Raley Field Goes Black And Orange In First Ever River Cats, Giants Exhibition Game

Photos by Shawn Jonas

Big League club plays its stars, goes back to Bay Area 8-4 winners

WEST SACRAMENTO, CA – The fans painted it black and orange at Raley Field Wednesday night, as the Sacramento River Cats hosted their major league affiliate in the first ever Exhibition Game between the River Cats and San Francisco Giants. In front of a sellout crowd, the River Cats fell 8-4 to their big league rivals.

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The orange and black wasn’t just present in the stands, as the River Cats used the historic game to debut their all-new orange Sactown jerseys. These jerseys – which feature both the Tower and Golden Gate bridges – will be worn at all Friday home games starting this season. The Giants brought the black with their solid black 2016 Spring Training jerseys.

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It was more than just matching colors on display, though, as the Giants put out a lineup that closely resembles what fans can expect in San Francisco on Opening Day. Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Sergio Romo, and more headlined the Giants Exhibition lineup. Posey, Crawford, and Belt each hit a home run and combined to go 5-for-10 with four runs scored and five RBIs.

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On the mound for the Giants it was Johnny Cueto, George Kontos, Sergio Romo, and Santiago Casilla. Cueto picked up his second win of the spring while Romo and Casilla combined for a perfect eighth and ninth inning.

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Opposite them, the River Cats introduced Sacramento to their 2016 roster, including fan favorites Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson. Newcomers Gorkys Hernandez and Hak-Ju Lee were impressive in their Sacramento debut, as well. Hernandez was just 1-for-4, but was aggressive on the base paths and nearly made an incredible catch, almost robbing Belt of a home run to straight-away center. Lee set the pace for the offense, launching a two-run home run to start the scoring for the night and reaching base three times.

Chris Stratton got the nod for Sacramento, making his first start at Raley Field since September 4, when he struck out eight in six innings of work. He went four innings and allowed four runs on seven hits in tonight’s game. Stratton was followed by lefty Matt Lujan, who went the rest of the way for Sacramento and surrendered four runs on six hits.

The River Cats are back in action on Thursday, April 7 as they travel to Salt Lake to open their season against the Bees. The home opener is scheduled for Friday, April 15, also against the Bees.

Press Release Courtesy of the Sacramento River Cats Media Relations

Sacramento Republic FC Defeats Seattle Sounders FC 2 1-0 In Season Opener On The Road

Stewart’s penalty is enough as Republic FC earn first victory of 2016 USL season.

Sacramento Republic FC kicked off their 2016 USL season on Friday with a bang, earning three road points against Seattle Sounders FC 2 in their first match-up of the season with a 1-0 win.

Sacramento Republic FC started the match with constant, sustained pressure on the Seattle Sounders FC 2 defense. In just the 5th minute, Republic FC earned their first chance of the night as forward Thomas Stewart worked his way past the S2 defense on the left side of the box and sent a cross in front of goal towards Danny Barrera and Adam Jahn, who were both sprinting up the pitch. Both Barrera and Jahn slid toward the ball, but the cross bounced just past both players’ reach and rolled harmlessly past the goal.

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Despite the early chance for Republic FC, the match quickly leveled out for both sides, with the majority of the play contained to the middle of the pitch for the first half and few looks for either side toward goal.

S2’s best look at goal came in the 42nd minute when forward Aaron Kovar received the ball on a breakaway on the right side of the pitch. Kovar slowed near the right corner of the box, stepped over the ball a few times before firing a strong left footed shot toward goal, but Republic FC goalkeeper Dominik Jakubek was in position to easily save the ball and preserve the empty scoreline.

The second half started slower than the first half with both clubs looking to gain an advantage. S2 had the first solid look on goal in the 48th minute when forward Darwin Jones beat the defense down the left side of the pitch, but were unable to score. Jones took the ball to the endline near the edge of the six-yard box before sending a shot toward the top left corner of the goal. The shot had good pace, but was just high and wide right of the goal.

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Republic FC finally broke the scoreless deadlock in the 63rd minute. Jahn was taken down on the right side of the box while trying to run down a through ball, earning Republic FC a penalty kick. Stewart stepped up to take the penalty and sent a strong low shot to the right and past S2 keeper Charlie Lyon, who dove to the left, giving Republic FC a 1-0 lead.

S2 looked to respond with a constant barrage of attacks, but were unable to break through Republic FC’s strong defense. S2’s best chance of the second half came in the 76th minute. Kovar received the ball behind the defense on the left side. The forward pushed the ball toward goal and just outside of the box tried to slide a cross to the middle but the ball was deflected toward goal. Jakubek who had been moving to defend the cross was able to quickly change direction, diving back to his right and making the save to preserve his shutout.

“We are a family,” said Jakubek following the match. “We all believe in each other, we work for each other, there are no egos. If we can stay close knit and keep playing that family football we can do it again.”

