif.
Coach Christiansen: “We are thrilled to have Billy join our program. He was the MVP of the Optimist game and has a huge upside. Billy is a left handed hitter that has shown the ability to hit for both average and power.” 

Dylan Spezia - RHP/OF - Woodcreek High School - Roseville, Calif.
Coach Christiansen: “Dylan is a big physical RHP that has a chance to be a 2-way player for us.” 

~ ~ ~

Those incoming players announced in November (in addition to Long and Hunley) include:

Anthony Casteneda - Woodland Christian HS – Woodland, Calif. - 6'5" – 225 - RHP
(6-0, 1.83 ERA) Christiansen: "A three-sport star, Anthony is a projectable right handed pitcher. He possesses a mid-80's fastball and his best pitch is his changeup. He is a strike thrower who competes and will be an important part of our staff. "

Dan Deely - Sonoma Valley HS – Sonoma, Calif. - 6'1" – 190 - Shortstop
Christiansen: "We fell in love with Dan because of his old school approach to the game. He is a HS Quarterback, hard-nosed, tough kid, exactly what we are looking for."

Vinny Esposito - Granite Bay HS – Granite Bay, Calif. - 6'0" - 185 - Shortstop
Christiansen: "Vinny is a coaches' son with a high baseball IQ and is a winner. He will make an impact in our lineup from the day he steps on our campus. He is what we call a "Friday Night Hitter."

Grant Kukuk - College of Southern Idaho/Reno HS – Reno, Nev. - 6'0" – 185 - RHP
Christiansen: "We recruited Grant out of high school and I am excited that we were able to add him to our roster in this year's class. Grant will be a big part of our staff next year. He is a strike thrower, a tough kid and can pitch in multiple roles."

Devin Lehman - Granite Bay HS – Granite Bay, Calif. - 5'10" – 180 - Utility
Christiansen: "Devin plays the game hard, makes very few mistakes, and needs to win. He squares up the ball consistently and can play multiple positions. He reminds me of (Hornet senior) Will Soto coming out of high school."

Jeremiah Moore - Valley Christian Academy – Roseville, Calif. - 6'3" – 220 - RHP
Christiansen: "Impact arm with an advanced feel for pitching. He has an upper 80's fastball with above an average feel for his breaking ball and changeup. Jeremiah has "it" on the mound."

Austin Root - Oakridge HS – El Dorado Hills, Calif. - 6'2" – 180 - RHP
Christiansen: "Has a mid-80's fastball with a sharp, swing and miss slider. Austin reminds of us Brennan Leitao , the stuff and the angle, which we believe plays very well at this level. "

Ryan Smith - Rocklin HS – Rocklin, Calif. - 6'5" – 200 - RHP
Christiansen: "Ryan has a very high ceiling, with a low 90's fastball with great angle due to his 6'5" frame. The more we watched Ryan the better he got, and his competitive spirit on the mound will be contagious."

~  ~  ~

Additionally, medical redshirt Chris Nichsolson of El Camino Real High in West Hills, CA, will be joining the roster as a redshirt freshman in 2015.


Hornets Hoskins Named to ABCA/Rawlings West Region 2nd Team

Former Sacramento State first baseman Rhys Hoskins (Jesuit) received another postseason honor by being named to the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings 2014 West Region Second Team.


A junior first baseman from Sacramento, Hoskins was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 5th round of the MLB Draft two weeks ago. He began his professional career last Friday playing for the Class A Short Season  Williamsport Crosscutters.

He is just the second player in program history to earn all-West Region honors after Andrew Ayers was a second team selection in 2012.

In May, Hoskins was named to the 2014 Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I All-America Third Team, the first Hornets All-American since Tim Wheeler in 2009. He was the third player in program history to be named the WAC Player of the Year for hitting .360 with six homers and 32 RBIs in WAC games, driving in more than one run per game in conference play.

(Sacramento State media relations contributed to this report)



Hornets Lefthander Sam Long Named to Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team 


Hornets' starter Sam Long against Utah Valley at home.

Coach  just tweeted congratulations to Sam Long on being named Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American. Sammy joins Rhys Hoskins (2012), Chris Lewis and Sutter Mcloughlin (2013) who also received this prestigious honor for the green and gold. 

As a freshman, Long posted an 8-2 record (second only to staff ace Brennan Leitao among starters) and a 3.03 ERA. Long's only losses were to Oregon State (ranked #4) at home, and Cal Poly (#5) last weekend at the NCAA Regionals, where Sam faced off against Cal Poly's Top 75-ranked lefthanded pitcher, Matt Imhof. 

More amazingly, Long should have just graduated from Del Campo last week. Instead, he graduated early from high school in winter, and soon after joining the Hornets in school was promoted from mid-week pitcher to Saturday starter.
Hoskins last week learned that Louisville Slugger had selected him Third Team All-American for his performance in 2014.


NCAA Division 1 2014 Regional Action


NCAA Division 1 -- Nashville Regional

Oregon (44-19) righthander Stephen Nogosek (Woodcreek) threw a four-hitter through seven innings and departed with the No.-2 Ducks holding a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning. But host Vanderbilt (43-18), the No.-1 seed, scored two runs in the final two innings to take a 3-2 win and the Nashville Regional.

NCAA Division 1 -- Stillwater Regional

Host Oklahoma State (47-16) defeated No.-3 seed Fullerton State (34-23) 6-4 to claim the Stillwater Regional yesterday. Titans juniors J.D. Davis (Elk Grove High) and Austin Diemer (Rocklin High) each had a hit and an RBI in the contest.

NCAA Division 1 -- Bloomington Regional

Stanford (32-24) lefthander sophomore Logan James (Jesuit) allowed four runs and couldn't get out of the second inning against No.-1 seed Indiana (44-13) yesterday. But his Cardinal teammates picked him up and won the contest 10-7 to advance to the final today against Indiana, the No.-4 national seed, according to Baseball America.


NCAA Division 1 -- San Luis Obispo Regional

Congrats to Kyle Moses and Scotty Burcham on being named to the San Luis Obispo All-Regional Team!

— Bryan Langlois hit a go-ahead bases-loaded triple in the ninth inning and Pepperdine advanced to the super regionals with a 10-6 victory over host Cal Poly in the San Luis Obispo regional on Sunday.

The Waves (42-16) got past the regional round for the first time since the winning the College World Series title in 1992.

Read more here:

Game 5: Hornets Go Down Fighting in 6-5 NCAA Regional Elimination to Cal Poly

by Editor Rick Cabral
Twitter @BaseballSac

For the second time in three days, Cal Poly proved to the boys from Sacramento why they are one of the Top Ten teams in the nation.

And the Hornets proved they can hang with the big boys, as Cal Poly won a close one 6-5 this afternoon at their home park, Baggett Stadium. 

“It was an unbelievable game, a great game,” Christiansen offered in postgame comments. “We played hard. This is what college baseball is all about. Cal Poly’s got a great team. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys.” 

Ranked No.5 in the nation by BaseballAmerica coming into the San Luis Obispo Regional, Cal Poly last night lost a squeaker to Pepperdine, 2-1, forcing the Mustangs to play the Hornets on elimination Sunday. But Coach Larry Lee’s players came out of the gates swinging—and running—toward another victory, and the chance at redemption later tonight, where Pepperdine awaits in the winner’s bracket. 



Sacramento State's Kyle Moses reacts after doubling in the eighth inning to start a two-run rally that fell short in the Hornets 6-5 loss to Cal Poly today.
Photo courtesy of Bob Solorio.

Through the first four innings, Sacramento State pitcher Justin Dillon (El Dorado High) struggled with command, and the Mustangs took advantage. They scored single runs in the first three innings and plated two more in the fourth, while stealing five bases. 

In the first inning, Mark Mathias scored from third on a fielder’s choice. Zach Zenher, who was involved last night in an embarrassing collision with Cal Poly’s centerfielder that led to Pepperdine’s two runs, homered over the left field wall for a 2-0 lead. They added another run in the third on an RBI single by Tim Wise. 

Sacramento State answered in the third inning when junior Kyle Moses knocked in Scotty Burcham, who led off the inning with a double (the first of his three hits today). 

But in the fourth inning, the Mustangs got things rolling when Zehner walked and stole second and third, and Peter Van Gansen walked and stole second. John Schukneacht—who’s been on fire at the plate this tournament—doubled down the left field line, giving Cal Poly a 5-1 lead. 

The Hornets scored twice in the fifth when sophomore catcher Dane Fujinaka singled in senior David Del Grande (who played his final game in the green and gold, along with Will Soto of Elk Grove). Sacramento State loaded the bases and scored once more on a double play ball, making it 5-3. 

But Cal Poly wouldn’t quit, adding one more run the 7th inning to take a 6-3 lead. 

In the bottom of the eighth, the Hornets proved they are made of sterner stuff, too. Moses doubled down the left field line and scored on sophomore Chris Lewis’ RBI single. Lewis later reached home on Soto’s sacrifice fly. 

In the ninth, Mustangs closer Reed Reilly allowed a single to pinch hitter freshman Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers), then retired Moses on a nine-pitch at-bat with Cal Poly followers screaming “Let’s Go Poly!” and “C’mon Reed!” throughout the stadium with every foul ball. 

“Right there, that’s what our season was about, pretty much,” said Fujinaka. “There was so much intensity there (in Moses’ at-bat).” 

“It was an unbelievable game, a great game,” Christiansen offered in postgame comments. “We played hard. This is what college baseball is all about. Cal Poly’s got a great team.”  

Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee complimented Sacramento State for winning 39 games (prior to the Regionals), “which is a lot for out here on the West Coast. That program is just going to take off, getting better and better.” Lee noted that Sac State and Cal Poly will play a non-conference three-game series beginning in 2015 here at Baggett Stadium.

Christiansen, who came out on the losing end today, noted “Our goal was to come to the NCAA tournament, and expecting to win, not just here (Regional), but expecting to win the whole thing,” he said.  

“Cal Poly is the best team we played all year. Beating Arizona State yesterday, that’s going to give this (returning) group a better opportunity next year when we come back. These guys took the first step.” 

Christiansen’s got reason to be optimistic about his future. Besides Del Grande and Soto, he’s losing only three other seniors in Scott Loper (who played great at second base down the stretch), pitcher Hunter Greenwood (Elk Grove High), and reserve catcher Blake Hugaert.  

The 2014 major league draft likely will take junior All-American Rhys Hoskins, and possibly pitchers Brennan Leitao and Alex Palsha, who anchored the pitching staff this season. 

Otherwise, Christiansen has a lot to like about the returnees, and a passel of local talent that either redshirted this season or will be joining the club from the high school ranks. 

As Cal Poly coach Lee noted, “That program is just going to take off, (as it’s) getting better and better. They’re the cream of the crop in that (Western Athletic) Conference.”

Congratulations to Sacramento State for a season to remember: 40 victories, the WAC conference and tourney championships, their first trip to the NCAA Division I Playoffs, and their first victory in that prestigious postseason tournament. 


NCAA Division 1 -- San Luis Obispo Regional

Game 4: Waves' Ride Brown Arm to 2-1 Victory Over Cal Poly

by Editor Rick Cabral
Twitter @BaseballSac

SAN LUIS OBISPO--Pepperdine pitcher Aaron Brown no doubt enhanced his future bank account by several zeroes, as the lefthander pitched eight masterful innings, limited an aggressive Cal Poly lineup to three hits and one unearned run, as his Waves pulled out  a 2-1 victory in the winner’s bracket at the NCAA Division I San Luis Obispo Regional.

Here’s why: he was facing another raucous, supportive Green Wave crowd of nearly 3,000 Cal Poly fans; his defense made four errors, including three by third baseman Austin Davidson who appeared shaky on several other plays; and opposing pitcher Casey Bloomquist, who came in with a 12-1 record, just like Brown, looked like the reincarnation of  Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay (the ol’ Roy Halladay) for the first six innings.


Pepperdine pitcher Aaron Brown fires  a fastball to a Cal Poly hitter in tonight's 2-1 win over the Mustangs.

Brown, one of the top two-way players in the country, is projected to be a high draft pick, as evidenced by the army of professional scouts monitoring his performance tonight at Baggett Stadium. His record now is 12-1 with a 2.07 ERA and when he is not pitching, the centerfielder is hitting .313.

In the second inning, Cal Poly catcher Chris Hoo scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Mark Mathias to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead. Cal Poly felt cheated it didn’t get more, as Brown pitched with the bases loaded that inning. From then until the seventh inning, Brown was staring down the barrel of a 1-0 deficit, and his teammates couldn’t figure out Bloomquist.

Then in the bottom of the seventh with one out, Aaron Barnett hit a routine fly to left center field. Centerfielder Jordan Ellis drifted in position to catch the ball. According to leftfielder Zach Zehner, Ellis called for it, but the leftfielder was unable to get out of the way, the two outfielders collided, and the ball rolled to the wall. Barnett wound up on third base.

Waves head coach Steve Rodriguez brought in Jeremy Goldenetz to run for Barnett. On the first pitch, Hutton Moyer doubled over the rightfielder’s head, scoring the runner and tying the game at 1-1. “I was just trying to do my job, hit the ball in the air and I was fortunate I got under it,” Moyer said.

Bloomquist struck out the next hitter. Then number-nine hitter Manny Jefferson hit a bloop over first base. First baseman John Schuknecht reached out in time, but the ball bounced off his glove for an error and with two outs, Moyer scored easily to give Pepperdine the 2-1 lead.

In the Mustangs eighth, with one out Nick Torres hit a screamer off of Brown’s glove that Jefferson fielded and threw out Torres in time at first base; a defensive gem. Then designated hitter Brian Mundell reached first on Davidson’s second throwing error of the game and was thrown out trying to reach second base to end the inning.

Coach Rodriguez called that a “huge play,” as it proved to be Cal Poly’s last offensive surge. Closer Eric Karch pitched a perfect ninth inning and recorded his 15th save.

In the post-game conference Brown admitted that he didn’t settle in until after throwing 48 pitches through the second inning. But the southpaw continued mixing his 90-mph fastball with a deceptive slider, that kept a solid offensive club off balance.

