SACRAMENTO — What a weekend it was in Mesa, Arizona for Hornets baseball.
Sacramento State had to win six straight elimination games after losing their opener and claimed the Western Athletic Conference Tournament title with a one-run victory Sunday afternoon over Grand Canyon.
“It was just special, man,” said catcher Dawsen Bacho. “It’s hard to describe unless you’ve experienced it yourself. But just for us to fight back like that, it’s pretty crazy.”
Up next, the Hornets will face off against national power Stanford at their place on Friday to open a four-team regional — but don’t think for a minute that the Hornets squad will be in awe.
“Not at all, no intimidation at all. If we just rally behind each other and play to win and play the baseball we’ve been playing all year as of late, I mean, we’ve got a chance to beat anybody in the nation,” said Austin Roberts.
If the Hornets continue to ride that momentum and end up winning the Stanford regional this weekend, then they will have advanced farther than any Sacramento State baseball team has ever gone in the postseason. Of course, it would also mean they would be one step closer to the College World Series.
“They feel like we’re playing really good baseball right now,” said Hornets head coach Reggie Christiansen. “They feel like they could beat anybody. So I certainly think there is some momentum going into it but, obviously, we have to pitch and play defense at a high level in order to have a chance to win on Friday and to have a chance to win this weekend.”
The steady success of the baseball program coupled with more than 40% of the roster being from the local region certainly echos loudly in favor of all sports teams the Hornets field.
“Having Sacramento State on a national stage for baseball helps all of our programs and our university,” said Sacramento State Athletic Director Mark Orr. “It’s very important and it’s intentional that you see 40% of this team from the local community. This is Sacramento’s university, so we want to keep our local talent home in Sacramento, participate in the 21 programs we have here that we offer.”
“I understand that some of the conferences are a little bit sexier, which is fine,” Christiansen told FOX40. “But do you want to play in the NCAA Tournament or do you want to play in the Pac-12 or the Big West and not get a chance to do that?”