Sac St. to join WAC in baseball
DENVER – The Western Athletic Conference today announced that an invitation for affiliate membership has been issued to and accepted by Sacramento State to join the conference in baseball for the 2006 season.
The addition will give the WAC a total of seven teams for baseball as the Hornets will join Fresno State, Hawai’i, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, New Mexico State and San Jose State in 2006.
Sacramento State is entering its third year as an independent after competing in the Big West from 1998-2002. The Hornets were 29-32 a year ago. Previously, Sacramento State was an affiliate member of the WAC from 1993-96. In 1995, Hornet pitcher Mike Eby was named the WAC’s West Division Player of the Year. Sacramento State is coached by John Smith who has completed 26 years with the Hornets and is 753-706.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for our baseball program,” Athletic Director Dr. Terry Wanless said. “It shows our interest in elevating our entire athletic program to a position of regional and national prominence. We appreciate the trust the WAC has in our program and look forward to the great competition that this membership will provide.”
Sacramento State will remain independent for the 2005 season, which begins Friday, Feb. 4 against Washington State at Hornet Field.
“We are very pleased and extremely honored to have the opportunity to participate in such a prestigious baseball conference,” Smith said. “This affiliation in the Western Athletic Conference should provide an immediate impact on our baseball program and hopefully enhance the entire athletic department as well. We look forward to the challenges that lie ahead.”
“Sacramento State will be a good fit with the baseball teams in the WAC,” said WAC Commissioner Karl Benson. “We expect that they will match up well both competitively and geographically.”
Returning to the diamond this season is senior right-hander Ethan Katz. Katz pitched in 16 games last season, finishing at 9-5 with 90 strikeouts. Also on the pitching staff will be right-handers Warren Rosebrock, Marshall Plouffe and James Wheeler and left-hander Mick Joyce.
The infield will feature senior Pedro Santiago, who hit .322 in 2004. Also returning is senior infielder Brett Flowers, who ended last year with 58 hits and a batting average of .312.
Catcher Matt Wilson also returns after having labrum surgery prior to the 2004 season.