“(This was) probably one of the most exciting games I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of,” Rodriguez admitted. “I think what you saw tonight was a pretty impressive pitching performance by two very good pitchers.” 

With the win, Pepperdine (41-16)moves on to the winner’s bracket. Cal Poly (46-11), which lost at home for only the fourth time this season, will now play Sacramento State. The Hornets won a 5-4 squeaker in the afternoon contest over Arizona State in an elimination contest, posting its 40th victory of the season.

Mustangs head coach Larry Lee said he would send out freshman Justin Calomeni to the mound tomorrow against Sac State, which will pitch redshirt freshman Justin Dillon, who is 4-1 with a 3.23 ERA.

~ ~ ~

Mooch Siting

After the game, we spotted former 49er and Cal football coach Steve Mariucci by the Mustangs Press Box. Steve's brother Bob works in the Athletic Department at nearby Cuesta College, we're told.

Game 3: Sacramento State 5, Arizona State 4

by Editor Rick Cabral
Twitter @BaseballSac

SAN LUIS OBISPO--San Luis Obispo--Sacramento State (40-23) earned its 40th victory of the season today with a 5-4 win over Arizona State in the NCAA Division I San Luis Obispo Regional.   

In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the score tied at 2-2 and All-American Rhys Hoskins and Will Soto in scoring position, senior David Del Grande singled through the left side to give to give the Hornets a 3-2 lead. Fiery Dane Fujinaka, knocked in a run, and then Nathan Lukes—whose 2-RBI single in the fifth inning got the Hornets on the board—drew a bases loaded walk to give Sacramento State a 5-2 lead.

Reliever Alex Palsha (6-1), who’s been lights out all year, had pitched a scoreless eighth. But in the ninth inning, with the Devils down to their final frame of the season, pinch hitter David Greer doubled down the left field line. Arizona State head coach Tim Esmay went to the bench again and pinch hitter R.J. Ybarra rewarded his confidence with a blast over the left center wall with no outs to cut the lead to 5-4 and rejuvenate the Sun Devils' dugout.

Palsha then gave up two more singles. With runners at third and second base the normally reliable righthander fanned Trever Allen looking to secure the Hornets playoff victory.

“It means 40 wins,” Hornets head coach Reggie Christiansen said with a smile after the contest. That was one of the goals he set for his team at the beginning of the year, along with winning the Western Athletic Conference (check), the WAC tournament (check, check).

In only his fourth season, Christiansen led Sacramento State to its first-ever WAC tournament crown and Division I NCAA Regional Playoff experience.


Sacramento State catcher Dane Fujinaka is fired up after the Hornet's
5-4 win over Arizona State in the
NCAA Division I Regionals at San Luis Obispo.
Photo courtesy Bob Solorio.

“We never say die,” said fifth-year senior David Del Grande, who typifies the Hornets style of play. “We’re truly a team and we go out there for each other. Every game is special.” 

As was this one. 

Sacramento State, playing the powerhouse Sun Devils for the first time in program history, sent ace righthander Brennan Leitao (9-4) to the mound, and he didn’t disappoint. Leitao, spotting his sinker and 10-4 curve ball allowed two runs through seven innings on five hits. He walked one and fanned four Sun Devils.  

Arizona State, led by Esmay, posted its 52nd consecutive season of 30+ wins in a season. “We just came up short,” Ismay said, disappointed to lose two and go back home to the desert. Sacramento State, under Christiansen, just recorded its third straight season of 30+ wins.

With the victory, Sacramento State staves elimination and will play the loser of tonight’s game between No.1 seed Cal Poly and No.3 seed Pepperdine tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. at Baggett Stadium, where the weather’s been god-sent with 70 degree temps and light ocean breezes filtering through the ballpark. 

Is this heaven? 

It is this afternoon for the Hornets, who post another first in this record-breaking season: first-ever Division I victory in the NCAA Regionals.

And an opportunity to keep it going. As Del Grande noted, "We don't want this to stop." 


Hornets fans celebrate Kyle Moses scoring the team's second run in the fifth inning on a single by Nathan Lukes. All-American Rhys Hoskins congratulates Moses as Scotty Burcham (7) watches.
Photo courtesy Bob Solorio.



NCAA Division 1 -- San Luis Obispo Regional

Game 2: Cal Poly 4, Sacramento State 2

Ranked number five in the nation, Cal Poly (46-10 and No.1 regional seed) and their top pitching prospect Matt Imhof delivered as advertised tonight, defeating Sacramento State (39-23 and No.4 seed) 4-2 in Game Two of the NCAA Division I San Luis Obispo Regionals.

Imhof, one of the nation’s top lefthanded pitchers and projected to be a top draft selection next week, threw one-hit, shutout ball through seven innings, keeping the Hornets off-balance with fastballs topping out at 93 mph and sliders that broke off the table.


Cal Poly southpaw Matt Imhof dominated Sacramento State tonight at Baggett Stadium, throwing a one-hitter through seven innings, is the Mustangs 4-2 win.

Meanwhile, his opponent, Sacramento State southpaw freshman Sam Long, was touched for single runs in the second and third innings, then allowed two more runs in the fourth inning, as Cal Poly took a 4-0 lead.

To open the game, Imhof walked the Hornets first hitter Kyle Moses. Then the pitcher caught the speedy Moses leaning on a pick-off move, and Moses was tagged out at second base. Imhof walked the next hitter Nathan Luke, showing the left was strugglling with command. The 6’5” Cal Poly starter bore dow and struck out designated hitter Chris Lewis on a check-swing, then retired cleanup hitter, Rhys Hoskins, (Jesuit High) on a fly out. An inning that appeared promising for the WAC champions quickly dissipated.

In the Mustangs second inning, Zach Zehner tripled over Del Grande’s head off the base of the centerfield wall. Jimmy Allen’s sacrifice fly to right field scored Zehner to give Cal Poly a quick 1-0 lead. 

In the next inning, Long gave up back-to-back doubles to John Schuknecht and Mark Mathias to plate the Mustangs second run. 

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Mustangs catcher Chris Hoo reached on a Texas Leaguer to center, stole second base without a throw and scored easily on Schuknecht’s triple which nearly went over the leftfield wall. Leadoff hitter Mark Mathias , hitting a team-leading .378, then knocked in Schuknecht. Cal Poly’s 4-0 lead appeared huge the way Imhof was dealing. 

The lefthander allowed a double to Hornets’ second baseman Scott Loper in the third inning then pitched masterfully until the eighth inning, when he walked Dane Fujinaka and the senior Loper singled. Moses singled through the infield to load the bases. Lukes hit a double-play ball, which scored Fujinaka, but gave the momentum back to the Mustangs.

Chris Lewis’ hot smash was mishandled by third baseman Allen, allowing Moses to score Sac State’s second run. Coach Larry Lee came out and removed Imhof (10-4) to a standing ovation by the Cal Poly fans . “The fans were really into the game,” Imhof said afterward, noting the difference in the home playoff atmosphere. “You could just feel the energy. It was unbelievable to play in front of this crowd; it was awesome.”

Reliever Reed Reilly retired Hoskins, quelled the Hornets rally, and then closed it out in the ninth, earning his 11th save of the season. 

“We came out after the two-week layoff and swung the bats really well,” said Mustangs coach Lee. “The first game is always the toughest, just to get it out of the way. I’m real happy with the outcome.” Cal Poly is now 28-3 at home.

Hornets head coach Reggie Christiansen made no excuses by saying, “Cal Poly is a better team.” Imhof, he said, performed “Pretty much as we expected. His stuff is electric, there’s no question.”  

Rhys Hoskins, selected to the Louisville Slugger All-American Third Team yesterday, noted that Imhof was “ Probably the hardest thrower we’ve seen this year.” 

The freshman Long (8-2) pitched a gritty game against Cal Poly, allowing four earned runs on eight hits during his seven innings. His only other loss this season came at home against No.4-ranked Oregon State.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s matchup with Arizona State in the 1 p.m. loser’s bracket game, Christiansen said “…everybody’s making this out that this is our first time (in the Division I playoffs). We expected to win tonight. We don’t want to be the first team headed home. Brennan (Leitao, the team’s ace at 9-4) will be ready to go. And I like our chances.” 

One thing about this group, we don’t quit,” added Hoskins. “We’re not going to go ‘Two and ‘Que,’” he said, referring to the familiar phrase applied to teams in the College World Series that lose two games and head home.

Game 1: Pepperdine 3, Arizona State 2

Visiting Pepperdine scored once in the first inning, then added a pair on Austin Davidson's 2-run double in the second inning to give the Waves a 3-0 lead over Arizona State.

Pepperdine starting pitcher Corey Miller (9-4) allowed three hits and two earned runs through 7.1 innings, including Trever Allen's solo shot in the fourth inning which cut the lead to 3-2. Pepperdine reliever Eric Karch pitched a shutout ninth inning to earn the save, his third of the season.

With the win, Pepperdine improves to 40-16 on the season. They advance to the SLO Regional winner's bracket at 6 p.m. tomorrow night against the winner of tonight's 6 p.m. game between Cal Poly SLO (45-10), the negional's number-one seed, and Sacramento State (39-22), the tournament's number-four seed.

~ ~ ~

In other Regional Action, J.D. Davis (Elk Grove High) hit a grand slam to propel Fullerton State to a 5-1 win over Nebraska in the Stillwater Regional. He also broke up the Nebraska pitcher's no-hitter earlier in the seventh inning, to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.

Also from the Big West, UC Irvine defeated UNLV 10-3 at the Corvallis Regional.

From the Pac-12, Stanford defeated Indiana State 8-1, while Oregon's fast-break offense clobbered Clemson 18-1.


For Hornets, Tomorrow's Regional Versus Cal Poly Will Be a "Long" Day

by Editor Rick Cabral
Twitter @BaseballSac

Tomorrow (Friday) evening around 6 p.m., Coach Reggie Christiansen will look around, scan the jam-packed Baggett Stadium on the Cal Poly campus and realize a dream: he’s finally made it to the NCAA Regionals. 

He’s glad the “whirlwind” that came with winning four games in three days, and the subsequent short time he had to oversee accommodations to San Luis Obispo, NCAA paperwork, plus distribution of the 200 tickets allotted to Sac State parents and friends—will all be over. Tomorrow at game time, it’ll just be the bliss of baseball again.

Big time baseball against the No. 5-rated Cal Poly Mustangs, streamed live on ESPNU.

Christiansen this week announced he will give the ball in this big game to his freshman southpaw, Sam Long. For Long, it marks the highlight of his young career. He's 8-1 with 2.86 earned run average.

In fairness, normal Friday starter Brennan Leitao (who now owns the Hornets record for wins in a career with 24) would have gotten the assignment, but he gave the Hornets five innings on Sunday, after throwing a nine-inning game to open the WAC tournament last Thursday. Christiansen wisely gave him additional rest before pitching in the Divison I Regional Playoffs.

Long will match up against Matt Imhoff, Cal Poly’s ace--9-4  with a 2.55 ERA-- who is considered one of the top prospects in the 2014 draft.

Long, who pitched Del Campo to a Division II section title just last May, graduated one semester early so that he could begin his collegiate career sooner at Sacramento State. 


Freshman Sam Long gets the call in the Hornets first game of the NCAA Regionals against home team Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
File Photo.

The night before the big game, Long explains he'll approach tomorrow's start no differently than he has all season. “I’m going to prepare the same I would if we were playing someone in our conference, Cal Poly or the New York Yankees. That’s the most I can do, is prepare myself like I have all season.”

In his first collegiate start at Fresno State in February, Christiansen and pitching coach Steve Holm watched in amazement as Long deftly navigated through his five inning stint, allowing the Bulldogs six hits, two runs (one earned) while the Hornets offense put up six runs. Holm remembers the coaches going “'(Sam)’s a little more savvy than we really thought!' We really liked him. He was impressing us.”


Associate head coach Steve Holm serves as the pitching coach, and he coaches first base as well.
File Photo.

That’s high praise coming from a former San Francisco Giant who caught Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain from 2008-2009. Holm compares Long’s toughness and single-mindedness on the mound to that of Lincecum during his Cy Young period (2008-09). “For Timmy, there was something different about him. He had “it” during the Cy Youngs. And that’s what Sam has shown so far. There’s something different about Sam Long.”

Holm is highly praised by Coach Christiansen for what he’s done with the Hornets pitching staff this year. “The pitching has dramatically changed due to his leadership, no doubt. We wouldn’t be here if not for what he has done with these guys.” Besides Leiteo setting the team career wins record, sophomore closer Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano) tied the career saves record with 26.

Christiansen says Holm’s three years big league experience has had a major impact on the team overall. “He’s just a really bright baseball guy. The more he’s around, the more we learn from him.”

For instance, back at the WAC tournament on Saturday against Utah Valley, it was Holm’s suggestion to move McLoughlin to first base, after the 6'5" righthander had pitched the eighth inning. The coaching staff wanted to save him for the next day's championship game, so they brought in freshman Austin Ragsdale to pitch the ninth, knowing if he got in trouble, McLoughlin could always return to the mound. A trick employed by the St. Louis Cardinals in the ‘80s that Holm brought to the dugout.

Perhaps more importantly, Holm (an All-Metro player at McClatchy 1996-97) has NCAA Division I regional playoff experience. He spent two years playing at Oral Roberts University (2000-2001) when the Golden Eagles were in the midst of a 16-consecutive year streak of playing post-season baseball.  

In Holm’s senior season, Oral Roberts entered the playoffs as a No. 4 seed, just like the Hornets this year in the San Luis Obispo Regional. “There’s no such thing as a great matchup for a 4-seed (which plays number one). All and all, being close to home, and the fact that some of our guys have been to this field before, it’s probably as good a matchup as we could hope for,” he notes.

For Holm, Christiansen and the entire team, 2014 has already been a dream season. Now, they just hope to continue it through this weekend. 

Says Long, "It’s going to be awesome, I can’t wait.” 



(Sacramento State Media Relations)

TUCSON, Ariz. - Sacramento State junior first baseman Rhys Hoskins has been named a 2014 Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I All-America Third Team selection as chosen by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, the organization announced Thursday.

