SOFTBALL CONCLUDES TOURNAMENT WITH 6-2 LOSS TO UC RIVERSIDE
DAVIS, Calif. – UC Riverside overcame a 2-0 deficit with a four-run fifth inning before tacking on two more in the seventh to defeat Sacramento State, 6-2, in the fourth and final round of the Aggie Softball Stampede Sunday afternoon at La Rue Field.
The Hornets held a two-run lead until UC Riverside took advantage of a pair of Sacramento State errors and an illegal pitch to score four unearned runs in the top of the fifth inning. That was more than enough offensive support for Highlander starter Marissa Alvidrez (10-7) who went the distance to pick up her 10th victory of the season.
With the loss, Sacramento State (9-22 overall) concluded the three-day, four-game tournament with a 1-3 record. The Hornets lost to both UC Davis and 14th-ranked Cal on Friday, and defeated UC Riverside on Saturday prior to today’s outcome.
A series of injuries and bad fortune have decimated a Sacramento State squad that was already in the midst of the program’s biggest rebuilding season in recent memory.
The Hornets played the entire tournament without their best player (Desiree Beltran – ankle), best pitcher (Megan Schaefer – concussion), top run producer (Erin Jones – coach’s decision) and a .320 hitter in Jessica Abelia (hand). In fact, Beltran (.462), Jones (.365) and Abelia are three of the top four hitters on the team based on batting average. Beltran and Abelia may be lost for the season because of their injuries. The Hornets started nine underclassmen in today’s game, including six freshmen, three of which are walkons.
Sacramento State scored once in the third inning (sacrifice fly from Emily McCormick) and once more in the fourth (RBI-single from Jillian Canete) to take the 2-0 lead.
What should have been a fifth inning that saw three outs recorded in a span of four batters turned into a frame where UC Riverside scored four times despite getting just two hits. For the second time in three days, an opponent was allowed to score from third base on an illegal pitch. Both times the call was made on Sacramento State starter Shelby Voelz.
The Highlanders tacked on two more runs of insurance in the top of the seventh to put the game away.
Sacramento State out-hit UC Riverside, 8-6, and had at least two hits in four different innings, but could not score more than the two runs. The Hornets stranded seven runners on base.
Alvidrez allowed eight hits and two runs while walking three and striking out three. Voelz (4-13) got the loss, allowing six hits and six runs (two earned) while walking two and striking out two. Voelz had allowed just one hit through the first four innings.
All but two Sacramento State starters had at least one hit, including Nakken, who went 2-for-4 with a run. Nakken hit safely in all four games of the tournament, batting .500 (7-for-14) with four runs, two doubles, a home run and five RBIs over that span.
Sacramento State has just two non-conference tune-up dates remaining before jumping into Pacific Coast Softball Conference play. The first comes next week at home on Tuesday, March 30, when the Hornets host Boise State for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.