MORAGA, Calif. — Sacramento State right-hander Caitlin Brooks threw all 11 innings, and Paige Martin had three hits and an RBI to highlight the Hornets' 6-3, 11-inning win over Saint Mary's in the first game of a softball doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Cottrell Field. The Gaels won the second game, 2-0, behind a three-hit shutout from pitcher Lujane Mussadi.
With the split, the Hornets, who continue to play an abundance of close games, moved their record to 4-4 on the young season. The Gaels, who have played a tough schedule thus far, moved their record to 1-6. The two teams used to be rivals in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference, but Sacramento State is beginning its first year in the Big Sky Conference this season.
Of the Hornets' eight games thus far in 2013, all have been decided by three runs or less, and five have been decided by one run.
In the opener of today's doubleheader, Brooks allowed just six hits and three runs while walking three and striking out eight in a career-high 11 innings pitched. In fact, the 11 innings were the most thrown by a Sacramento State pitcher since Megan Schaefer tossed 11 innings in a 2-1 home win over CSU Bakersfield on April 1, 2009. Perhaps most impressive about Brooks' performance is she appeared to get stronger as the game went along, allowing just one single during the final five innings, and retiring the last seven batters in succession.
Trailing, 2-0, the Hornets strung together three runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a 3-2 lead. All three of those runs came after two outs had been recorded in the inning. Alexa Chattleton's RBI-double scoring Alyssa Vanderdrink got the scoring started, followed by an RBI-single from Frye to plate Chattleton. After a stolen base from Frye, Martin drove her in with a single to center field.
Saint Mary's immediately tied the game after Andrea Hazel led off the bottom of the sixth with a home run to left. The Gaels hit two home runs in the game, including a two-run blast from Sarah Lira in the third inning, marking the first round trippers a Sacramento State pitcher has allowed this season.
Both teams remained scoreless in the seventh, eight, ninth and 10th, before the Hornets finally broke through with three runs and four hits in the 11th inning. Highlighting the inning were an RBI-single from Alexis Martinez, an RBI-double from Kortney Solis and an RBI-single from Lauren Blair.
Sacramento State stranded 13 runners on base, including five during the first two innings of play. Brooks improved to 3-1 with the win while Lira (0-2) picked up the loss in relief for the Gaels, allowing six hits and three runs (two earned) in 5.1 innings of work.
Martin (3-for-6 with a run and an RBI), Frye (2-for-6 with a run and an RBI), Solis (2-for-6 with a run and an RBI) and Vanderdrink (2-for-4 with a run) all had multiple-hit games for Sacramento State.
In the second game, Mussadi was dominant the entire way, allowing just three hits without a walk and striking out three batters. She faced just three batters over the minimum, and the Hornets never got a runner past first base. Mussadi (1-1) set down the side in order in all but three innings, and two of Sacramento State's three hits were infield singles.
Making her first career collegiate start, Sacramento State freshman right-hander Jennifer Hartman (0-1) pitched well, but took the loss. The Bonita, Calif., native allowed just four hits and two runs while walking two and striking out nine batters over six innings. Hartman struck out at least one batter in every inning.
A walk, a hit batter, and an RBI-fielders choice helped aid Saint Mary's in getting its first run of the game in the third inning. The Gaels tacked on an insurance run in the sixth after Lira led off the inning with her second home run of the day.
Frye, Martin and Emily McCormick accounted for the Hornets' hits in the game.
Sacramento State plays just one time next week on Tuesday, Feb. 19, when the team travels to San Jose State for a game beginning at 2:30 p.m.
NOTES -- Frye had a hit in both games today, and extended her hitting streak to five games. Dating back to last season, she has hit safely in 30 of her last 34 games…freshman second baseman Kayla Papez had to leave in the second inning of the first game with a knee injury after sliding into the catcher in a play at home plate…Sacramento State started seven underclassmen in the first game of today's doubleheader, and six underclassmen in the second game.