SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State baseball head coach Reggie Christiansen announced his team’s 2017 schedule on Wednesday featuring 31 home games, 21 of which will be played under the new lights at John Smith Field.
“I believe we have put together a very challenging non-conference schedule with the goal of preparing us for our WAC schedule,” Christiansen said. “Playing 31 home games with 21 under the lights will give the Sacramento baseball community an opportunity to support our program. I know our players are looking forward to competing against everyone on our schedule.”
Among the non-conference opponents on the schedule are two that played in the NCAA Regionals last year in Washington and Minnesota. The Hornets also play two other Power 5 schools facing Washington State and Penn State. The Minnesota, Washington State, and Penn State series will all be played at home.
Sacramento State will play a total of 14 games against Power 5 schools and has had tremendous recent success against such opponents. The team took 2-of-3 games to open the 2016 season at Auburn and also picked up a win at No. 5 LSU last year. The Hornets also have wins over Texas, Texas A&M, Arizona State, Oregon State, Utah, and Minnesota over the last four years.
The 2017 season will be the first full year for the Hornets under the lights at John Smith Field. After the first home night game in program history on May 17, the Hornets played two more night games during the final weekend of the 2016 regular season. In the 21 games under the lights in 2017 the start times will be 6 p.m. while the 10 home day games will primarily come on the finale of each home series.
The Hornets open the year with eight straight home games, hosting Washington State for four games starting Friday, Feb. 17 and hosting a four-game series against Northern Kentucky the following week. The first road trip of the year will be a four-game set at Washington, which ended the 2016 season ranked No. 21 in the D1Baseball.com poll.
Sacramento State will play four of its first five series of the year at home, with home sets against Power 5 schools Penn State and Minnesota following the Washington trip. Minnesota, which also visited John Smith Field in 2014, went 36-22 last season and reached the final game in the College Station regional before falling to host Texas A&M.
Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play begins for the Hornets at Northern Colorado on March 24. After a home game against Pacific, Sacramento State will be back on the road the following week with a series at defending WAC Tournament champion Utah Valley.
The first home league series will take place April 7-9 against Grand Canyon, which will be part of a nine-game homestand that also includes a series against New Mexico State and single home games against Fresno State, UC Davis, and San Francisco. The Hornets will also host CSU Bakersfield and UT Rio Grande Valley in home conference series.
The weekend prior to the UTRGV series the Hornets will break from WAC play for a three game set at San Diego. After facing the Vaqueros to close the regular season the WAC Tournament will return to Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz., beginning May 24.
The 2012 and 2014 WAC champion, Sacramento State has won 30 or more games in five straight seasons, the longest such streak since a string of nine straight 30-win seasons from 1985-1993. The Hornets also have the seventh most wins amongst 24 Div. I program in California over the last five years, with more victories than teams including Stanford, Cal, USC, and Long Beach State.
The Hornets had three players drafted following the 2016 season, marking the fifth straight year in which the program has had multiple MLB draft picks. The team lost just three other seniors and returns large senior and junior classes for a very veteran squad in 2017.