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3/31/15

LEHMAN LIFTS SACRAMENTO STATE OVER PACIFIC 3-2
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.


3/30/15

SACRAMENTO STATE BASEBALL SOPHOMORE SAM LONG NAMED WAC PITCHER OF THE WEEK

(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.

 

SSU_LONG_Cabral
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.


3/29/15

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.

 

SSU_Dillon_Cabral

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.

 



3/28/15

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.


3/27/15

HORNETS HANG ON FOR 8-7 WIN OVER NEW MEXICO STATE

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.


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Background

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.
 

Enjoy!

Editor
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 3/31/15
All contents © Rick Cabral, 2010-2014


 

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