FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Sacramento State baseball team will play an unprecedented four games at Raley Field, including one against 2013 College World Series semifinalist Oregon State, to highlight the 2014 schedule announced by head coach Reggie Christiansen. The Hornets will play a total of 32 of their 56 regular season games at home, the team’s most home dates since 2008.
Games against Fresno State (Mar. 5), Air Force (Mar. 25), Oregon State (Apr. 21), and UC Davis (May 13) will be played under the lights at Raley Field as part of a very challenging non-conference schedule for the Hornets that includes several high level early season opponents.
“We will play 32 of our 56 contests at home in 2014 in what I believe to be a very challenging schedule,” Christiansen said. “The non-conference slate will give us an opportunity to open up at home against a PAC-12 opponent in Utah. I am really excited about our first road test, at Fresno State on a Wednesday night, followed up by a weekend series at Texas A&M in one of the best venues in college baseball in College Station.”
After the season-opening home series vs. Utah (Feb. 14-17) the Hornets will play at Fresno State, the 2008 College World Series Champion, followed by the series at Texas A&M, which will be the first of three 2014 Hornet opponents that qualified for the 2013 NCAA Baseball Tournament.
The second of those opponents, San Francisco, plays in Sacramento on Feb. 28 before the series continues at the Dons home park. In addition to the Oregon State game at Raley Field on Apr. 21, the teams will also play on John Smith Field on Apr. 22.
Another highlight of the season will be a nine-game homestand (Mar. 14-26) that will open against Minnesota of the Big-10 Conference. The long home stretch, which will come after a series at UC Riverside, will also include non-conference games against Pacific and Air Force.
“UC Riverside, USF and Minnesota will be great non-conference weekends against three very well coached teams with three very different styles,” said Christiansen. “Our non-conference weekend series will certainly serve us well as we prepare to make a run at earning an at-large birth in the NCAA Tournament, as well as winning the WAC Tournament.”
The nine-game homestand will also include the first WAC series of the year when the Hornets host Northern Colorado on Mar. 21-23. Sacramento State will play 27 conference games this season, with 15 of those 27 dates on John Smith Field. The WAC Tournament will be played May 21-25 at Wrigley Field West, the new Chicago Cubs spring training facility in Mesa, Ariz.
In 2013 Christiansen guided the Hornets to a 34-25 overall record and a 14-13 conference mark, leading the team to its second consecutive winning season and back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time in over 20 years. Strong pitching helped the team set single-season records in opponent batting average (.255) and shutouts (9) while freshman Sutter McLoughlin shattered the school record with 17 saves.
The squad had two Freshman All-Americans in McLoughlin and designated hitter Chris Lewis and also returns its top-two starting pitchers from a season ago.
“We return our Friday and Saturday starters in Ty Nichols and Brennan Leitao as well as Freshman All-American closer Sutter Mcloughlin,” Christiansen said. “Our depth on the mound is the best it has been since I have been here and I believe our defense will be improved from last year’s club, which finished 10th in the country in fielding percentage. I also believe we will be much more productive offensively than we were in 2013.”