Gauchos Tate Whitewashes Hornets

U.C. Santa Barbara’s starting pitcher Dillon Tate delivered as advertised.

The right-handed fireballer mowed down Hornets hitters, while his Gauchos teammates managed two runs in the fifth inning off Sacramento State hurler Brennan Leitao to take Game One in a three-game series, 2-0.

Tate, a 6’2” junior, allowed five hits and three walks through his seven innings of work, while fanning 10, his yearly average. The effort lowered Tate’s earned run average to 0.96 for the season and improved his record to 3-1.

Two of the Hornets hits were by junior Chris Lewis, including a double in the fourth that chased Nathan Lukes (who walked) to third base with one out. But Tate bore down and retired the next two State hitters. 


Dillon Tate fanned 10 Hornets in seven innings of shutout pitching,
as Santa Barbara won 2-0.

One area scout, who projects Tate as a possible Top 5 pick in June’s 2015 MLB Amateur Draft, said the Gauchos pitcher reminds him of a young “Doc” Gooden of 1980s New York Mets fame. “He’s got a mid-90s fastball that sometimes touches 100 (mph), and he’s got a devastating hook.”

Nowhere was that more apparent than in the Hornets half of the seventh inning, when they loaded the bases with no outs on Lewis’ infield single, a walk to freshman Vinny Esposito (Granite Bay High) and a smash single by Scotty Burcham off Tate’s glove that brought out head coach Andrew Checketts and the team trainer to check on their ace. Tate brushed them off, returned to the mound and then impressively struck out the next three Sac State batters, each with that devastating hook.

One highlight for the Hornets today was Lukes (Center High), who entered the series batting .500. Although he went 0-for-2 with two walks, he showed off his strong arm in right field on two plays.

In the second inning, with a runner on first base, Santa Barbara senior Peter Maris laced a liner down the right field line. Lukes raced to the 333-foot sign, snagged the ball, wheeled and threw a one-hopper to nail Maris attempting to slide into second base. That play saved one run.

After Tate’s strong showing on the mound, Checketts sent two relievers to close out the game, including James Carter’s ninth inning appearance for his fifth save. More than 400 spectators came out to watch this well-pitched contest that ended in a brisk 2:15.

With their fourth-straight loss, Sacramento State drops to 6-5. The Gauchos advance to 10-3. The two teams battle again tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. at John Smith Field.


Chris Lewis had two hits off Gaucho's starter Dillon Tate, includig this double in the fourth inning. But Lewis was stranded, and the Hornets lost 2-0.



(River Cats Media Relations)

The Sacramento River Cats are excited to announce the release of 2015 single-game tickets for sale at the Round Table Pizza Ticket Office starting Sunday, March 8 at noon during the annual Preseason Party. There is also a special online-only presale for single-game tickets happening now at rivercats.com.

The River Cats will be hosting their annual Preseason Party at Raley Field on March 8, from noon until 3 p.m. The concessions stands will be serving free hot dogs and soft drinks, and fans can explore the exciting new or renovated areas of Raley Field including the clubhouse. There will be free activities for kids, including bounce houses, face painters and balloon artists. Those in attendance can be a part of a special planting party during the unveiling of the Raley Field Gardens grown by Green Acres.

Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in a batting practice to benefit the River Cats Foundation. This free event will have something for all ages and is sure to get fans excited for the 2015 season. The Round Table Pizza Ticket Office will be opening for the event, giving fans their first chance to purchase tickets to premium games like Opening Night on April 9, July 3, Giants giveaway dates, and Fan Appreciation Day.

Fans are advised to get a seat now to avoid box office lines and sell outs. For an updated schedule and list of promotions, visit rivercats.com/promotions or stop by the River Cats' front office. Promotions and dates are subject to change. The On Deck Shop will also be open during the Preseason Party and will have new River Cats and Giants gear for the 2015 season.

Season ticket plans are still available and fans are encouraged to schedule a tour to check out available seats by calling (916) 371-HITS (4487) or emailing tickets@rivercats.com.


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.



High School



For decades, Sacramento has been a hotbed of tremendous baseball talent. A few of the homegrown locals performing in the Major Leagues at present from the greater Sacramento area* include J.P. Howell, Dustin Pedroia, Manny Parra, Andrew Susac, and many more.

Among the hundreds of former professional players who have hailed from around here (and this is not an exhaustive list) include: Dusty Baker, Larry Bowa, Ken and Bob Forsch, Stan Hack, Woody Held, David Hernandez, Derrek Lee, Joe Marty, Butch Metzger, Steve Sax, Greg Vaughn, Fernando Vina and many others.

Numerous MLB managers have come out of Sacramento, including:
Dusty Baker (SF Giants, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds)
Larry Bowa (San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies)
Jerry Manuel (Chicago White Sox and New York Mets)
Buck Martinez (Toronto Blue Jays)
John McNamara (6 teams)

Many top-name big league players barnstormed through Sacramento from the teens through the early '60s. Among the barnstormers, none were bigger than Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who performed as the Bustin' Babes and Larrupin Lous here in Sacramento in 1927 (you can read more about that tour at ThePitchBook.com).

After runnin' the bases here, if you would like to submit material that you believe should be included at BaseballSacramento.com, please send an email to
RAC (at) baseballsacramento (dot) com.

Also be sure to check out the All-Time Top 50 Players from Sacramento in the History section.


Rick Cabral

* The "greater Sacramento baseball area" extends west to Woodland, north to Yuba City, east to Grass Valley and south to the San Joaquin County line.

Updated 3/4/15
All contents © Rick Cabral, 2010-2014


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