Hoskins (Jesuit) is the Hornets first All-American since second baseman Harvey Hargrove earned the national honor in 1997. The program has had four Freshmen All-Americans since that time, including Hoskins in 2012, but had not received a non-freshman All-American honor in 17 years.

When he was named the WAC Player of the Year last week Hoskins became just the third Hornet to earn that prestigious honor.

During the regular season Hoskins led the WAC with nine home runs and a .563 slugging percentage while ranking second in runs batted in (45) and doubles (16). He hit .360 with six homers and 32 RBIs in WAC play, driving in more than one run per game in conference play.

He has 17 multi-hit and 14 multi-RBI games this year and at the WAC Tournament he hit .350 with three home runs and eight RBIs with a 2-homer game in the final. Hoskins ranks 15th in the NCAA with 12 home runs this season and followed Andrew Ayers in 2012 and Mike Eby in 1995 as the third Hornet WAC MVP honoree.

In just three years at Sacramento State he is tied for third in program history with 128 career RBIs and with 49 career doubles and is sixth with 25 career home runs and 199 career hits.

Hoskins was named to the 2014 Baseball America Division I Preseason All-America Third Team leading up to his junior season. 


NCAA 2014 Regional Preview

Underdog Sac State Enters San Luis Obispo Regional with Confidence

by Editor Rick Cabral
Twitter @BaseballSac

On Friday, Sacramento State baseball will make school history, as the Hornets travel to San Luis Obispo to play in their first-ever Division I NCAA Regional against No. 1 seed and host, Cal Poly. Game time is 6 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU (Number-two Arizona State and number-three Pepperdine face off at 1 p.m.).

Hornets head coach Reggie Christiansen was walking across campus this morning, when it hit him: “…all the different places I’ve moved around (Menlo College, Kansas, South Dakota State), the goal has always been to play in the NCAA playoffs. The way it happened here. Dog piling twice. And with the kids we have, it’s special for them.”

Last weekend, the Hornets pulled off a rarity in tournament competition when they lost the first game of the Western Athletic Conference tournament, and then fought and scraped to win four in a row to claim their first-ever WAC tourney crown. “(For us) to win four games in three days the way we did,” Christiansen said, “It was remarkable, really.”

With the crown comes an automatic bid to compete in the NCAA Division I tournament, something the Hornets have been shooting at for 25 years.  

Sacramento State pitcher Brennan Leitao tied a career win record
at John Smith Field this afternoon.

None of the Hornets surveyed— including Christiansen, who goes back to the days when batters swung real lumber—had ever experienced such a comeback, even in youth league tournaments. But some of the key veteran players, like junior pitcher Brennan Leitao remembers Fresno State’s remarkable comeback in the 2012 WAC tournament, when the Bulldogs lost the first game and stormed back to take two in the championship round from Sacramento State, which had come through the winner’s bracket.

Two years later, that sting helped forge resolve in players like Leitao, and seniors Will Soto (Elk Grove High) and David Del Grande, who recalled the bitterness of watching the Bulldogs dog pile in celebration after their WAC tourney victory. And it made them stronger.

Last week in Mesa, Arizona, “we knew it was possible and not out of reach,” Leitao said. “It just gave us more confidence that we were going to do it. We’d seen it done before.”

Christiansen called on Leitao, the team’s anchor with a 9-4 record, to start Sunday’s championship game—on two days rest—and the big righthander delivered. He allowed one run in five innings, while the offense scored six en route to a 10-3 victory and the Hornets WAC Tourney crown. In the process, Leitao set the Sacramento State career record with his 24th victory in three seasons.

Leitao, junior first baseman Rhys Hoskins (Jesuit) the WAC Player of the Year, reliever Alex Palsha and designated hitter Chris Lewis were selected to the All-Tournament team, and Lewis was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

In many ways, Lewis experienced the most enigmatic season of all Sac State players. Last year, the 6’1, 190 pound slugger was selected Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and the WAC Freshman of the Year. He entered this season with high expectations (along with preseason All-Americans Rhys Hoskins and closer Sutter McLoughlin). But his bat failed to emerged from the winter’s freeze and he struggled just to hit his weight. Around mid-April, Lewis was benched.

“There was too much going on in my head, trying to do 10 things at one time,” Lewis says in painful reflection. “Nothing was clicking. My attitude got in the way a lot, because I got frustrated. That really set me back a lot.

“But I learned a lot through it and it made me better for it.” The Serra High graduate told himself. “I’m not going to think about anything else except hitting the baseball.”   

David Del Grande hit a walk-off home run in the ninth inning to give
Sac State the 6-5 victory and the WAC title on the final day of the season.
File photo.

It paid off, as his bat came alive in mid-May and heated up in the WAC tournament, where he hit .500, knocked in seven runs and scored seven times to earn the MVP award—and more importantly the faith of his team, as they venture south to play the Mustangs, who were ranked No. 1 in the country for a brief time. 

Big West Conference Champion Cal Poly (45-10) is excited, too, as the Mustangs are hosting their first NCAA Regional at Baggett Stadium. Cal Poly captured its first Big West Conference baseball championship this year with a 19-5 league mark.  Winning six straight to close out the season, the Mustangs are making their third trip to the NCAA Regionals in six seasons.  They finished second in the Big West three times–2005, 2012 and 2013–before breaking through this spring. 

Four of the Big West finishers earned selections to the NCAA Regionals, including second place Long Beach State ( Gainesville ), UC Irvine (Corvallis) and Cal State Fullerton (Stillwater), an indication the Big West is still one of the top conferences in the country. 

On offense, the Hornets are led by Hoskins of Jesuit (.330 / 18 2b / 12 HR / 53 RBI), junior Kyle Moses (.324 / 12 SB) and sophomore Nathan Lukes of Center High (.357 / 23 RBI /10 SB), who had a 20-game hitting streak this year, tops in the WAC. 

The pitching staff is anchored by Leitao (9-4 / 2.21 ERA), freshman Sam Long of Del Campo (8-1 / 2.86 ERA) and a strong relief corp featuring set-up man, Alex Palsha (5-1/ 4 SV / 1.60 ERA) and closer Sutter McLoughlin of Rio Americano (4-2 / 9 SV / 1.85 ERA). The Hornets were fifth in the NCAA with 37 sacrifice flies. In team defense, their .974 fielding percentage tied for 34th in the nation. 

The Hornets staff ERA of 3.21 tied for 45th among NCAA Division I schools. 

Leitao, who grew up watching UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton from his home in Irvine, said he came to Sacramento State with the personal goal of helping to turn the program around and making it “the ‘CSU Fullerton of the north.’ We’re well on our way. It’s a huge accomplishment and I couldn’t be more excited to go down to Cal Poly this weekend.” 

Adds the laconic team slugger Hoskins, “We are the underdog and we’re embracing that role. We’ve got a lot of confidence going down there.” 

Lewis, the newly invigorated designated hitter, offers “I think it’s an exciting opportunity for us. We played really good against Texas A&M in a crazy environment and Oregon State. To be honest, I think we’re ready for it.” 

Since taking over the program from John Smith in 2011, Christiansen has posted numerous successes: his teams have won 30 or more games three straight years; they've won either outright or a share of the Westeran Athletic Conference title twice; they've beaten Top 25-ranked teams in Texas A&M and Oregon State this season; and Christiansen himself has been tabbed WAC Coach of the Year two times. Now he can add NCAA Tournament.

Clearly, he has the program headed in the right direction, and the real benefits may be long term, as an increasing number of top local talents are sticking around to play for the green and gold under "Coach Reggie."

When they arrived back home on the bus from Mesa, Christiansen left the players with these words: “I honestly think that you have changed the history of our program and what it’s going to look like 10 years from now with what you’ve done this year.” 

Despite what happens in San Luis Obispo—whether they win the regional or go down swinging—they’ll always have those words to live by. 

~ ~ ~


(Sac State Media Relations)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The WAC Champion Sacramento State baseball team (39-22) will make its first Div. I NCAA Tournament appearance just 300 miles south of Sacramento, as the Hornets are the No. 4 seed in San Luis Obispo regional. The team and its fans gathered at the Field House American Sports Bar on Monday morning to watch the tournament selection show.

Sacramento State will play the host and top seed in the region Cal Poly (45-10) at 6 p.m. Friday. The other two teams in the region, Arizona State (33-22) and Pepperdine (39-16), will open the regional on Friday at 1 p.m. The winner of the double-elimination regional will advance to the super regional and face the winner of the Fort Worth regional. Each game of the San Luis Obispo Regional will be video streamed live on ESPN3, available on, and all Hornet games will be broadcast live on

The Hornets qualified for the NCAA Tournament after winning four straight games over the weekend at the WAC Tournament, defeating Utah Valley 10-3 in the championship game on Sunday to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Sacramento State qualified for the national tournament for the first time in its Div. I history (since 1990) after playing four times in the Div. II NCAA Tournament, with the last appearance coming in 1989.

Coincidentally, the last NCAA Regional the Hornets played in during the 1989 season was also held in San Luis Obispo. The Hornets lost to San Francisco State and to Cal Poly in that tournament before the program moved to Div. I the following year

Cal Poly, which has been ranked as high as the No. 1 team in the country this season, is currently No. 4 in the nation in both the NCBWA poll and the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. Surprisingly the Mustangs, who won the Big West regular season title, are not one of the top eight national seeds for the tournament but still earned the right to host the regional for the first time in their Div. I history.

Arizona State is one of five Pac-12 teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament and is ranked No. 21 in the Collegiate Baseball poll. Pepperdine, the champion of the Western Athletic Conference (WCC), is No. 29 in the NCBWA poll

Sacramento State is 12-32 all-time against Cal Poly, having last faced the Mustangs in 2009 in a three-game sweep by Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, and Sacramento State has dropped the last seven games overall in the all-time series. The Hornets are 2-1 all-time against Pepperdine, winning the only series between the teams back in 1998, and has never before faced Arizona State.

~ ~ ~

In other College News...Cal State Fullerton sophomore Justin Garza spun a no-hitter against Cal State Northridge as the Titans won 3-0. It was just the fourth no-hitter in the school's 40-year history of playing at Division I.

All three Titans scores came off the bat of J.D. Davis (Elk Grove High), who hit a solo homer, then a 2-run shot with former Rocklin High star Austin Diemer on base. Davis is now riding a 12-game hitting streak and has five long-balls for the year. He is hitting a team-leading .338 for the season. Fullerton State, which finished fourth in the Big West, travels to Stillwater, Oklahoma for their 36th postseason appearance.



College News

Hornets Win WAC!

Take WAC Tourney with 10-3 Victory Over Utah Valley 
Complete Ultimate Comeback Journey with Four Straight Wins

Mesa, AZ -- Let the green-and-gold celebration begin!  

Sacramento State (39-22) baseball notched its first-ever berth in the NCAA Regionals bid by claiming the Western Athletic Conference tournament with a 10-3 win today over Utah Valley. 

It was the Hornets fourth straight victory after losing their first game on Thursday to Bakersfield.

Junior Rhys Hoskins—a preseason All-American—blasted two home runs and knocked in four ribbies, while sophomore Chris Lewis went 2-for-5 with two RBI, and senior Dave Del Grande hit a solo shot to power the Hornets offense. Table-setters Kyle Moses and Nathan Lukes (Center High) each had a pair of hits for Sacramento State.

Junior righthander Brennan Leitao (9-4), who pitched and lost the Hornets first tournament game on Thursday, gave Coach Reggie Christiansen five strong innings today, allowing one unearned run, four hits, no walks, while fanning three. Chad Perry (Marysville) relieved, and Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano) closed the game with two innings of shutout ball. 

Hornets fans had to wait as McLoughlin, with two outs in the ninth, walked the next batter, then got the final batter to fly out. 

Coach Reggie Christiansen foresaw this potential winning streak, when he Tweeted after the loss on Thursday "4 in a row. Why not us?"

On Friday, Sacramento State defeated New Mexico State 9-5 for its first tournament victory. Yesterday, the Hornets beat Bakersfield 3-1 behind Justin Dillon's scintillating pitching performance. Then last night Sacramento State trounced Utah Valley 10-3, and beat them again this afternoon by the same score.

Sophomore designated hitter Chris Lewis was named MVP of the tournament as he hit .500 with seven RBIs and five runs scored over the five Hornet games. Junior first baseman Rhys Hoskins, junior starter Brennan Leitao, and junior reliever Alex Palsha were also named to the all-tournament team.

With the WAC tournament in hand, the Hornets now will move on for the first time in the program’s Division I history (since 1990) to the NCAA Regional Playoffs, which begins Friday at a location to be determined.



College Update

Hornets Win Two Games at WAC Tourney--Advance to Tomorrow's Championship vs. Utah Valley

by Editor Rick Cabral

Twitter @BaseballSac

Sac State won a mixed-double header today, beating Bakersfield 3-1 in the afternoon, and Utah Valley in the nightcap 10-3.

In the first game, Will Soto (Elk Grove High) and Scotty Burcham knocked in solo runs and Rhys Hoskins had an eighth inning home run. RHP Justin Dillon (El Dorado High) went seven innings, allowing one earned run, six hits, one walk while striking out three for his fourth win. Alex Palsha tossed two shutout innings for his fourth save.

In the 7 p.m. game against Utah Valley, the Hornets stormed out to a three-run lead in the first inning. They traded runs with Utah in three frames, then opened the game with a four-run eighth inning. Big hitters were sophomore Chris Lewis, who has awoken from his season-long slumber, going 3-for-4 with three RBI, while senior Soto went 3-for-5 with two RBI. Burcham and Dave Del Grande also knocked in a pair of runs. Freshman Chad Perry (Marysville High) pitched three innings of relief for his third win of the season.  

“It was just a great effort by our guys,” head coach Reggie Christiansen said in post-game comments. “We’re playing well and there’s a lot of momentum on our side right now so we just need to come out ready to play tomorrow. We’ve been in this situation before two years ago against Fresno State so we know what it’s like, and I think we’ll build upon that experience and these guys will be ready to go.”

