SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Junior Yesenia Alcala drew a two-out, walkoff bases-loaded walk, and sophomore Caitlin Brooks tossed a three-hit shutout as Sacramento State defeated Northern Colorado, 1-0, in a Big Sky Conference softball game Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium.
In a game that lasted just an hour and 38 minutes, it was Alcala, who took a 3-2 pitch from Northern Colorado starter Kelci Cheney that scored pinch runner Nicole Clark with the game-winning run. With the victory, the Hornets won two games in the three-game series with the Bears, and improved to 16-9 overall and 2-1 in the Big Sky. This week marked the first Big Sky games in Sacramento State softball history as the league began sponsoring softball this season.
Brooks threw her third shutout of the season while improving to 9-3 with a 1.20 ERA. The right-hander walked one, and struck out 10 batters while facing four batters over the minimum. She needed just 96 pitches in today's victory, and avenged a loss to the Bears in the first game of the series yesterday. The 10 strikeouts tied a career high, and she has now allowed three hits or less in five straight starts.
Neither team generated much offense as Cheney was nearly as impressive as Brooks, allowing just four hits and one run in 6.2 innings. The Hornets did not advance a runner past second base until the seventh inning, and all four of the team's hits in the game were singles. In that seventh inning, Kayla Papez led off with a single to left field. Molly Smith then laid down a sacrifice that Northern Colorado (10-20-1, 1-2) elected to throw to second and attempt to get the force, but Papez beat the throw. Alyssa Vanderdrink followed with a sacrifice that pushed runners to second and third base with one out.
Cheney (7-6) retired Alexa Chattleton for the second out, and intentionally walked Kelli Frye to load the bases. That set up Alcala's at-bat, as the junior shortstop took a fast ball on a 3-2 count that missed the strike zone and ended the game. Papez finished the game 2-for-3, and, after her leadoff single in the seventh, is now hitting a ridiculous .750 (6-for-8) in the seventh inning or later this season.
Brooks worked her way out of a one-out, runner on third situation in the sixth inning after striking out Lindsey Smith and getting Morgan Yuhas to fly out to center field.
Sacramento State, which concluded a seven-game homestand today, will play three times next week, including Tuesday at San Jose State followed by home games on Wednesday against San Jose State, and Saturday against sixth-ranked Cal.