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‘I couldn’t help but laugh’: College baseball player Matt Masciangelo hit by pitch 8 times in 9 plate appearances

Kirby Lee/AP

When baseball players are hit by pitches, it’s likely for one of two reasons: a move of retaliation from the pitcher’s team or an errant throw.

So when college baseball player Matt Masciangelo was hit by eight pitches in nine plate appearances over three games across the weekend, he must have seriously drawn the ire of his opponents or suffered historically bad misfortune.

The 23-year-old was making his debut for the Sacramento State Hornets on Friday in a doubleheader against Loyola Marymount having transferred from the California State Bakersfield Roadrunners before the season got underway.

However, the outfielder’s potential dream start had several rude awakenings, as he was hit by a pitch seven times in eight plate appearances across the two games.

Masciangelo was hit three times in a 4-0 defeat in Game 1 and four more in a 12-10 Game 2 loss.

According to the Hornets, the last time a Sac State player was hit by a pitch at least three times in a single game was Aaron Zeidman in 2021.

According to MLB’s official website, the single-game record for the most times hit by a pitch is three, with seven batters holding that record.

Only one player has ever been hit as many as five times in a doubleheader according to the MLB: Hall of Famer Frank Chance in a double-header for the Chicago Cubs against the Cincinnati Reds in 1904.

“After the third HBP (hit by pitch) in the first game, I couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation,” Masciangelo told the MLB website after the Friday doubleheader.

“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.”

However, things got even weirder for Masciangelo when he next took to the plate in Sunday’s game against Loyola Marymount and was hit again.

That made it eight HBPs in nine appearances at the plate and, just three games into the season, the Sacramento State social media account is already letting people know where Masciangelo stands on the school’s single-season HBP records.

According to the school’s X – formerly known as Twitter – account, the school record in a season is 19, while the NCAA’s is 37.

Masciangelo will need a big slice of good – or bad – luck to reach those lofty heights, but he’s well on pace with eight in just three games.

While pitchers do intentionally aim for batters on occasion, Masciangelo doesn’t believe he was being targeted.

“That thought never crossed my mind, none of the HBP 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.”

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