7 questions for the player who got hit by pitch 7 times in 1 day

February 17th, 2024

Matt Masciangelo made a mark in his debut for Sacramento State on Friday, but that's six fewer marks than were made on him.

Over the course of a doubleheader against Loyola Marymount, the junior outfielder was hit by a pitch seven times in eight plate appearances. The Hornets took losses in both games, 4-0 in Game 1 and dropping the nightcap, 12-10, in 11 innings. Masciangelo, who transferred to Sacramento State from Cal State Bakersfield, shared seven painful truths about his historic day.

MLB.com: What is your best explanation of how this happened?

Masciangelo: Baseball is a game full of surprises, and this was one for the books. As fate would have it, I consistently found my way to first base without swinging the bat. Maybe it was my stance or the pitchers' game plan to come inside, but either way, it was an unusual way to get on base. I always approach the plate with a plan to drive the ball, but it didn’t work out that way tonight. I’m just glad I was able to get on base and give my team a chance to score runs.

MLB.com: Looks like you were only hit by pitch one time in around 30 plate appearances last year. Are you doing something different at the plate to start this year?

Masciangelo: Not intentionally. My approach at the plate has always been to stay aggressive and look for pitches I can drive. If anything's changed, it's perhaps the pitchers' approach to me, not mine to hitting. Baseball is unpredictable, and while I prepare for every at-bat with as consistent of an approach as I can, these unusual moments find their way into the game. I have moved slightly closer to the plate than I was last year, but nothing substantial.

MLB.com: Had you ever been hit more than once in a game?

Masciangelo: Before this, being hit more than once in a game was uncharted territory for me. It's one of those aspects of baseball you're aware of but never really anticipate experiencing to such an extent. It was definitely a first, and hopefully, a last.

MLB.com: Was there any one HBP that hurt worse than the others?

Masciangelo: Each one had its own “charm,” but I'd say the one that caught me off guard, and was the most painful, was the final HBP. It's one thing to anticipate a pitch coming your way, but it's another to be surprised by the velocity and location. The final HBP got me pretty good in the shin area. I’ll shake it off…

MLB.com: At what point did you realize you’d crossed over into the realm of absurdity?

Masciangelo: After the third HBP in the first game, I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation. It's not every day you find yourself trotting to first base, multiple times, without swinging. I guess it was after that moment I realized this was completely ludicrous. I had four more balls unfortunately find me after that, but hey, I’ll take the on base percentage bump.

MLB.com: Were any of the HBP intentional in your mind?

Masciangelo: That thought never crossed my mind, none of the HBP felt malicious. Baseball is a strategic game, and sometimes in the heat of the moment pitches get away from even the best pitchers. I like to give them the benefit of the doubt and focus on how I can use each opportunity to help my team win games, even if it means taking a few for the team.

MLB.com: Was there anything else notable or significant about all these HBP that we wouldn't be able to glean from the box score?

Masciangelo: Beyond the numbers, these HBPs brought a unique team dynamic. It's not just about getting on base; it's about how we as a team adapt and capitalize on every opportunity, expected or not. It highlighted our resilience and ability to find humor in the face of adversity. Plus, it's a reminder that in baseball, just like in life, you've got to roll with the “pitches."