The Hornets (38-22) will play at noon tomorrow against Utah Valley in the WAC Tourney Championship game. Sunday’s game marks just the third time in Div. I program history that Sacramento State will play for a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The winner advances to the NCAA Baseball Regional Playoffs.

Coach Reggie Christiansen foresaw this potential winning streak, when he Tweeted after the loss on Thursday "4 in a row. Why not us?"

WAC Tourney--Game 2: Hornets 9-5 Over New Mexico State

MESA, Ariz. – Sacramento State jumped to a 6-0 lead in the second inning and withstood a rally by New Mexico State to score a 9-5 victory in a WAC Tournament elimination game on Friday.

Freshman pitcher Sam Long (Del Campo) went 5.2 innings allowing all five runs to win his eighth game of the season and reliever Alex Palsha finished to earn his third save of the season.

Rhys Hoskins (Jesuit) went 2-for-4 with a double to drive in three runs for the Hornets.

The Hornets (36-22) will play at 3 p.m. on Saturday against the loser of the Utah Valley-Bakersfield game this evening. With a win the Hornets would then play again at 7 p.m. tomorrow against the winner of tonight's Utah Valley-Bakersfield matchup.

WAC Tourney--Game 1: Hornets

Bakersfield senior right handed pitcher Taylor Aikenhead allowed just one run on seven hits over nine innings and the Roadrunners found enough offense against Hornet ace  Brennan Leitao for a 4-1 win on Thursday night at the WAC Tournament in Mesa, Ariz.

With the loss Sacramento State (35-22) moves into the loser's bracket and will play in an elimination game on Friday at 3 p.m., facing the winner of the 11 a.m. elimination game between Texas-Pan American and New Mexico State. Bakersfield (26-31) will face Utah Valley for a berth in a championship game tomorrow night at 7 p.m.

Hornets Open WAC Tournament Tonight vs. Bakersfield

The Hornets are the top seed in the six-team, double elimination Western Athletic Conference (WAC) tournament being played at the new Cubs Park in Mesa, Ariz.

The tournament began Wednesday, but the Hornets earned a bye and open play at 7 p.m. tonight against Bakersfield, a team they beat two out of three games this season.

With their walk-off victory over North Dakota the Hornets clinched their first outright regular season WAC title in program history and finished two games ahead of Grand Canyon. The Hornets lead the WAC in batting average (.286), slugging percentage (.387), hits (543), home runs (29), ERA (3.22), saves (11), and opposing batting average (.242).

With a win on May 3 the Hornets clinched the third consecutive 30-win season for the program, a feat not accomplished since nine straight 30-win seasons from 1985-1993. Sacramento State had an 11-4 overall record against the five other teams that qualified for the WAC Tournament and won four of the five series against those teams. 





College Notes 

On Friday, J.D. Davis (Elk Grove High) set a milestone by hitting his 100th career run batted in for Cal State Fullerton in the Titans win over UC Irvine. In that game, the slugger had a double and atriple. In Saturday's game, Davis had a double and the save (5th), while fellow Herd teammate Jared Deacon scored the winning run in the 2-1 victory. On Sunday, Davis earned his  sixth save of the season. The 2011 All-Capitol Team member (and Player of the Year) is hitting a team-leading .320 and is second in RBI (31) and Slugging (.468) for the Titans. 

At 28-22, Fullerton State needs a strong weekend against Cal State Northridge to garner support for a possible at-large bid in the NCAA playoffs (All three games Thu-Sat will be broadcast on ESPN 3). The Titans are in fourth place (11-10) in the Big West, which was clinched last weekend by Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Freshman Ryan Rosa of Granite Bay is on the Mustangs roster. 

Davis' former RED DOGZ travel teammate Nick Blaser is leading Cal State Northridge in hitting with a .318 average. He also has nine doubles and 23 runs batted in. Blaser, the former Big-8 Co-Player of the Year in 2013 also was an All-Capitol Team selection in 2011. 

~ ~ ~ 

Be sure to check out the fine piece in the Saramento Bee about the dearth of African American players in the college ranks by long-time sportswriter Bill Paterson. 



Hornets Honored By WAC Awards and Teams 

The Hornets claimed many of the top honors as the Western Athletic Conference announced its 2014 all-WAC baseball teams and postseason awards this morning. 

Sacramento State junior infielder Rhys Hoskins was named the Player of the Year. The Freshman of the Year award went to Sacramento State pitcher Sam Long. And WAC Coach of the Year went to Sacramento State’s Reggie Christiansen 

Hoskins, Nathan Lukes (Center High) and Brennan Leitao were named First Team All-WAC.  

Long, David Del Grande, Kyle Moses, Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano) were named to the Second Team.  

Hoskins, a junior from Sacramento, Calif. (Jesuit), batted .360 in conference play and led the WAC with 32 RBI and six home runs during league play. He also earned First Team all-WAC honors. Hoskins was the 2012 WAC Freshman of the Year. For the season, Hoskins batted .328 with 16 doubles, nine home runs and 45 runs batted in.  

Long (Del Campo) compiled a perfect 5-0 record during conference play, registering a 2.24 ERA with two complete games and two shutouts. Overall, Long posted 7-1 seasonal mark with a 2.31 ERA with 45 strikeouts against 20 walks. After starting the season as a reliever, he quickly worked his way into the  weekend rotation, eventually as the Saturday starter.  

Leitao, the team’s workhorse and Friday starter, went 8-3 this season with a 2.16 ERA, 68 Strikeouts and 20 walks in 98 innings. After starting the season 0-3, he was 7-0, all in conference.  

Lukes hit a team-high .371 with a .471 on-base percentage. As the team’s usual leadoff hitter, he posted a 20-game hitting streak and reached base in 33 consecutive games during the season.  

For Christiansen, the award marks the second time (2012) he was honored as the WAC Coach of the Year. In his fourth year at the helm, the team posted a 35-21 record and 21-6 in conference. This marked the third straight year the Hornets won 30 or more games under Christiansen, who served two years as assistant head coach under John Smith prior to taking the reins in 2011. 



(Sac State Media Relations)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In his final home game after five seasons with the Hornets, senior center fielder David Del Grande launched a lead-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Sacramento State a 6-5 win over North Dakota and clinch the first outright regular season WAC title for the team in program history.

(Click here to view Dave Soto's video highlight of the Del Grande Home Run)

“I was just trying to help my team win and off the bat I wasn’t sure if it was going and once it went over I couldn’t believe it happened; its something you dream of,” Del Grande said. “When I saw it go out I was just jumping and I saw my teammates running out there and I can’t even put into words what it was like. I’ve just been trying to get back on pace, and today I felt good in my last couple of at bats and it’s a good way to enter the tournament.”

Sacramento State (35-21, 21-6 WAC) had already clinched the top seed for the WAC Tournament but with the win on Saturday secured the regular season title. It’s the second regular season WAC title for the team in the last three years but the first in program history that the team has one outright (not tied for the championship).

 “That’s a special way to end your career as a senior; its one of the most unbelievable moments I’ve ever been a part of to end a game like that and win a conference championship,” head coach Reggie Chrisitansen said. “It was a great weekend for us because we had to play for something. You want to play that kind of baseball late and I think it’s a great test for us and we’re looking forward to going to the tournament.” 

As the top seed the Hornets receive a bye on the first day of the WAC Tournament and will play their first game in Mesa on Thursday at 7 p.m. against the lowest-seeded winner from the two games on Wednesday. Sacramento State will face either the No. 4, 5, or 6 seed in that game. Seeding will not be finalized until the rest of the WAC teams conclude conference play today and tomorrow. 


David Del Grande hit a walk-off home run in the ninth inning to give
Sac State the 6-5 victory and the WAC title on the final day of the season.
File photo.



(Sac State Media Relations)

Sacramento State junior right handed pitcher Brennan Leitao allowed just one run on four hits over eight innings of work and got plenty of offensive support to record his 23rd career win to tie the program record and give the Hornets an 8-2 win over North Dakota on Friday.

Leitao improved to 8-3 on the season while tying his career high with nine strikeouts. His 23rd career win tied the program record set by Erik Bennett from 1987-89. Leitao is now 7-0 this season in WAC games with a 1.43 ERA and a 52-9 strikeout to walk ratio. 


Sacramento State pitcher Brennan Leitao tied a career win record
at John Smith Field this afternoon.

“Any time you get a chance to do something special like that it’s exciting and hopefully we can get down there to Mesa (for the WAC Tournament) and get another one,” Leitao said. “It gives me a ton of confidence and obviously with the offense putting up runs like that you can dominate the strike zone and try to get a lot of swings. This game’s over and now we have a chance tomorrow to put it away, and next week is huge for us for the program and for the school.”

Sacramento State (34-21, 20-6 WAC) moved two games ahead of Grand Canyon with the win and can clinch the regular season WAC title if the Antelopes lose tonight against Utah Valley. Even if Grand Canyon wins tonight the Hornets will still have the opportunity to win the league with a victory tomorrow. Sacramento State has already secured the No. 1 seed for the WAC Tournament next week while Friday’s loss eliminated North Dakota (10-28, 8-15 WAC) from postseason contention.

UND starter Andrew Thome matched Leitao through the first three innings, which were scoreless and were completed in just half an hour. Leitao allowed back-to-back singles to open the top of the fourth inning but worked out of the jam, and in the bottom of the fourth senior Will Soto doubled home senior David Del Grande for the first run of the game.

Sophomore Nathan Lukes had an RBI single in the fifth inning to double the Hornet lead, and in the sixth the home team pulled away. The squad sent eight men to the plate in the inning and plated four runs on five hits, including a 2-run double from Lukes. 


Nathan Lukes knocked in two runs with this double in the sixth inning.
The Hornets defeated North Dakota this afternoon 8-2
and are now one game away from clinching the WAC title.




by Editor Rick Cabral

Sacramento State jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but UC Davis chipped away and took the contest 6-3 in a non-conference Causeway Classic at Raley Field. Although the Aggies managed just six hits, they made them count.

In the second inning, the Aggies scored twice when Nick Lynch knocked in Adam Young on a fielder's choice and Spencer Brann followed with a home run over the right field wall to cut the Hornets' lead to 3-2.

UC Davis added three runs in the fourth inning when Lynch hit a sacrifice fly and Brann knocked an opposite field double to score Young. Kevin Barner, who had walked earlier in the inning, scooted home on a passed ball by Hornets' catcher Gunnar Pollman to make it 5-3 Aggies.

UC Davis tacked on one more run in the seventh inning.

Sacramento State's three runs in the first inning were typical Hornets baseball. Leadoff hitter Nathan Lukes (Center High) singled up the middle off UC Davis starter Max Cordy (McClatchy). Kyle Moses knocked a safety through the right side. Rhys Hoskins (Jesuit) walked to load the bases.

Cleanup hitter David Del Grande hit a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Lukes. Senior Seth Batty the left fielder overthrew third base, and Moses hustled all the way from second to score an unearned run off Cordy. Senior Will Soto (Elk Grove High) then doubled down the left field line, scoring Hoskins to give the Hornets a 3-0 lead.

Sac State managed just three more hits the rest of the evening, as the UC Davis bullpen shut down the Hornets offense. Orlando Razo, who relieved Cordy in the third inning, tossed 5.2 innings, allowing two hits and one walk, while fanning five Hornets' hitters.

Lynch and Brann each had a pair of RBI, while Young and Brann both went 2-for-4 to lead the Aggies offense. Lukes, who went 2-for-3, had the only multiple-hit game for the Hornets. Hunter Greenwood, who relieved Ty Nichols in the second inning, took the loss. His record is now 1-5. Nichols, sidelined with an injury for 28 games, pitched for the first time since March 25.

The Hornets, who beat UC Davis 15-7 on April 15 in Davis, drops to 32-21, while the Aggies improve to 21-27. With the win tonight, UC Davis broke an eight-game losing streak to their rivals.

Sac State will host North Dakota this weekend in the final Western Athletic Conferrence series. They hold a one-game lead over Grand Canyon, which owns the tie-breaker after taking two-of-three from the Hornets earlier in the season.

Grand Canyon, which is still transitioning to Division I, is ineligible for post-season play, so the Hornets are assured of earning the number-one seed in the WAC tournament.



College Game Scores -- Double Downer for Locals

Sierra Season Ends in 5-4 Super Regionals Loss to College of the Sequoias

The Sequoias Giants rebounded in the rubber match on Sunday to defeat Sierra 5-4 in the third game of the Super Regionals.

Losing 5-3 in the ninth, Sierra quickly got the first two runners on base and advanced on a sacrifice. The first runner scored on a fielder's choice, leaving the tying run on third base. Dalton Blaser, the Co-MVP of the Big-8 Conference this season, hit into a 6-4 Fielder's Choice to end the game and the Wolverines' (24-17) season.

For the second consecutive season, Sierra's season ended with a loss at home in the Super Regionals.

The Giants advance to the Elite Eight next weekend in Santa Barbara.

~  ~  ~

Hornets Shut Out 2-0 For Second Straight Day

Sacramento State was shut out by the same 2-0 score for the second consecutive game to Texas-Pan American. The Hornets still retain a one-game lead in the Western Athletic Conference with a three-game series remaining at home against North Dakota next weekend.
They play their final home game at Raley Field on Tuesday against UC Davis.


Sierra Staves Off Elimination with "Golden" 6-4 Win Over Sequoias

Starting pitcher Devon Golden battled the blustery conditions and an undependable fastball against College of the Sequoias today. But the righthander with the Pedro Martinez whip-like motion relied on the spiritual lift he felt from his recently departed grandfather and a bevy of off-speed pitches including his changeup.

In Game Two of the Super Regionals in Rocklin, the Sierra Wolverines—visitors for this second game—mounted a solid offensive attack with 15 hits, including a home run by Brett Sundberg, defeating the Giants in an elimination game on their home diamond this afternoon.

Golden lived up to his name through seven innings, limiting Sequoias to six hits and one earned run.

Wolves coach Rob Willson credited Golden (7-2), who has won seven consecutive games at home. “He was really good; phenomenal. He didn’t have his fastball for about five innings, so he threw about 60-70 percent off-speed. He’s got a really good changeup.”

