Sacramento State baseball recuiting class ranked high

AJ Taylor

Collegiate Baseball Magazineranked Sacramento State baseball’s recruiting class of 2014 50th in the nation, the first time Sac State has ever been ranked as such in any sport.

Just after finishing the 2010 season with a record of 18-34-1, entering a head coaching change after the retirement of one of the West Coast’s longest tenured coaches, the Sac State baseball program brought in many highly desired recruits – including three high school prospects selected for the 2010 MLB Draft.

After head coach John Smith’s 32nd and final season, Reggie Christiansen took over as both the head of recruiting and as head coach. He was previously the head coach at South Dakota State before coming onto Smith’s coaching staff for the 2009 season.

Instead of coaching from third base in the playoffs, Christiansen was working on his recruiting pitch. This work did not come easy. A new head coach, a losing season and heavy competition from powerhouses in the surrounding area made sure Christiansen had an uphill climb.

“I don’t think anything really changed,” Christiansen said. “We just started targeting the right kids and started to do a better job of recruiting kids within an hour to an hour-and-a-half radius of Sacramento.”

Some of the most notable recruits of the class are MLB draftees Dallas Chadwick (18th round, Boston Red Sox), Derek Goodwin (46th round, Milwaukee Brewers) and Hunter Greenwood (48th round, Colorado Rockies).

Prospects from all around the Sacramento area round out the class, including Dax Turner, who was named second team all-California by; Greg Astor, Justin Higley, Tanner Mendonca, Ty Nichols, Sam Kuykendall and Will Soto.

There are many variables in the recruitment process and finding success as a coach is complicated, but Christiansen made it look easy when he brought in a nationally ranked group of players.

“I like Reggie. By far (Reggie Christiansen) was one of my favorite coaches,” Greenwood said. “And he sold me on the idea of trying to create a hometown team that has talent like Long Beach or another school like that. He wanted to build a program that was known around the area, and gave Sac State a name, put them on the map and I liked the idea of it.”

Chadwick could have been on his way to the Boston Red Sox farm system. Instead he is one of the newest Hornets to take the mound this fall.

“I felt (Sac State) would be a great place to play,” Chadwick said. “I felt like I could come and really make a difference here. And I really liked the coaches, and Sacramento area.”

In his senior year at Shasta High School in Redding, Chadwick racked up 113 strikeouts to 13 walks, and let in four earned runs over 54.2 innings.

Rounding out the list is Hunter Adrian, Eli Davis, Steven Amaral, and Brian Hagget – all community college transfer students.

Greenwood said recognition is great, but the work needs to be put in now or it all means nothing.

“Our goals are definitely to have a winning record and definitely to make playoffs,” Greenwood said. “We’re capable of that. If all the parts come around, our hitting is good, if our pitching comes through I think we could possibly win our conference.”

One thing Christiansen said he does want Sac State baseball fans to expect is a group of hardworking ball players.

AJ Taylor can be reached at [email protected]