Leading Off: Hornets have chance to show off program

Published: Thursday, May. 29, 2014 - 7:03 pm

They’re underdogs, but they’re not overwhelmed.

The Sacramento State baseball team heads into its first NCAA Division I playoff appearance as the fourth seed in the four-team Cal Poly Regional that starts today in San Luis Obispo. But, as Rhys Hoskins, the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, explained this week, the Hornets don’t view this as a challenge but more as “a great opportunity.”

He’s right. It’s a great chance for Sac State to enhance the profile of its baseball program. It’s perhaps the best local-college story line since UC Davis won the NCAA Division II national championship in basketball in 1998.

The goal for the Hornets is to win the regional, of course, but almost as important is to show they belong, to look the part of an NCAA playoff team. Baseball, a game of failure, can be a humbling exercise, and it’s magnified in the postseason, particularly with ESPN3 streaming the action live for everyone in the country to see.

Sac State coach Reggie Christiansen vowed to make the Hornets a powerhouse program, to build with local recruits in what is known as a baseball town. Christiansen also improved the schedule this spring, taking on national power Oregon State, for example, and earning a split.

And the Hornets are inching closer to having lights for their home field to better showcase their success.

Tonight, they will have a chance to shine under the lights – and in the spotlight – against Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo’s Baggett Field.

– Joe Davidson


What to watch

NBA, Indiana at Miami, 5:30 p.m., ESPN: The Heat looks to bounce back from a Game 5 loss and advance to the Finals for the fourth year in a row.

Today’s poll

Do you follow Sacramento State baseball?

• Yes, attend games often

• Yes, but don’t attend many games

• No

To vote, go to sacbee.com/sports

Wednesday’s results

Should the Kings make a deal to acquire forward Kevin Love ?

• Yes, but only if they can keep DeMarcus Cousins: 59%

• Yes, but only if the deal includes Cousins: 12%

• No, there’s no guarantee he would re-sign: 29%

Total votes: 367

Read more articles by Joe Davidson

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