With a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning Sierra shortstop Brett Sundberg hit a solo shot over the centerfield fence, carried by Northwest winds which gusted to 30 miles per hour this afternoon.

Sierra scored twice more in the sixth inning on an infield error and a single by Ethan Liddle to make it 4-0.

Sequoias got on the board with a solo run in their half, but in the following inning Sierra padded its lead with two more runs on RBI-singles by Sundberg and designated hitter Kyle Dixon to make it 6-1.

In the bottom of the eighth, Willson relieved Golden with freshman Michael Prolette. He promptly allowed a leadoff single fo Ross Feeley and a double by Rudy Navarro that carried to the right field wall, putting runners at third and second base. Up stepped catcher Dillon Kelley, who was already 2-for-2 on the day.

Prolette’s first pitch glanced off the catcher’s glove and struck home plate umpire Bryan Rose. The ball hit him in the throat area, knocking the umpire to his knees. For a lengthy period he didn’t move, as the both head coaches, the two base umpires and the Sierra training staff tried to assist Rose. Finally, he got up, and resumed his position behind the plate. Two pitches later, Kelley knocked the ball over the left field wall for a three-run homer to cut Sierra’s lead to 6-4.

Willson brought in pitcher Jacob Gomez. During the pitcher’s warm-ups, Rose disappeared in the Sierra dugout, and after several minutes it was clear the umpire could not continue. Sacramento Bee reporter Joe Davison observed Rose holding his head in his hands. He learned the umpire displayed signs of concussion after the ball struck him in the clavicle then hit him hard on the chin.

After a 15 minute delay, one of the base umpires donned the gear and assumed the home plate position and the game continued.

Gomez, the reliever, got the next two hitters out, gave up a double to leftfielder Blake Edmonson, then fanned Gallegos to end the inning. He pitched a perfect ninth to earn his third save, and send Sierra to the rubber match game tomorrow at noon.

As one of the few sophomores on the Wolverines, Golden admitted he wanted the ball today and more importantly, the win. “Getting into the Super Regionals last year and having that taste of being so close to the Final Four, that’s what you want, that’s what we all play for.”

He said he draws inspiration each time he goes to the mound from his grandmother Judy Lovell, who attends each of his home games, despite losing her husband Gaylord on March 1. Golden says although his grandfather was never well enough to watch him pitch at Sierra, “The excitement of coming home and telling him exactly how I was doing was feeding me throughout the season. And now it’s even better, ‘cause he’s got the best seat in the stands to watch me throw.”

Tomorrow, Sierra will send freshman Tyler Milani to the mound. Despite a 5-7 record, Coach Willson is excited about having the Woodcreek High product on the hill tomorrow. Not only does he sport a 3.17 earned run average, but during the pennant stretch one April night before an important game against Santa Rosa, Milani texted Willson, “’ I want the ball in the big game.’ I love that about him,” the coach said proudly. 

Sierra starter Tyler Milani will take the ball tomorrow in Game 3
of the Super Regionals against College of the Sequoias.

Sundberg, today's offensive hero for the Wolverines, said “We play really well with our back against the wall. So, (tomorrow) we keep going, right?”

Sierra needs one more win tomorrow against Sequoias to advance to the Elite Eight next weekend in Santa Barbara. Last time, they advanced to the big dance in 2008, they won it all.

They’re hoping to do it again

(Note: Game time is 12 noon at Sierra College.)



EDINBURG, Texas – In a weather-induced double-header, Hornet freshman Sam Long pitched seven shutout innings in the resumption of Friday night’s contest to lead the Hornets to a 3-1 win before UTPA junior Alex English tossed a four-hit shutout in Saturday’s scheduled game as the Broncs won 2-0 and the squads split the two contests.

In a pair of pitching duels the teams combined to score just two earned runs over the two games. Texas-Pan American (23-28, 13-10 WAC) hitters were 4-for-51 (.078) with 10 strikeouts and just four walks over the two games but managed to score three runs. Sacramento State (32-19, 18-5 WAC) tallied nine hits in the first game but only four in the nightcap while getting shut out for just the third time this season.

College News

Sequoias Downs Sierra 4-2 in Game One of Super Regionals

Dylan Lee threw seven superlative innings in holding down the Sierra offense as College of the Sequoias (30-9) won 4-2 in Game One of the Super Regionals in Rocklin yesterday.

Lee improved to a state-best 13-0 mark for starting pitchers, allowing two runs on nine hits. Meanwhile reliever Blake Edmonson pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his state-leading 14th save.

Kyle Lewis and Dustin Vaught each had a pair of hits, including a double and an RBI for the Wolverines (23-16), which need to win two games to move on to the state finals. Game Two is slated for 1 p.m. today at Sierra.

Sacramento State's game yesterday against Texas Pan American was suspended in the third inning due to rain, with the Hornets losing 1-0. The teams are scheduled to play a double header today starting at 3 p.m.

College Notes

Congrats to Sacramento State closer Suttern McLoughlin who tied the school record for career saves yesterday when he earned his 26th save in less than two seasons. McLoughlin (Rio Americano) tossed three shutout innings to earn his 9th save of the season, tying Mike Frame (1987-1989).

In addition, starting pitcher Brennan Leitao was named Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week for his eight shutout innings against Chicago State on Friday, where he allowed three hits and one walk to post his seventh win of the season. For the season he is 7-3 with a 2.33 ERA with just 21 earned runs allowed in 81 innings.

May 3, 2014

Day Two_Community College Regional Playoffs

Each of the three local teams in the regional played extra inning games.

Sierra needed just one win today and got it in the first game against Modesto, winning 5-3 in 11 innings. Dalton Blaser, the Co-MVP of the Big-8, knocked in three of Sierra's runs without a base hit, a rarity.

The Wolverines (#4) will host next weekend's Super Regionals against College of the Sequoias (#5) in a best of three, with the first game slated for Friday at 2 p.m.

Marin defeated Cosumnes River 3-2, knocking the Hawks from the playoffs.

Sacramento City, losers yesterday, beat Cabrillo 6-5 in 13 innings in the morning game. The Panthers dropped the rubber match 4-2 and were eliminated for this year.

~ ~ ~

Hornets 11, Chicago State 6 -- Claim 30th Win of the Season

Sacramento State defeated Chicago State 11-6 behind the big bats of Clay Cederquist and Brandon Hunley who each had four hits and a home run for the Hornets. Cederquist knocked in four runs, while the freshman Hunley drove home three at John Smith Field.

In the victory, the Hornets earned their 30th win of the season--giving them three straight years of 30 or more under Reggie Christiansen, something Sacramento State hasn't accomplished since 1993.



Community College Regional Playoffs

Sierra 4, Modesto 2

Sierra scored twice in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie and took Game One from Modesto 4-2 in the regional playoffs in Rocklin.

Dustin Vaught went 2-for-4 with two RBI to lead the Wolverines offense. Wyatt D'Allesio won in relief and improves to 6-0. Kea Vierra earned his sixth save.

Sierra meets Modesto tomorrow at 11 a.m. needing one win to advance to the Super Regionals next weekend.

In other community college action...

Cabrillo 6, Sacramento 1

Cabrillo College added three runs in the eighth inning to blow open a 3-1 lead and take Game One against Sacramento 6-1 in Aptos. 

Marin 11, Cosumnes River 2

Marin thumped Cosumnes River 11-2, limiting the Hawks to just four hits while winning the first game in the regional playoff matchup.

Leitao Hurls Sac State to 6-0 Win Against Chicago State

Brennan Leitao threw eight shutout innings and the Hornets offense provided a six-pack punch as Sacramento State took Game One 6-0 against Chicago State at John Smith Field this afternoon.

Leitao allowed just three hits, one walk and struck out six in one of his finest performances of the season. He improves to a staff-leading 7-3 record (6-0 in the WAC) while lowering his earned run average to 2.33.

Sutter McLoughlin pitched a perfect ninth inning with one strikeout.

Kyle Moses went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs batted in to lead the Hornets offense. Sophomore catcher Dane Fujinaka also had a pair of RBI. Clay Cedarquist went 2-for-3 and Dave Del Grande knocked in the first Hornets run with a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the first inning.

Leitao, a junior from Irvine, started the season with a hard-luck 1-3 record, but charged back to win his last six decisions.

The Hornets host Chicago State tomorrow at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Sacramento State (29-18) has a two-game lead in the Western Athletic Conference. 


Sierra's Dalton Blaser Chosen Big-8 Co-MVP 


Sierra sophomore Dalton Blaser was tabbed
Co-MVP of the Big-8 Conference.

Sophomore Dalton Blaser of Sierra College has been tabbed Co-Most Valuable Player, and three Sacramento City College players were named First Team All-Conference, the Big 8 Conference announced this week.

Blaser’s .373 batting average was second highest in the Big-8, while his 32 runs batted in led the conference. Last year, Dalton was named 2nd Team All-Conference outfielder, while his brother Nick was chosen Co-MVP for Sierra.   

Other local 2014 All-Conference Selections include: 

First Team 

Pitcher, Kyle Von Ruden, So., Cosumnes River: Went 8-3 with a 1.51 ERA, 49Ks and 25 walks. 

Pitcher, Ben Ritchey, Fr., Sacramento City: Was 5-1 with a 1.71 ERA with two complete games. 

Relief Pitcher,  Wyatt D’Alessio  , Fr., Sierra College: Went 5-0 with a 0.76 ERA. 

Infielder, Jerrod Bravo, Sacramento City: Was second in conference with a .359 average and third with 28 RBI. Had .485 on-base percentage and 12 stolen bases. 

Outfielder, Jared James, Sacramento City: Batted .358 with 10 doubles, 4 triples, 3 home runs and a .555 slugging percentage. Also stole 12 bases. 

Designated Hitter, Cody Morris, So., Cosumnes River: Batted .352 with a .474 on-base percentage.

Second Team

Pitcher, Devon Golden, So., Sierra
Pitcher, Zach Smart, Fr., Sacramento City
Pitcher, Matt Gunter, Fr., American River
Infielder, Hunter Carolan, So., Cosumnes River
Infielder, Bret Sundberg, Fr., Sierra
Infielder, Drake Atlee, Fr., Cosumnes River
Infielder, Kyle Lewis, Fr., Sierra
Utility, Josh Pigg, So., Cosumnes River

Other college news...

Sacramento City announced that Jerrod Bravo (Ponderosa) has committed to Cal State Fullerton, while teammate Jared James (McClatchy) has agreed to play for the Dirtbags of Long Beach State next season.

Speaking of Nick Blaser (Roseville/Sierra)...he leads Cal State Northridge   regulars with a .355 average, plus eight doubles and 23 RBI. UC Davis comes to town this weekend for a three-game series.

Speaking of the Aggies, Max Cordy last week hurled seven innings allowing one run on one hit to St. Mary's while fanning 11. It was a career high for the McClatchy grad and the most by an Aggies pitcher since Dane Quist struck out 12 two years ago. Although the sophomore righthander didn't factor in the decision, the 3-1 win over the Gales snapped a four-game UC Davis losing streak. Earlier this year, Cordy (1-3) struck out 10 hitters in one game.

Both Blaser and Cordy were original All-Capitol Teamers in 2011.



Hornets Top Menlo College 7-1 in Non-Conference Matchup

Clay Cedarquist, Rhys Hoskins and Brandon Hunley each knocked in a pair of runs as Sacramento State defeated Menlo College this afternoon 7-1 in a non-conference matchup at The John.

Starter Hunter Greenwood (1-4) allowed just one earned run in five innings to post his first win of the season. Greenwood, a senior from Franklin High in Elk Grove, allowed four hits and two walks in an efficient outing. 


Senior starter Hunter Greenwood won his first game of the season in the Hornets 7-1 victory over Menlo College today.

Nathan Lukes (Center High) went 3-for-5 to hike his team leading batting average to .357. Hoskins (Jesuit), who also doubled, walked three times and scored twice today, is close behind Lukes with a .354 average.

Sacramento State (28-17) improved to 9-2 in mid-week games. They lost last Tuesday to Oregon State, which is now ranked second in the nation by Baseball America. The Hornets took a 7-6 thriller from the Beavers the preceding Monday night game at Raley Field.

The Menlo College game was a late substitution for a rainout with Air Force. Menlo College head coach Jake McKinley was on the staff at Sacramento State through last season. In 2002, Reggie Christiansen took over the reins of Menlo College, his alma mater, where he also was an assistant in the late 1990s.  


Clay Cedarquist drove in two runs with a single
in the Hornets three-run first inning this afternoon.

 College Notes

Oregon State jumped four spots to No. 2 in Baseball America's collegiate rankings, just behind Virginia which retained the top spot. The Beavers last week went 4-1 to improve to 31-8. OSU's only loss last week: 7-6 to Sacramento State at Raley Field.

That should bolster the Hornets RPI and help legitimize the program that much more across the nation.

The Hornets host Menlo College today, which is led by former Sac State coach Jake McKinley. Game time is 1 p.m. Sac State travels to Reno to play Nevada under the lights tomorrow, then return home for a three-game series this weekend against new-WAC member Chicago State.

College News

Sierra Duo Commit to Cal State Fullerton

Dustin Vaught and Dalton Blaser, key players on Sierra College's team the past two years, have signed national letters of intent to play for Cal State Fullerton, it was announced yesterday.

First baseman Blaser (Roseville) is batting .373 with 32 runs batted in, good for second and first respectively in the Big-8 Conference. Middle infielder Vaught (Bella Vista) is hitting .311 (14th in the Big-8) with 10 stolen bases.

The duo were keys to Sierra's Super Regional team in 2013, and star this year for the Wolves which are 21-15 and ranked No. 9 among Northern California Community Colleges. Sierra is the No. 4 seed and will host Modesto in the NorCal Playoffs beginning this weekend.

Sierra, Cosumnes River and Sacramento City College tied for third place in the Big-8 Conference with 12-9 conference records. CSR will play Marin College while Sac City travels to Aptos to take on Cabrillo College.


