Hornet baseball excelling at plate and in the field

State Hornet Staff

After struggling to score runs for much of the season, the Sacramento State baseball team has been on fire lately at the plate, helping them to a 6-0 record in the Western Athletic Conference.

The Hornets struggled to begin the month of March, going 3-7 and scoring only 27 runs, including a four-game losing streak where Sac State was held to just one run in each contest.

Since March 18, when the Hornets beat the University of the Pacific 4-2, they have been more confident with the bats while scoring 68 runs, and as of Sunday, were on a season-best eight game winning streak.

Sac State’s most recent series came against WAC opponent New Mexico State. The Aggies were picked to finish second in the WAC, one spot ahead of the Hornets.

Both the pitching and hitting of Sac State were on point as it swept New Mexico State and outscored the Aggies 39-8 in three games. The final two ended in a mercy rule, 11-0 and 20-6, respectively.

Junior first baseman Rhys Hoskins had an outstanding series at he plate, going 8-12 with three home runs, three doubles and 12 RBIs. Coming into the series, Hoskins had only two home runs and 10 RBIs. His play earned him the WAC Hitter of the Week.

Hoskins was not the only Hornet to have a field day with the bat. Senior center fielder David Del Grande continued his torrid streak, fresh off of a WAC Hitter of the Week honor for himself. Del Grande went 6-11 with a home run, seven RBIs and eight runs scored in the series against the Aggies.

Accompanying the great hitting by the Hornets is the pitching staff, headlined by junior starting pitcher Brennan Leitao.

Leitao has started seven games for the Hornets and has given up more than two earned runs just once. Leitao is 3-3 on the season and leads the team in strikeouts with 26.

Fellow starting pitcher, freshman Sam Long, has not shied away from the light as he earned the weekend starter status after impressive outings against Fresno State and the University of Nevada, Reno.

Long has the lowest ERA among starting pitchers with 1.75 through 37 innings pitched. He is on a 14-inning scoreless streak. Long is 4-0, which leads the team and is third in the WAC.

The good starting pitching has led to the backend of the bullpen getting a lot of work with the lead, and it has been stellar for head coach Reggie Christiansen and the Hornets.

As of Monday, relief pitchers, freshman Sterling Humphrey, junior Alex Palsha and sophomore closer Sutter McLoughlin have combined to throw in 54.2 innings with an 1.48 ERA.

McLoughlin leads the WAC in with seven saves on the season as of Monday. Palsha has been the workhorse out of the bullpen and has pitched in 16 games this season.

Sac State is now 16-11 (6-0) and is in first place in the WAC. The Hornets will continue conference play against Seattle University on Friday. First pitch is at 3 p.m.