Republic FC return home to host Arizona United SC in their 2016 USL Home Opener on Saturday, Apr. 2 at Bonney Field. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster.com.

Seattle Sounders FC 2 0:1 Sacramento Republic FC
USL Match
Starfire Stadium – Tukwila, WA
March 25, 2016 – Attendance: 1,277

Scoring Summary: SRFC – Thomas Stewart (penalty) 63

Misconduct Summary: SRFC – Agustin Cazarez (caution) 60, Tommy Thompson (caution) 67.

Sacramento Republic FC – Dominik Jakubek; Emrah Klimenta, Derek Foran, Chris Christian, James Kiffe; Agustin Cazarez, JJ Koval, Danny Barrera, Tommy Thompson (Alfonso Motagalvan 90); Tommy Stewart, Adam Jahn (Cameon Iwasa 80).

Subs Not Used: Evan Newton, Mike da Fonte, Max Alvarez, Ivan Mirković, Chase Minter.

Seattle Sounders FC 2 – Charlie Lyon; Oniel Fisher, Tobi Jnohope, Tony Alfaro, Dylan Alfaro, Dyln Remick; Michael Farfan (Emir Alihodzic 46), Nathan Sturgis, Zach Mathers (Nkongho O’Ojong 88); Darwin Jones, Andy Craven (Handwalla Bwana 73), Aaron Kovar (Nick Hinds 88).

Press Release Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Photo Courtesy to Charis Wilson

Oakland Raiders Re-Sign Left Tackle Donald Penn

Photo by Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have re-signed T Donald Penn, the club announced Thursday.

Penn signed with the Raiders in March 2014 after eight seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Over the last two years, he has started all 32 games at left tackle for Oakland, extending his remarkable streak to 144 consecutive games played and 140 consecutive starts with the Raiders and Buccaneers. His 144 straight games played and 140 straight starts, both of which date back to 2007, are tied for second and third, respectively, among active NFL offensive linemen.

Last season, Penn was a key part of an offensive unit that produced four Pro Bowlers – QB Derek Carr, WR Amari Cooper, RB Latavius Murray and FB Marcel Reece. Cooper became the first Raiders to reach 1,000 receiving yards since 2005 and Murray the first Raider to reach 1,000 rushing yards since 2010.

He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings in 2006 before being signed off the practice squad by the Buccaneers later that season. The 6-foot-4, 315-pounder was named to the Pro Bowl after the 2010 season.

The Inglewood, Calif., native attended Utah State, where he started 44 consecutive games at both tackle positions for the Aggies.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Sacramento Republic FC Sign Midfielder Chase Minter

Minter was selected 21st overall in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft by the Columbus Crew.

SACRAMENTO, Calif.Sacramento Republic FC have agreed to a contract with midfielder Chase Minter for the 2016 USL season. Minter was the 21st overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft by the Columbus Crew after playing collegiately at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

“We are delighted to bring in Chase, a player we found at Cal Poly while scouting the college system,” said Republic FC Head Coach and Technical Director Paul Buckle. “He is a player that can play two or three positions, but mainly as a left winger. He is full of energy, has an incredible work rate, but is also very comfortable on the ball.”

Minter played four seasons with Cal Poly from 2012-2015, appearing in 77 matches, including 67 starts. Minter recorded 21 assists and scored 16 goals in four seasons. He recorded back-to-back seven goal seasons (2014, 2015) and had over five assists in three straight seasons (2013-2015). Minter lead Cal Poly in goals and assists in each of the last two seasons.

Minter also played with the Ventura County Fusion (PDL) from 2013-2014. He appeared in 17 matches over two seasons scoring three goals and recording four assists in 1,094 minutes played.

Sacramento Republic FC kick off their 2016 USL season on Friday, Mar. 25 when they travel to Tukwila, Wash. to take on Seattle Sounders FC 2. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at the Starfire Sports Complex. Single match tickets are currently on sale for the 2016 Republic FC Home Opener on April 2 vs Arizona United SC at Ticketmaster.com.

Press Release Courtesy of the Sacramento Republic FC Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign S Brynden Trawick

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent S Brynden Trawick (BREN-den TRAH-wick), the club announced Wednesday.

Trawick has appeared in 38 games with one start for the Baltimore Ravens since he originally signed with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2013. He owns 10 career tackles (seven solo) and one pass defensed and has added 21 tackles on special teams. Trawick also appeared in two postseason games with Baltimore in 2014.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder appeared in all 16 games for the first time in his career in 2015, finishing the season with career highs in tackles (seven), passes defensed (one) and special teams tackles with nine. In his only career start on Oct. 26, 2015 at Arizona, Trawick posted four tackles (three solo), both career bests.

After signing with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2013, Trawick began his NFL career on the Ravens’ practice squad before being signed to the active roster during his rookie campaign. He tied for third on the team with eight special teams tackles as a rookie and went on to play in 14 games in his second season in 2014.