College News


(Sac State Media Relations)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Sacramento State redshirt freshman Justin Dillon carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning and allowed no runs on just one hit over eight innings to lead Sacramento State to a 7-3 win in the rubber game of a three-game series at Bakersfield.

The only hit allowed by Dillon was an infield single in fthe bottom of the eighth inning. In his longest outing as a Hornet, Dillon had three strikeouts and three walks while throwing a career-high 93 pitches to earn his second collegiate win.

The Sacramento State (27-17, 14-4 WAC) offense gave Dillon an early lead, scoring three runs on three hits and one error against Bakersfield (17-25, 9-9 WAC) in the first inning.

The Hornets play two mid-week games this week starting with Menlo College on Tuesday at Sac State, followed by a game at Nevada on Wednesday.

Sacramento State hosts Chicago State this weekend for a three-game series. The Hornets remain in first place and retain a two-game lead over Grand Canyon. The Antelopes, however, own the tie breaker by having won the series against Sacramento State earlier this season.




(Sac State Media Relation)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Trailing 1-0 in the ninth inning Sacramento State rallied to plate a run and force extra innings, but Bakersfield junior catcher Russ Hough singled home the winning run in the 11th inning to give the Roadrunners a 2-1 victory.

The Hornets were limited to two hits through the first eight innings of the game by Bakersfield right hander James Barragan before tying the score in the ninth. Sacramento State (26-17, 13-4 WAC) played its sixth extra-inning game of the year, dropping to 3-3, as Bakersfield (17-24, 9-8 WAC) evened the weekend series.


(Sac State Media Relations)


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Sacramento State turned a late 3-3 tie into a 10-3 blowout win with a seven-run eighth inning, defeating Bakersfield in the first of three games in the weekend WAC series. The Hornets improved to 13-3 in the WAC and 26-16 overall while dropping the Roadrunners to 16-24 and 8-8 in conference play.

The seven-run eighth inning began with a quick out before a double, a single, and a strikeout in which the batter reached on a wild pitch. The Hornets followed with five straight singles and an RBI groundout, sending 11 men to the plate in the inning to blow the game open.

Five Sacramento State players had multi-hit games, led by a 3-for-4 line and three RBIs from senior Will Soto. Every Hornet starter had a hit in the game and eight of the nine scored at least one run. Junior Brennan Leitao improved to 6-3 overall and 5-0 in the WAC allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits, no walks, and five strikeouts over seven innings.


Hornets Palsha Is Top Reliever



Junior Alex Palsha ranks second in the NCAA allowing just 4.35 hits per nine innings. He also leads the WAC and is tied for 10th in the NCAA with 25 appearances and has a WAC-best 1.34 ERA this season, pitching in a variety of mid to late-game situations and being mostly unhittable. He is 4-0 and has two saves over 40.1 innings of relief, allowing just 19 hits and six earned runs this season with a .144 opponent batting average. The team has not played more than two consecutive contests without Palsha taking the mound and he has thrown as many as three innings on two occasions. In WAC play he has allowed just two earned runs and five hits in 16.1 innings, holding hitters to a .093 average.

Palsha, a transfer from College of San Mateo,  was tabbed Second Team all-Golden Gate Conference in 2013. He made 11 starts and struck out 46 with a 4.19 ERA at CSM.


Final Notes--Oregon State Locals

In reviewing the Career Records at Oregon State, two locals remain high on the lists.

Pitcher Ken Forsch, who prepped at Johnson High, played at Sacramento City, and pitched for the Beavers from 1967-1968 is 4th on the Earned Run Average list with a 2.12 ERA. Starter sophomore Andrew Moore is currently in third place with a 2.08 ERA, but he'll no doubt move up or down with more innings as he continues his career.

First baseman Danny Hayes (Jesuit High) played from 2010-2013 and amassed 45 doubles, good for second on the list. Junior Dylan Davis is one behind with 44, and will make a run at the career record of 49. Hayes, drafted in the 13th Round last year by the Chicago White Sox, is playing in the South Atlantic League on the Kannapolis Intimidators.

Junior Michael Conforto, with four hits in Monday's game at Raley Field, now totals 208 hits for his career, just 30 shy of the school record held by Darwin Barney, who played on three College World Series teams in 2005-2007--the latter two of which claimed the CWS crown. Conforto now has 164 runs batted in for his three-year career, just nine shy of the school record.

Davis and Conforto played on the same high school team in Redmond, Washington.

Remember When

Andrew Tomsky, the Hornets media relations guy, confirmed yesterday that Sac State’s win over Oregon State at Raley Field on Monday was the biggest win in the program’s Division I history as the Beavers came in ranked #4 by USA/Coaches Poll and #5 by Baseball America (which is our standard).

That win reminded us of a game at Hornet Field against Stanford--nearly 10 years ago to the day, April 24, 2004. The Cardinal, ranked in the Top 10 at the time with a 31-5 record, had been to the College World Series five consecutive seasons. It was loaded with future pros including Sam Fuld, John Mayberry, Jr., Danny Putnam and Jed Lowrie, the Oakland A’s current shortstop. Hornets’ starting pitcher Ethan Katz went the distance and the crowd of 504 was on its feet as he closed out a 2-1 masterpiece.

Monday’s win over the Beavers—who have at least two top 2014 draft picks in Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis—now takes top shelf. 


Beavers Paddle Hornets 8-1 on “Green Army Day” 

by Editor Rick Cabral

Despite this being “Green Army Day” at Hornet Field this afternoon, the stands were awash in orange and black. And, no, the Giants weren’t in town. 

But the Oregon State Beavers (28-8) were and their fans followed.  

Along with a flock of scouts obviously there to watch the Beavers All-American Michael Conforto, who last night went 4-for-4 with a two-run blast over the right field wall at Raley Field in the 7-6 loss to the Hornets. The junior left fielder is considered by many to be the best collegiate bat in the 2014 draft.

This time the nation’s number-five ranked collegiate team took care of business beating Sacramento State (25-16) 8-1 behind the pitching and hitting of junior Dylan Davis.

In the top of the first inning Conforto walked, bringing up Davis, the Beavers’ cleanup hitter. Davis blasted southpaw Sam Long’s offering against the parking structure to give himself a 2-0 lead.

Two innings later with pitcher Dallas Chadwick on in relief of Long, Davis knocked in two more runs with a single to put Oregon State ahead 4-0.  



Oregon State's Dylan Davis did it with his bat and arm today. The junior belted a 2-run homer in the first inning, and pitched four innings of one-hit ball against the Hornets at John Smith Field.

In just his second outing of the year, Davis—normally the team’s right fielder—pitched 4.1 innings, allowing just one hit and no runs. But the 6-foot right-hander walked four, hit two batters, and struck out three while topping out at 95 mph on the radar gun. 

Oregon State left-hander Zach Reser came on in relief of Davis in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and Hornets’ Rhys Hoskins (Jesuit) at the plate. Hoskins struck out looking and David Del Grande tapped out to end the inning. Reser worked four-plus innings for the win. 

Freshman pitcher Chandler Eden of Yuba City was brought in for the last out, throwing one pitch to end the ballgame. Eden last pitched on March 29 against Arizona. In nine appearances this year, he has thrown 7.2 innings for a 7.04 ERA. Locals will remember the last time Eden was on the mound--he tossed a no-hitter against Benicia as the Honkers took the Division III Section Title game at Sacramento City College.

Oregon State pitchers limited the Hornets to five hits all afternoon, with Scotty Burcham getting a pair, and slugger Hoskins impressing with a solo shot in the eighth inning to break up the Beavers’ shutout. Sacramento State made three errors on the day. 



Rhys Hoskins hit his eighth home run of the season for the Hornets only run
in the 8-1 loss to Oregon State.

Long was saddled with his first loss of the season and drops to 5-1 on the year. Another downside for the Hornets this afternoon: leadoff hitter Nathan Lukes (Center High) went hitless, ending his hitting streak at 20 games. 

Today’s 903 attendance easily was the best crowd of the season at John Smith Field. Sacramento State held “Green Army Day” where students wore specially branded “Green Army” T-shirts, ate BBQ ribs and side dishes, while working on their tans in the stands. 

Also in attendance today was Giants Senior Vice President/GM Brian Sabean, who must have felt at home among the sea of orange and black in the stands.




The Giants General Manager Brian Sabean (left) watched the game today at John Smith Field.

Community College News

Following Cosumnes River's sweep of Sacramento City last week, the Big-8 standings underwent a major shakeup.

Back at the top is Delta College with a 12-6 record. One game behind are three teams: Santa Rosa, Sierra and Cosumnes River. Now in fifth place is Sac City with a 10-8 record.

The leaderboard will become clearer after this weeks' matchups, as Delta is visiting CSR today, while Santa Rosa plays at Sierra. Sacramento City goes to Modesto.


Hornets Win 7-6 Thriller Over No.5 Oregon State at Raley Field

by Editor Rick Cabral



Oregon State and Sacramento State under the lights at Raley Field where the Hornets prevailed 7-6.

Tonight, No.5-ranked Oregon State found out what the Hornets’ Mid-Week Magic is all about at Raley Field.

Losing 6-1 after two innings, the Hornets chipped away and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning on a single by Scotty Burcham that scored Rhys Hoskins (Jesuit).

With closer Sutter McLoughlin on the mound in the ninth inning, Oregon State All-American Michael Conforto singled up the middle, placing the tying run on base. McLoughlin fanned cleanup hitter Dylan Davis on three straight pitches, and got the next two hitters to pop out to end the threat. The sophomore pitcher from Rio Americano earned his third win of the season, allowing one hit while striking out two.

The Hornets banged out 16 hits to nine for the Beavers. Burcham and Kyle Moses led the offense by going 3-for-5 with one RBI apiece. Freshman Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) went 3-for-4.

Meantime, after starter Justin Dillon (El Dorado High) gave up six earned runs on four hits after two innings, the Hornets relief corps silenced the Beavers. Hunter Greenwood (2 innings), Brennan Leitao (2 innings), Alex Palsha (1 inning) and McLoughlin (2 innings) together allowed the Beavers just five more hits and no runs over the last seven innings.

OSU head coach Pat Casey—who hadn’t seen his team play in over a week—went with his Sunday starter Jace Fry, who came into the game with a team-leading 7-1 record and a 1.68 earned run average.

In the first inning, the first three Hornets batters reached on singles to load the bases, including Nathan Lukes (Center High), who extended his hitting streak to a WAC-best 20 games. Cleanup hitter Del Grande launched a long blow that just missed the fence for a sacrifice fly to cut the Beavers’ lead to 2-1.




Nathan Lukes kept his hitting streak (20 games now) tonight with this infield chopper in the first inning.

By the second inning Oregon State led 6-1, thanks mostly to Conforto, who launched a two-run homer over the right field wall and was 3-for-3 with three RBI by the third inning (He finished 4-for-4 with two walks). He also had a stolen base, quashing notions he is a below-average runner.  Conforto is considered one of the top three college position players and also is thought to be the “best bat” among college players eligible for the draft.

In the fourth inning, the Hornets strung together four straight singles, one of which scored Burcham. Lukes then hit into a 1-2-3 double play, but Moses kept the rally going with an infield single scoring Dane Fujinaka, and the Hornets cut the lead in half at 6-3. All three runs against Frye were earned.

Sacramento State added another run in the sixth inning when Fujinaka lead off with a walk, advanced to second on Hunley’s second hit, and scored on an error by new pitcher, Scott Schultz.

In the seventh, the Hornets tied the game when senior Will Soto (Elk Grove High) scored on a fielder choice and Lukes drove in Fujinaka with a single up the middle to make it a 6-6 game.

“Getting down early like that and seeing our guys slowly get back into it, this is a special win,” head coach Reggie Christiansen said after the game. “I’m most proud of how we came from behind--we haven’t done that much this season. Our guys did an unbelievable job.”

Beavers’ sophomore Andrew Moore on the hill in the eighth inning took the loss, bringing his record to 3-3.

Sacramento State improved to 25-15 and 5-0 in midweek games at Raley Field. Oregon State drops to 27-8.

The two clubs are scheduled to meet again tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. at John Smith Field, weather permitting.




Oregon State All-American outfielder Michael Conforto lashed this pitch in the first inning to score the Beavers first run. He went 4-for-4 tonight with a 2-run homer and two walks, raising his batting average to .415.


(Sac State Media Relations contributed to this report)



Remember When...

Twenty-five years ago today, moviegoers were introduced to an Iowa corn farmer who was hearing voices and interpreted them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields. He did and out came Shoeless Joe Jackson and the rest of the Chicago Black Sox. The movie, of course, was Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner as Ray Kinsella, along with James Earl Jones, as the fictitious American writer, Terence Mann.

The movie popularized the slogan which has since become an anthem in baseball: “If you build it, they will come.”*

Fifteen years ago, an unlikely duo went around the greater Sacramento area spouting that mantra to anyone who would listen. Local businessman Warren Smith and former minor league executive Bob Hemond later joined forces with Art Savage, and together the threesome brought professional baseball back to Sacramento for good in the form of the River Cats.

To read the 40-year odyssey that culminated with their incredible journey,
go here.

* As cinephiles will note, the actual phrase from the movie is "If you build it, HE will come," but the mantra quickly morphed into "they will come" as it became affiliated with various movements.



No. 5 Oregon State Plays Sac State at Raley Field Monday Night

Oregon State, rated number-five by Baseball America, is in town to play the Hornets twice in two days. The Beavers last year appeared in the College World Series.

The first game is slated for Monday at 6:30 at Raley Field, while game two will be held Tuesday at 1 p.m. at John Smith Field.

Oregon State is the highest-ranked club the Hornets have faced since playing No. 1 Arizona in 2008. The Beavers are led by All-American Michael Conforto, last year's Pac-12 Player of the Year. The junior outfielder is leading his team with a .395 average (27th in Division I) and .546 slugging percentage. He is second on the team with 38 runs batted in.

The Hornets (24-15) are coming off a series victory against Utah Valley. They won the first two with shutouts, but were shut out themselves in Saturday's game 6-0. The main highlight from that one was leadoff hitter Nathan Lukes (Center High) extending his WAC-leading 19-game hitting streak. with a single in the first inning. Nate's two hits in the game amounted to fifty percent of the Hornets overall production, an aberration for this red-hot offensive club in the month of April. 



