JOHN SMITH FIELD
Sacramento State's John Smith Field opened in 1953, was renovated in 2002, and received lights for the first time during the 2016 season.read more
Reggie Christiansen, the 2012 and 2014 Western Athletic Conference coach of the year and Major League Baseball’s Northern California scouts Div. I Coach of the Year, completed his sixth year as head coach at Sacramento State in 2016. He took over the reigns of the program after spending the 2009 and 2010 seasons as the associate head coach.
Among 24 Division I baseball teams in California, the Hornets have the 7th most wins over the last five seasons. The team has won 168 total games since 2012, more than several perennial postseason qualifiers including Pepperdine, Stanford, Long Beach State, Cal, USC, and Fresno State.
Over the last five seasons Christiansen’s program has received an All-American Honor (Rhys Hoskins), two all-West Region selections, four Freshman All-American Honors, three WAC Freshmen of the Year, and two WAC Player of the Year honors while Christiansen has twice been named the WAC Coach of the Year. The squad has also won 30 or more games in five straight seasons, the longest such streak since a string of nine straight 30-win seasons from 1985-1993.
The Sacramento State baseball program entered a new era during the 2016 season as lights were installed for the first time in the 63-year history of its home stadium, John Smith Field. The Hornets hosted Pacific in front of a near capacity crowd for the first night game on campus on May 17 with Christiansen and former coaches Cal Boyes and John Smith ceremonially turning on the lights for the first time.
Jake Angier was promoted to pitching coach in August 2016 after three season serving as the Hornets recruiting coordinator and assisting in several areas on the field as an assistant coach. Angier played for head coach Reggie Christiansen for two years at South Dakota State and served as an assistant coach with the Jackrabbits for three seasons before serving as the pitching coach at North Dakota State for three years. He has eight years of Div. I coaching experience.
In his young coaching career Angier has helped mentor three pitchers that reached the major leagues in Caleb Thielbar, Blake Treinen and Layne Somsen.
“Coach Angier was the coach that I had never had at the time I met him,” said Treinen, a reliever with the Washington Nationals. “His ability to push my talent both physically and mentally allowed me to be in a position to have success and further my career. I’m very grateful to have someone who cared about my personal goals as I did and that took the time to invest in helping make them become a reality.”
Former Hornet Andrew Ayers will serve as an Assistant Coach for the Hornets in Fall 2016 after he returned to Sacramento State in the spring to serve as the baseball team’s director of operations during the 2016 season.
“I am thrilled to have Andrew back on campus,” Sacramento State head coach Reggie Christiansen said. “Andrew was an outstanding player; his leadership and play in the 2012 season really helped us to make the next jump as a program. Andrew is very passionate about being a Hornet and will bring a work ethic to the field every day that is second to none.”
Ayers was the recruiting coordinator for the Yavapai College baseball team during the 2015 season and many of his recruits led Yavapai to the 2016 NJCC World Series title. He has also served as an assistant coach for the Humboldt Crabs in the summer of 2014 and 15.
Volunteer Assistant Coach
Tommy Nicholson returns for his second stint on the Hornet coaching staff as the team’s Volunteer Assistant. He had served as the team’s infield and hitting coach for the 2011 and 2012 seasons before leaving Sacramento State to join the staff at Texas, his alma mater, where he was an assistant coach and the recruiting coordinator for the Longhorns for the last four seasons.
“Tommy is a coach that helped me understand who I was as a player, but more importantly he is a great person,” said former Hornet Rhys Hoskins, who Nicholson helped become a Freshman All-American in 2012. “The way he connects with his players and gets the most out of them is something that is immeasurable. The program will benefit tremendously and the players will be lucky to have him around like I was as a freshman.”
Under Nicholson’s direction, the Hornets finished the 2012 season with a school single-season record .979 fielding percentage, committing just 47 errors in 59 games. The 2011 squad finished with a .969 fielding mark, the third-best in school history. Nicholson’s first recruiting haul at Texas – the class of 2013 – was ranked No. 2 nationally by Baseball America, and the 2014 class was ranked seventh by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
Undergraduate Assistant Coach
Tim Wheeler returns to his alma mater after concluding a seven-year professional career that saw him play four seasons for the Rockies’ Triple-A affiliate. He began his coaching career as a hitting coach with the Humboldt Crabs in the summer of 2016.
Wheeler, who was a first-round pick (32nd overall) of the Rockies in 2009, was ranked as the No. 7 prospect in the team’s minors by MLB.com entering 2013. He became the program’s highest draft pick in history, as no Hornet had ever been taken prior to round four.
He hit 33 home runs with 86 RBIs and a .900 OPS at the double-A level in 2011 and reached triple-A in 2012. He appeared poised to reach the big leagues that year, but broke his right hamate bone in the season’s first week. He still hit .303 over 92 games in 2012 and continued to be a starting outfielder for the Triple-A Colorado Spring Sky Sox (and the Albuquerque Isotopes when affiliations changed) through the 2015 season. He hit .263 and totaled 78 home runs and 353 RBIs over his long professional career.
Director of Operations & Camps
Daniel Deo enters his third season working with the Sacramento State baseball team as its Director of Operations and Director of Camps. He had served as Sacramento State’s Director of Video and Camps for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Prior to joining the baseball staff, Daniel worked with Sacramento State Athletics in Facilities and Operations. In addition to his time with the Hornets, Daniel has also worked in varying capacities for the San Diego State Aztecs, San Diego Chargers, San Diego Surf Dawgs and the Oakland Raiders.
A native of Roseville, Calif., Deo is a 2013 graduate of Sacramento State with a degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Environmental Studies.