A native of Marietta, Ga., Trawick played collegiately at Troy after spending time at Northeast Mississippi Community College and Michigan State. Trawick earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors as a senior in 2012. He spent the 2010 season at Northeast Mississippi Community College after playing as a redshirt freshman at Michigan State.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Re-Sign WR Andre Holmes

Photo by Shawn Jonas

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have re-signed WR Andre Holmes, the club announced Tuesday.

Holmes has appeared in 42 games with 18 starts over the last three seasons with the Raiders. He set career highs in 2014 with 47 receptions and 693 receiving yards, which led the team. A key special teams contributor, he finished tied for second on the team last season with seven tackles, and also posted 14 receptions for 201 yards and four touchdowns.

For his career, the 6-foor-4, 210-pounder has totaled 88 receptions for 1,336 yards (15.2 average) and nine touchdowns in 49 career games.

Holmes, who was claimed via waivers from the New England Patriots in May 2013, played in seven games for the Dallas Cowboys in 2012, registering two catches for 11 yards. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Vikings in 2011 before joining the Cowboys later that year.

A native of Elk Grove, Ill., Holmes is one of just six players in NFL history from Hillsdale College to play in an NFL. At Hillsdale, Holmes earned first-team all-conference honors all three years, and turned in one of the most productive seasons in school history, setting single-season school records for receptions (104) and receiving yards (1,368) as a senior in 2010.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign LB Daren Bates

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent LB Daren Bates, the club announced Monday.

Bates has played in 44 games for the St. Louis Rams over the last three seasons after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2013. Seeing action primarily on special teams, Bates has totaled 24 special teams tackles to go along with 25 tackles (21 solo), two fumble recoveries and one pass defensed on defense. He has also registered a blocked field goal and a special teams touchdown on a fumble recovery.

Last season, the 5-foot-11, 225-pounder posted four tackles (four solo) and one pass defensed, and finished third on the team with 10 special teams tackles in 15 games played.

A native of Memphis, Tenn., Bates played in 49 games at Auburn, totaling 316 tackles. He earned third-team All-SEC honors as a senior after leading the Tigers with 94 tackles.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Release LB Curtis Lofton

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have released LB Curtis Lofton, the club announced Friday.

Lofton played in 16 games for the Raiders in 2015, totaling 80 tackles (53 solo), one sack and one fumble recovery. Over eight seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Raiders, Lofton has played in 128 games with 120 starts.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign LB Bruce Irvin

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent LB Bruce Irvin, the club announced Thursday.

Irvin has spent the last four seasons as a member of the Seattle Seahawks after they selected him in the first round (15th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft. For his career, Irvin has totaled 58 games played with 37 starts, 132 tackles (87 solo), 22 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, three interceptions and seven passes defensed.

Playing under Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., who was the linebackers coach for his first three years in Seattle, Irvin helped Seattle to a victory in Super Bowl XLVIII, and was also part of a Seahawks defense that finished as the number-one-ranked unit in 2013 and 2014.

Last season, the 6-foot-3, 248-pounder posted 38 tackles (22 solo) and 5.5 sacks to go along with one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and two passes defensed. In 2012, he led all NFL rookies and set a career high with eight sacks, including three multi-sack games, and was named to Pro Football Weekly’s All-Rookie Team.

A native of Atlanta, Ga., Irvin played in 26 games over two seasons at West Virginia, totaling 61 tackles (45 solo), 22.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and one pass defensed. As a senior, he was named to the All-Big East Conference First Team and All-Big East Conference Second Team as a junior.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations

Oakland Raiders Sign CB Sean Smith

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent CB Sean Smith, the club announced Thursday.

Smith has spent the last three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs after beginning his career with the Miami Dolphins from 2009-12. He has played in 108 games with 100 starts over his seven-year career, totaling 350 tackles (308 solo), 10 interceptions with 191 return yards and one returned for a touchdown, 80 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. In three postseason starts with the Chiefs, Smith totaled 14 tackles (10), one interception and three passes defensed.

Originally entering the league as a second-round pick (61st overall) by the Miami Dolphins in the 2009 NFL Draft, Smith has posted multiple interceptions in four of his last five seasons, including two in the 2015 regular season and one more in the postseason. He has also started all 16 games at cornerback in four of his seven season NFL seasons (2009, 2011-12 and 2014).

Last season, the 6-foot-3, 218-pounder started the final 13 games of the season for Kansas City, posting 45 tackles (40) with two interceptions and 12 passes defensed. In two postseason starts last season, Smith added 10 tackles (nine) and one interception with two passes defensed.

A native of Pasadena, Calif., Smith started 22 of his 39 games as a three-year letterman at Utah from 2006-08. In his collegiate career, he recorded 80 tackles (43), nine interceptions and16 passes defensed.

Press Release Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders Media Relations