(Sac State Media Relations)

Freshman Sam Long threw his second 7-inning shutout of the season and the Hornets struck for eight runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to earn a 10-0 win over Utah Valley in seven innings, with the game called after the top of the 7th inning due to the WAC mercy rule.



Hornets' starter Sam Long threw a 7-inning shutout against Utah Valley today.

The victory was the fourth time this season that Sacramento State (24-14, 12-2 WAC) won a conference game via the mercy rule. It was the second straight shutout for the Hornets against Utah Valley (14-22, 7-7 WAC), which is the first time in the 12-year NCAA Div. I history of the program that it was shut out in consecutive games.

Long (Del Campo) also threw a seven-inning shutout in an 11-0 Hornet mercy rule win at New Mexico State on March 29. On Friday he allowed just four hits, all singles, with five strikeouts and no walks, facing just three batters over the minimum. Long improved to 5-0 while the team is now 9-0 in games he has started this season.

Sacramento State scored a pair of early runs, with sophomore Dane Fujinaka bringing in junior Scotty Burcham on a sacrifice bunt in the second inning and junior Rhys Hoskins (Jesuit) driving in sophomore Nathan Lukes (Center High) with a sacrifice fly in the third inning.

Senior Clay Cederquist then brought home Burcham with a sacrifice fly in the sixth to make the score 3-0 with two outs in the inning. The next seven Hornet hitters would reach base with four straight singles before a walk, a 2-run double from senior David Del Grande, and a two-run home run off the bat of senior Will Soto to bring the advantage to 10-0. Long allowed a leadoff single but nothing more in the top of the seventh to end the contest.

The Hornet pitchers have allowed just nine singles (no extra-base hits) with 15 strikeouts and four walks in 16 scoreless innings over the first two games of the weekend series. Sacramento State had a season-high six stolen bases in the game, including five steals in the 8-run sixth inning.

Eight of the nine Hornet starters had a hit, eight scored runs, and seven had RBIs. Del Grande and Burcham each had two hits while junior Kyle Moses had three hits with a run, an RBI and his seventh stolen base (tied for the team lead with Lukes). Lukes had a single in the sixth inning to extend his WAC-best hitting streak to 18 straight games (scored twice and stole his seventh base) while Soto has now hit in 15 straight.



Nathan Lukes shows off a picture-perfect swing
as he extended his hitting streak today to a WAC-best 18 games.

Designated hitter Mark Krueger was the only Wolverine to have multiple hits in the game. Utah Valley starter Ryan Evans was strong through his first five innings of work but ended up being tagged with six earned runs over 5.2 innings while two UVU relievers combined to allow four runs while getting just one out.

Sacramento State goes for its fourth WAC series sweep of the season on Saturday with first pitch at 2 p.m. at John Smith Field.


No. 5 Oregon State Plays Sac State at Raley Field Monday Night

Oregon State, rated number-five by Baseball America, is in town to play the Hornets twice in two days. The Beavers last year appeared in the College World Series.

The first game is slated for Monday at 6:30 at Raley Field, while game two will be held Tuesday at 1 p.m. at John Smith Field.

Oregon State is the highest-ranked club the Hornets have faced since playing No. 1 Arizona in 2008. The Beavers are led by All-American Michael Conforto, last year's Pac-12 Player of the Year. The junior outfielder is leading his team with a .395 average (27th in Division I) and .546 slugging percentage. He is second on the team with 38 runs batted in.

The Hornets (24-15) are coming off a series victory against Utah Valley. They won the first two with shutouts, but were shut out themselves in Saturday's game 6-0. The main highlight from that one was leadoff hitter Nathan Lukes (Center High) extending his WAC-leading 19-game hitting streak. with a single in the first inning. Nate's two hits in the game amounted to fifty percent of the Hornets overall production, an aberration for this red-hot offensive club in the month of April.



Hornets' second baseman Brandon Hunley tries to make the play falling down in the pivotal third inning. His throw sailed past the first baseman Rhys Hoskins and Utah Valley scored its third run in a 6-0 win over Sac State.



(Sac State Media Relations)

Freshman Sam Long threw his second 7-inning shutout of the season and the Hornets struck for eight runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to earn a 10-0 win over Utah Valley in seven innings, with the game called after the top of the 7th inning due to the WAC mercy rule.



Hornets' starter Sam Long threw a 7-inning shutout against Utah Valley today.

The victory was the fourth time this season that Sacramento State (24-14, 12-2 WAC) won a conference game via the mercy rule. It was the second straight shutout for the Hornets against Utah Valley (14-22, 7-7 WAC), which is the first time in the 12-year NCAA Div. I history of the program that it was shut out in consecutive games.

Long (Del Campo) also threw a seven-inning shutout in an 11-0 Hornet mercy rule win at New Mexico State on March 29. On Friday he allowed just four hits, all singles, with five strikeouts and no walks, facing just three batters over the minimum. Long improved to 5-0 while the team is now 9-0 in games he has started this season.

Sacramento State scored a pair of early runs, with sophomore Dane Fujinaka bringing in junior Scotty Burcham on a sacrifice bunt in the second inning and junior Rhys Hoskins (Jesuit) driving in sophomore Nathan Lukes (Center High) with a sacrifice fly in the third inning.

Senior Clay Cederquist then brought home Burcham with a sacrifice fly in the sixth to make the score 3-0 with two outs in the inning. The next seven Hornet hitters would reach base with four straight singles before a walk, a 2-run double from senior David Del Grande, and a two-run home run off the bat of senior Will Soto to bring the advantage to 10-0. Long allowed a leadoff single but nothing more in the top of the seventh to end the contest.

The Hornet pitchers have allowed just nine singles (no extra-base hits) with 15 strikeouts and four walks in 16 scoreless innings over the first two games of the weekend series. Sacramento State had a season-high six stolen bases in the game, including five steals in the 8-run sixth inning.

Eight of the nine Hornet starters had a hit, eight scored runs, and seven had RBIs. Del Grande and Burcham each had two hits while junior Kyle Moses had three hits with a run, an RBI and his seventh stolen base (tied for the team lead with Lukes). Lukes had a single in the sixth inning to extend his WAC-best hitting streak to 18 straight games (scored twice and stole his seventh base) while Soto has now hit in 15 straight.


Nathan Lukes shows off a picture-perfect swing
as he extended his hitting streak today to a WAC-best 18 games.

Designated hitter Mark Krueger was the only Wolverine to have multiple hits in the game. Utah Valley starter Ryan Evans was strong through his first five innings of work but ended up being tagged with six earned runs over 5.2 innings while two UVU relievers combined to allow four runs while getting just one out.

Sacramento State goes for its fourth WAC series sweep of the season on Saturday with first pitch at 2 p.m. at John Smith Field.

Cosumnes 5, Sacramento City 3

The Hawks defeated the Panthers for the second straight time this week at Union Stadium today. 


In a key play in the third inning (see above) Panthers' outfielder Kashka Dudley stormed home on a fielder's choice by Tim Hall. Hawks shortstop Hunter Carolan fired a perfect strike to catcher Logan Marston. Dudley tried to bowl over Marston, and was thrown out of the game for the aggressive baserunning play.

Cosumnes River starting pitcher David Smith (Elk Grove High) went five innings, allowed seven hits, three walks and the three runs, but all were unearned. He earned his second win of the season.



CRC's Robert Smith delivers a pitch to the Panthers

Community College News

Watch out in the Big-8, after division leader Sacramento City dropped a 5-4 decision to Cosumnes River on Tuesday there is now a four-way tie for first place with Delta, City, Sierra and Santa Rosa all have 10-6 conference records. And Cosumnes is just one game behind.

Sac City hosts Cosumnes today at the U.

Delta Sophomore Wyatt Castro continues to lead all Big-8 hitters by a wide margin. The lefty is hitting .417 while Cody Morris of Cosumnes is second at .378. Dalton Blaser (Roseville High) is fourth with a .376 average.

Blaser is leading the league in runs batted in with 28, with Castro second with 27, and Jerrod Bravo (Ponderosa) third with 25 RBI.

Kyle Von Ruden (Franklin High) of Cosumnes is third in the Big-8 with seven wins, and fourth in earned run average with 1.23. Wyatt D'Allesio of Sierra leads the conference with a scant 0.41 ERA.




(Sac State Media Relations)

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Sacramento State had leads of 3-0 and 5-3 but Grand Canyon rallied for three runs in the sixth inning and two runs in the seventh and withstood a ninth-inning rally to record an 8-6 win in the rubber game of a three-game set in Phoenix.

Grand Canyon (18-5, 8-4 WAC) also rallied for a 3-2 win on Friday to take two of three games in the weekend series. Sacramento State (21-14, 10-2 WAC) dropped its first conference series of the season after sweeping its first-three WAC opponents.

Redshirt freshman Justin Dillon (El Dorado High) worked a career-high five innings and departed with the lead after allowing three runs on five hits, but Grand Canyon rallied against the Hornet bullpen. In the ninth inning senior Clay Cederquist drove in a run and the Hornets had the potential tying run on base before the Antelopes were able to turn a game-ending double play.



(Sac State Media Relations)

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Sacramento State had leads of 3-0 and 5-3 but Grand Canyon rallied for three runs in the sixth inning and two runs in the seventh and withstood a ninth-inning rally to record an 8-6 win in the rubber game of a three-game set in Phoenix.

Grand Canyon (18-5, 8-4 WAC) also rallied for a 3-2 win on Friday to take two of three games in the weekend series. Sacramento State (21-14, 10-2 WAC) dropped its first conference series of the season after sweeping its first-three WAC opponents.

Redshirt freshman Justin Dillon (El Dorado High) worked a career-high five innings and departed with the lead after allowing three runs on five hits, but Grand Canyon rallied against the Hornet bullpen. In the ninth inning senior Clay Cederquist drove in a run and the Hornets had the potential tying run on base before the Antelopes were able to turn a game-ending double play.


Hornets Top Grand Canyon 5-4 in 10 Innings

Sacramento State turned the tables on Grand Canyon and won 5-4 in 10 innings in Phoenix this afternoon.

The Hornets improve to 21-13 and remain in sole possession of first place in the Western Athletic Conference with a 10-1 record. With the loss, Grand Canyon drops to 17-15 and 7-4 in WAC.

In the top of the tenth, with the score tied at 4, Chris Lewis lead off with a double. Two outs later following a walk to junior Scotty Burcham, sophomore Nathan Lukes (Center High) drilled a single up the middle to score Lewis with the eventual winning run.

Sophomore Sutter McLoughlin, who blew a save and took the loss in last night’s 3-2 game reverted to the closer Sacramento State has come to expect in the past two years. In the 10th inning McLoughlin (Rio Americano) retired the side, including fanning the final two hitters for his eighth save of the season.

State scored one run in the first inning, when junior cleanup hitter Rhys Hoskins (Jesuit) singled in Lukes, who enjoyed a 3-for-6 day at the plate with one RBI.

Grand Canyon, however, knocked State starter Sam Long (Del Campo) for two earned runs with two outs in their half of the first inning to take a 2-1 lead. The Antelopes scored an insurance run in the third inning.

But Sac State evened the score with freshman Brandon Hunley’s RBI-double in the fourth and senior David Del Grande’s home run in the fifth.

The Lopes answered in the fifth with another run off the freshman Long. With the score still tied 4-4 in the eighth inning Hornets relief pitcher Chad Perry issued two leadoff walks. Head Coach Reggie Christiansen brought in setup man Alex Palsha, who mishandled a sacrifice bunt, which loaded the bases.

The Hornets defense stiffened, getting a force out at home for the first out. Palsha struck out the next batter, and got the third out on fly to the outfield.

For his two scoreless innings, Palsha earned his fourth win of the season without a loss.

Sacramento State returns tomorrow at 12:30 for the rubber match against Grand Canyon.

Sac City Wins 5-3 Over Delta -- Takes Series

The Panthers defeated Delta College on Friday 5-3 to win the three-game series among division leaders. With the win, Sac City (21-7) takes sole possession of first place with a 10-5 mark in the Big-8 Conference, one game ahead of Delta (22-8 and 9-6 ).

Gabe Araj (5-2) (Jesuit) was the winning pitcher and Branden Nunn earned his 7th save.


McLoughlin Allows 2 Runs In Ninth—State Loses 3-2

Sacramento State closer Sutter McLoughlin gave up two unearned runs in the bottom of the ninth as Grand Canyon took the first game of the Western Athletic Conference series 3-2 tonight in Phoenix.

State scored one run in the top of the eighth inning to take a 2-1 lead in the ninth. McLoughlin (2-1), a sophomore from Rio Americano High who owns a WAC high seven saves, gave up a single, then walked three for the tying run. Michael Pomeroy then knocked in the winning run.

For McLoughlin, it was his first blown save of the season and his first loss. Earlier this season, McLoughlin mounted a 24-inning scoreless streak, dating back to the final seven innings of 2013.

The Hornets defense also made their only error of the game in the ninth, contributing to the bad inning.Sac State, which had been on an offensive tear the past three weeks, was held to seven hits.

Starter Brennan Leitao was terrific, allowing five hits and one earned run through seven innings.

With the loss, the Hornets now own a two-game losing streak, after winning 12 in a row. They are 20-13 overall and 9-1 in conference, and still hold a two-game lead over Grand Canyon for first place in the WAC.

The two teams meet again tomorrow and Sunday.


Having swept its first three WAC series of the season, Sacramento State (20-12, 9-0 WAC) plays its second road series in conference play with a three game set in Phoenix against new WAC and NCAA Div. - I program Grand Canyon (16-14, 6-3 WAC). Game times are 6:30 p.m. Friday, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.


Pacific Tops Sac State 9-8 in 14 Innings--Hornets 12-Game Win Streak is Over 

In another marathon contest, Sacramento State dropped a 9-8 decision to host Pacific in a 14-inning thriller. The streak is over.  

