FRESNO, Calif. — Sacramento State rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the seventh inning to win its first game of the day over Southern Miss, 3-2, in the second round of the Fresno State Softball Kickoff Saturday morning at Bulldog Diamond. In the second game of the day (and third round of the tournament), the Hornets fell to UC Riverside, 2-1.
Sacramento State is now 2-1 at the three-day, five-game tournament, and each of the team's three games thus far have been decided by one run. That includes yesterday's 3-2 victory over UTEP in the season opener. The Hornets conclude tournament play tomorrow with games against UC Davis at 1:30 p.m., and tournament host Fresno State at 3:45 p.m. The game against the Aggies will count towards the ScholarShare Causeway Cup standings, the annual all-sports competition between the two schools.
In today's first game, the Hornets (2-1) scored three times in the top of the seventh inning to erase what had been a 2-0 deficit against Southern Miss (1-4). After Hornet pitcher Taylor Stroud allowed the Golden Eagles two runs and three hits in the first inning, the right-hander was dominant the rest of the way, allowing just one hit during the final six innings. In fact, no Southern Miss runner got past second base during the final six innings, and Stroud retired the side in order in the seventh. It was Stroud's first start of the season, and she allowed just four hits and two runs while walking one and striking five batters.
In that seventh inning, freshman Kortney Solis led off the frame with her first home run of the season, a shot that cleared the left-center field wall. Freshman Alyssa Vanderdrink then reached based via error. The Golden Eagles pulled starter Kimberly Wagner in favor of reliever Beth Dietrich, who retired her first two batters harmlessly. The next three Hornet hitters, however, would then reach base safely, beginning with a single from Kelli Frye which allowed pinch runner Nicole Clark to score from second base. After a walk to Yesenia Alcala, the Hornets had runners at first and second, and Emily McCormick's RBI-single to right field scored Frye with what proved to be the game-winning run.
The Hornets had just five hits (including three in the seventh inning), but they made them count. Dietrich (0-2) got the loss, allowing two hits and the winning run in her one inning of work. Wagner did not get a decision, allowing just three hits and two runs (one earned) in six-plus innings of work.
Against UC Riverside (2-1), the Hornets opened the scoring in the second inning, with the bases loaded, freshman Kayla Papez reached base via error allowing Paige Martin to score. Sacramento State had the bases loaded and no outs, but pushed across just the single run.
The Highlanders struck for two runs in the third inning on back-to-back two-out, RBI-singles from Alexis Pickett and Ashley Ercolano. The RBI-single from Pickett came on a ball that was lost in the sun by Hornet first baseman Molly Smith. The Hornets' only real threat the rest of the way came in the sixth inning when the team loaded the bases with two outs. However, Alcala was caught trying to steal home to end the frame. Sacramento State also saw Frye caught stealing second base to end the fifth inning.
Making her first start in a Sacramento State uniform, freshman Kaitlyn Yerby (0-1) picked up the loss, allowing nine hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out three over seven innings. The Highlanders' Alyssa Razo (2-0) picked up the win, allowing five hits and one unearned run over seven innings.
NOTES -- Alcala picked up a hit in both games today, and is the only Hornet to hit safely in each of the team's first three games of the season…Sacramento State pitchers have yet to allow a home run this season…the homer by Solis in the seventh inning against Southern Miss' was the team's lone round tripper thus far.