SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Junior right-hander Taylor Stroud threw a six-hit shutout in the first game of today's doubleheader to highlight Sacramento State's split with Nevada in a non-conference softball doubleheader Wednesday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The Hornets won the first game, 1-0, before the Wolf Pack came back to win the nightcap by a 5-1 score.
With the split, the Hornets moved their record to 17-13 while Nevada is now 22-16. Sacramento State won two of the three games it played against Nevada this year, including a 9-7 win earlier this season at a tournament in San Luis Obispo.
Today marked the final non-conference and midweek games of the year for the Hornets, as each of the final 15 games of the regular season will be against Big Sky Conference competition. That includes a three-game series later this week on the road at Southern Utah. The Hornets and Thunderbirds will play a doubleheader on Friday, followed by a single game on Saturday.
Stroud was impressive the entire way, allowing Nevada just six singles while walking three and striking out a season-high seven batters over seven innings. What made the performance even better is it came against a potent Nevada offense that entered the game with a .321 team batting average and 36 home runs. Stroud threw 114 pitches, stranded nine Wolf Pack runners on base, and limited Nevada to just one hit in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position. That included getting .386 hitter Jasmine Jenkins to harmlessly pop out with runners at first and second and two outs in the seventh inning.
Sacramento State didn't get much going offensively as Wolf Pack starter Karlyn Jones allowed just five hits and one run while walking none and striking out four over six innings. However, the Hornets did push across the game's lone run in the second inning when Alexa Chattleton's two-out double scored Alyssa Vanderdrink. That was all the run support Stroud needed as she kept Nevada off the board despite allowing at least one base runner in every inning but the fourth.
The win for Stroud (4-4) was her fourth of the season, and she lowered her ERA to 2.98 in the process. Jones (13-7) got the loss for the Wolf Pack. Chattleton, Vanderdrink, Emily McCormick, Paige Martin and Kortney Solis all had hits for the Hornets.
The win for Sacramento State also improved the team's record to 10-5 in one-run games.
After the Hornets took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, Nevada responded with two runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh to win by a 5-1 score. Sacramento State starter Caitlin Brooks was cruising along, allowing just one hit through the first five innings. However, the Wolf Pack strung together three straight hits to start the sixth, and Brooks was replaced by reliever Kaitlyn Yerby. By the time the sixth inning ended, Nevada had a 2-1 lead, which included an RBI-double from Sara Parsons and a bases-loaded walk to pinch hitter Megan Fincher.
The Wolf Pack tacked on three more in the seventh off Yerby with the big blow coming on a two-run single from Parsons. After sending just 19 batters to the plate in the first five innings of the game, Nevada sent 16 batters to the plate over the final two innings. The Wolf Packs' Nos. 2-4 hitters of Caylin Campbell (2-for-4, two runs), Megan Sweet (2-for-4) and Parsons (3-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs) combined to go 7-for-12 with four runs scored.
Sacramento State scored its lone run in the fifth inning on a two-out, RBI-single from Vanderdrink which scored McCormick from second base. The Hornets had runners at second and third base later in the inning, and Solis hit what looked like would be a two-run single into right field. But Nevada second baseman Karley Hopkins made a diving stop to not only save two runs, but also threw out Solis at first base to end the inning.
Brooks (9-5) got the loss, allowing four hits and two runs while walking one and striking out seven over five-plus innings. It marked the first time in seven starts that Brooks had allowed more than three hits. Megan Dortch, who threw a robust 140 pitches, got the win, allowing nine hits and one run with two walks and nine strikeouts over seven innings. Sacramento State stranded 10 runners on base.
NOTES -- The Hornet offense has now failed to score more than three runs in 13 straight games, the longest streak since going 15 straight games from Feb. 9-March 11, 2005.