In the bottom of the 14th inning, the Tigers Taylor Murphy launched a home run off senior reliever Hunter Greenwood (Elk Grove High) to win it at Klein Family Field on the Pacific campus. 

Sacramento State, riding a 12-game winning streak, lost for the first time since mid-March. It was the school’s second longest streak since 1992.  

The Hornets led 7-3 in the seventh inning when Gio Brusa (St. Mary’s of Stockton) launched a grand slam to tie the game.  

In the 11th inning, the Hornets took a 8-7 lead when sophomore Nathan Lukes knocked in pinch runner Sam Long (Del Campo). Lukes (Center High) later was thrown out on an attempted steal at second base.  

Sacramento State closer sophomore Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano) went to the mound for his second inning. After one out, McLoughlin allowed three consecutive singles, the last one to junior Tyler Sullivan who drove in the tying run. The Hornets then pulled off a double play to keep the contest knotted at eight.  

Lukes was 3-for-6 with one RBI and senior Will Soto (Elk Grove High) was 2-for-6 with two RBI.  

Last Saturday, the Hornets were victorious in a 15-inning affair against Seattle University, the longest game in the school’s Division I history. Tonight’s 14-inning contest ties for second longest. 

The loss also interrupts another, albeit trivial, streak: Sacramento State was 6-0 in midweek games.  

Sacramento State drops to 20-12 and 6-6 on the road. Pacific improves to 15-19 overall.  

Sac City Trumps Delta 6-4 in First of Three Game Series 

by Editor Rick Cabral 

Sacramento City College hosted Delta College at Union Stadium in a Big-8 battle for first place. The Panthers scored three runs in the seventh inning and held on for a 6-4 win, reassuming the top post in the Big-8 Conference.  

Leading 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Delta sent left-handed pitcher Brennon Williams to pitch to sophomore Jared Bravo (Ponderosa), who reached on an error. Sophomore Robby Link (Christian Brothers) followed with a single. First baseman freshman Tim Hall (Del Campo) walked to load the bases. Freshman Austin Spainhour (Rocklin) hit a one-hopper back to the pitcher, and Williams got the lead runner with a throw home.  

The next batter Jorge Perez (McClatchy) drilled a single to right field that scored one run to tie the game. Pinch hitter Brian Ingram (Center High) worked a walk, giving Sac City a 4-3 lead. Freshman Tyler Houlihan’s (Nevada Union) sacrifice fly then gave the Panthers a 5-3 cushion.  

Perez’ run batted in was crucial for two reasons. Not only did it tie the game, it helped the shortstop breathe easier, as his two errors put starter Ben Ritchey in a hole with unearned runs in the first and third innings. 

Ritchey, the freshman right-hander from Capital Christian, gave Panthers’ coach Derek Sullivan another quality start with six and two-thirds innings. He allowed six hits, three runs (all unearned), two walks and struck out five. He masterfully moved his pitches around the zone, locating his fastball and curve effectively throughout his stint on the mound.   


Pitcher Ben Ritchey threw six strong innings in the no-decision against San Joaquin Delta today.


In the seventh after Ritchey allowed the Mustangs’ third run, Sullivan brought in right-hander Nate Barumen (2-0), who got the third out with one pitch. He hurled two-and-a-third innings for the win, while Panthers’ closer Branden Nunn worked the ninth inning, earning his sixth save. 

Sacramento City managed the victory on just seven hits, while making four errors today. San Joaquin Delta sent seven pitchers to the hill. Their leading hitter, Wyatt Castro (Antelope High) who came into the game hitting .404, blasted a run-scoring triple to the centerfield wall in the third inning to tie the game. He had two hits in the contest. 

With the win, the Panthers improved to 20-6 and 9-4 in conference. The two teams resume on Thursday at Delta College with the Panthers clinging to a one-game lead. They return to Union Stadium for the rubber match on Friday. 


In today's Coaches poll, Sac City is ranked No. 2 behind San Joaquin Delta.

Cosumnes River (18-9/6-6) is slated No. 9, while Sierra (15-12/6-6) is ranked No. 16.



(Sac State Media Relations) 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Riding the longest active winning streak in all of NCAA Div. I, Sacramento State (20-11, 9-0 WAC) begins a five-game road stretch at 6 p.m. Tuesday night at Pacific (14-19, 5-7 WCC). 

The game will be the second meeting of the season between the teams after the Hornets began their 12-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory over the Tigers on March 18 at Raley Field. The Hornets received votes in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) national poll for the first time on Monday. 

Sacramento State’s 12-game winning streak is the second longest in program history, just shy of a 16-game streak in 1992, and is the longest active winning streak in NCAA Div. I…During the winning streak the Hornets are hitting .327 with 14 home runs and are averaging 8.5 runs per game with a 1.83 ERA while holding opponents to just 2.2 runs per game. 

Sacramento State is averaging 9.2 runs per game through nine WAC games, hitting .346 with 12 homers, and the pitchers have a 1.78 ERA and allowing 2.2 runs/game…The Hornets are 6-0 in midweek games so far this season, hitting .283 and averaging 5.7 runs per game with a 2.13 ERA, though five of the six games have been at home…A 4-2 home win over Pacific on Mar. 18 was the first victory in the Hornets 12-game winning streak, while the Tigers have gone 4-6 since then and are 8-8 on the year at home. 



(Sac State Media Relations) 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Junior Rhys Hoskins continued his torrid start to WAC play going 3-for-3 with 2 RBIs and freshman Jared Paderez allowed just two hits and no earned runs over 6.2 innings to lead Sacramento State to a 4-3 win over Seattle U on Sunday. 

The Hornets (20-11, 9-0 WAC) remained undefeated in conference play and ran their winning streak to 12 games, the longest active winning streak in all of NCAA Div. I and just four wins short of the program-record streak. Sacramento State beat Seattle U (11-15, 3-3 WAC) by a 4-3 score for the second consecutive day after the 15-inning contest on Saturday ended 4-3. 

“I told the team that was the best three-game sweep since I’ve been here in six years,” head coach Reggie Christiansen said. “We played really well on Friday, found a way to squeak it out in 15 yesterday, and to come back in here today really thin on the mound and get a win was great. Jared Paderez has been up and down and he gave us an unbelievable effort today, and with Sutter not available we needed Alex Palsha to get us four outs and he did. It takes 31 guys to do what we are doing now and its fun to be a part of it.”   

Hornets Win 15-inning Thriller on Hunley's RBI Single
Streak at 11 Games

By editor Rick Cabral


"Greenshirt" freshman Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) drove in Scotty Burcham with the winning run in the bottom of the 15th inning, as Sacramento State pulled out a 4-3 squeaker over Seattle University. It was the longest contest in the program's Division-I history, dating back to 1990.    


Burcham singled to open the inning, advanced to second on sophomore Dane Fujinaka's sacrifice bunt, and came home on Hunley's single through the right side.   


Sac State's winning streak improves to 11 games, the most since the 1992 squad won 16 in a row. The Hornets improve to 19-11 overall and 8-0 in Western Athletic Conference play.   


The Redhawks had a chance to bust open in their half of the 15th when they loaded the bases, but failed to drive home a run just one out. Freshman pitcher Austin Ragsdale (Bradshaw Christian) induced a pop-up and line out to end the inning and secure the first win of his collegiate career.   


Seattle also blew another scoring opportunity when they loaded the bases in the 11th inning with one out against Sac State closer Sutter McLoughlin (Rio American), who threw three innings in relief today. Head coach Donny Harrel called for a suicide squeeze, but senior Chase Fields missed the bunt, and Hornets catcher Fujinaka ran the runner back to third base, then threw down to second to nail Grant Newton for the second out.   


McLoughlin hit the next batter to load the bases again. But the 6'5" sophomore got Ryan Somers to hit a popup behind home plate, and Fujinaka raced to the screen where he made a great catch for out number three.   


Hornets’ starter Sam Long (4-0) went five innings today. Although he allowed just four hits and two earned runs, his control was off, accounting for four walks. Long (Del Campo) like Hunley is also a "greenshirt"* freshman--he should be playing his senior season in high school. Ironically, had both stayed in prep school, they would have faced off this afternoon in a Capital Valley Conference makeup game, as Christian Brothers hosted Del Campo at Joe Marty Field. 


Hunley, a middle infielder, has been clutch all season for the Hornets. Against Nevada in the green-and-gold's first game at Raley Field, Hunley hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to secure a 7-4 win over the Wolfpack. Against Northern Colorado in game one he broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning with another homer, igniting the Hornets offense en route to a win.   


The Hornets, a red-hot-hitting team of late, were fortunate to win this one against Seattle, as they managed only 11 hits. Coming into the series, Sac State had been averaging nine runs per game over the winning streak. But their first two runs today in the first inning were unearned, as Seattle infielders failed to squeeze routine fly balls. Seattle made five errors in the contest, including two crucial ones in the first inning.  In addition, cleanup hitter Rhys Hoskins (Jesuit), the team's leading hitter and RBI man entering today's game, twice failed to drive in runners with the bases loaded, striking out and popping up in the infield. 


Redhawks' losing pitcher Will Dennis came in relief in the seventh inning and allowed the Hornets just four hits through eight innings, including Hunley's game winner. The southpaw submariner from Saratoga, California whitewashed Sacramento State until the decisive 15th inning.   


Leading hitters for Sacramento State were juniors Burcham and Kyle Moses, who both went 2-for-6. Cullen Hendrickson led all Seattle hitters, going 3-for-6 game with two doubles.   


Seattle and Sacramento State resume the series tomorrow at John Smith Field. Game time is 12 noon. It's Youth Baseball Day, where one adult receives free admission if they bring their youth dressed in uniform (See above promo).


* "Greenshirt" is a term concocted by to describe a player that graduated early for the Spotlight feature profiling Brandon Hunley and Sam Long, and not an official NCAA category.





(Sacramento State Media Relations)

Six Hornet starters had two-hit games, including the first five batters in the lineup, and junior Brennan Leitao allowed just one run over seven innings as Sacramento State opened a three-game WAC home series vs. Seattle U with an 8-1 win.

The victory was the 10th straight for Sacramento State (18-11, 7-0 WAC), equaling the second longest winning streak in program history behind just a 16-game winning streak recorded in 1992. The Hornets also improved to 7-0 in WAC games after handing Seattle U (11-13, 3-1 WAC) its first conference loss.


Sacramento State 8-4 Winner Over USF

The Hornets topped San Francisco 8-4 tonight at Raley Field, extending their winning streak to nine games.

Redshirt freshman Justin Dillon (El Dorado High) pitched three-plus innings to earn his first collegiate victory.

The Hornets scored twice in the first inning, then padded their lead with six more runs in the third inning and held on for the non-conference win. Their record is now 17-11.

Senior Will Soto (Elk Grove High) hit a two-run homer and "greenshirt" freshman Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) went 3-for-4 with one RBI in leading the Hornets' 10-hit offensive attack. Junior outfielder Kyle Moses also had a pair of hits.

Closer Suttern McLoughlin allowed an earned run in the ninth inning, his first this season, ending a 24- inning scoreless streak that dated back to last year.

Speaking of streaks, Sac State's nine-game winner is the team's best since 1992.

The Hornets resume Western Athletic Conference play this weekend when they host a three-game series with Seattle University beginning with Friday's game scheduled for 3 p.m.

The Dons and Hornets have split four games this year.

College News...(All 4 locals lose today)

Diablo Valley Edges Sacramento City 1-0

Sacramento City managed just three hits against Diablo Valley this afternoon, losing 1-0. The Panthers gave no run support to freshman starter Ben Ritchey (Capital Christian) who allowed six hits and one run and was slapped with his first loss of the season.

Ritchey is now 4-1 while the Panthers are now 7-3 in the Big-8 Conference (18-5 overall).

In other local college action...

Santa Rosa defeated Cosumnes River College 5-0
Delta shut out Sierra 9-0
Modesto trumped American River9-4



College Notes

UC Davis senior Adam Young is batting .446, placing him fifth in the nation among Division I hitters.

Bradley Zimmer of San Francisco is ranked 11th with a .430 average. The Hornets, who have played the Dons three times already, are scheduled to play USF Wednesday night at Raley Field (rescheduled from today due to rain).

Down the road in Stockton, sophomore Brett Sullivan of Pacific is ranked 20th in the nation with a .421 average (among D-I).

Junior Tyler Kuresa (Oakmont High) of UC Santa Barbara has 29 runs batted in, placing him in a tie for 27th place nationally.

Rhys Hoskins (Jesuit), the current WAC Hitter of the Week, is ranked 28th with his .650 slugging percentage, tied with senior Louie Lechich (St. Mary's of Stockton) of San Diego.

In the Saves department, Sac State's sophomore Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano) is tied for 11th in the nation with 7 saves. With the Hornets recent offensive explosion (they 10-run-ruled New Mexico State twice last weekend), he hasn't had a save opportunity since March 23. McLoughlin is riding a 23-inning scoreless streak dating back to 2013.


Hornets Sweep New Mexico State with 20-6 Win on Sunday

Sacramento State swept the Aggies with a 20-6 pasting today behind grand slams by senior Will Soto and freshman Brandon Hunley, and junior Rhys Hoskins continued his torrid hitting streak with a 3-run homer. The Hornets won their 8th straight game, the longest winning streak since the 1992 team won 16 in a row.

The game ended on a 7-inning Mercy Ruling for the second straight day in Las Cruces.

Junior Scotty Burcham went 4-for-5 and senior Dave Del Grande--the current WAC Hitter of the Week--added three more hits and three RBI as the Hornets collected 17 hits.

The Hornets improve to 16-11 and 6-0 in the Western Athletic Conference where they occupy first place.



Sac State Media Relations

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Sacramento State junior first baseman Rhys Hoskins homered twice and drove in a career-high six runs while freshman starter Sam Long allowed just four hits while throwing a seven-inning shutout as the Hornets scored an 11-0 Mercy Rule win over New Mexico State on Saturday night.

Sacramento State (15-11, 5-0 WAC) won its seventh straight game to equal the 2009 team for the longest winning streak the program has had since a 16-game winning streak in 1992. The Horne