College player hit by pitch 7 times in 8 plate appearances over 1 doubleheader

Sacramento State's Matt Masciangelo happy to 'take the on-base-percentage bump'

February 17th, 2024

Sacramento State outfielder Matt Masciangelo won't soon forget his performance to open the 2024 season, especially with all of the bumps and bruises on his body serving as a painful reminder.

That’s because the 23-year-old was hit by a pitch seven times in eight plate appearances across two games in a doubleheader against Loyola Marymount on Friday, three times in Game 1, a 4-0 loss, and four more times in Game 2, a 12-10 defeat. To put that in context, three is the single-game HBP AL/NL record, with several unlucky batters sharing the distinction.

To put that in even more context, only one AL/NL player has ever been hit as many as five times in a doubleheader -- Hall of Famer Frank Chance, in a twin bill for the Cubs against the Reds on May 30, 1904. In short, seven HBPs in one day is a mark Masciangelo can wear alone.

“After the third HBP in the first game, I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation,” said Masciangelo, who was making his Sacramento State debut after playing for Cal State Bakersfield in 2023. “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.”

Masciangelo posted a .556 OBP last year, but he was only hit by a pitch once. He went 8-for-20 with six walks across 20 games.

While Loyola Marymount’s pitching staff had 11 hit batsmen on the day, Masciangelo took the brunt of it. However, he said he never felt he was being thrown at intentionally.

“That thought never crossed my mind, none of [them] felt malicious,” he said. “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.”

The Gilbert, Ariz., native couldn’t remember ever being hit by a pitch more than one time in a game prior to Friday.

“Before this, being hit more than once in a game was uncharted territory for me,” he said. “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.”

Masciangelo said he hasn’t altered his approach at the plate for the 2024 season. His best explanation for why he was hit seven times on Friday? That’s just baseball.

“Baseball is a game full of surprises, and this was one for the books," he said.

Masciangelo finally got a reprieve from the beating he was taking when he was lifted for a defensive replacement in the top of the ninth with his team leading, 10-4. LMU rallied for six runs to tie it, though, and when Masciangelo's replacement came to bat in the bottom of the 10th ... he was hit by a pitch.