SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Sacramento State scored three times in the top of the seventh inning, including a two-out, RBI-single from Paige Martin and a two-out, two-run single from Kayla Papez, to propel the Hornets to a 4-3 win over Santa Clara on Sunday afternoon at the SCU Softball Field.
With the victory, the Hornets, who entered the seventh and final inning trailing, 3-1, completed a three-game sweep of Santa Clara, which included a pair of wins yesterday. Sacramento State has now won four of its last six games while improving to 8-5 this season. In addition, the Hornets have now defeated the Broncos on 24 consecutive occasions dating back to 2007.
Things weren't looking good as the Hornets entered the seventh inning trailing by two runs, and the team had already left eight runners on base through the first six innings. Santa Clara pitcher Jessica Turner retired Kelli Frye to start the seventh before Yesenia Alcala and Emily McCormick followed with back-to-back singles. That's when the Broncos decided to bring in reliever Ciara Gonzales, who threw four innings of shutout relief yesterday against the Hornets.
Gonzales retired Kortney Solis for the second out, which set up the heroics of Martin and Papez. Martin drove a 2-2 pitch to right field which scored Alcala from second base, and both Martin and pinch runner Alexa Chattleton advanced to second and third base, respectively, on the throw to the plate. Papez, who combined for three RBIs yesterday, then drove an 0-2 pitch the opposite way for a single to right field which scored both Chattleton and Martin. The Hornets were down to their last strike on two occasions as Martin and Papez both got their hits with two strikes.
Santa Clara (2-12) got a one-out walk in the bottom of the seventh, but that runner was erased on a game-ending double play induced by Hornet reliever Jennifer Hartman. Martin extended her streak of reaching base safely to 11 games in a big way, collecting three hits, a run and two RBIs. Papez had two more RBIs, and finished the series with five RBIs in nine total at-bats. Making her second start of the season a designated player, freshman Makenzie Wayadande collected two hits to round out the three Hornets with multiple-hit games. In fact, all but two Hornet batters collected at least one hit as the team's 10 hits were the second best mark of the season.
Hartman (2-1) picked up her second win in as many days, this time tossing 4.2 innings of shutout relief as she allowed just four hits and one walk. Kaitlyn Yerby went the first 2.1 innings before being relieved by Hartman in the third.
Gonzales (1-4) got the loss for Santa Clara, allowing two hits and the game-winning run in 0.2 innings of work.
Sacramento State returns to action next week when the team takes part in the three-day, five-game Mustang Classic in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on March 8-10. The Hornets will play both Rutgers and Nevada on Friday, tournament host Cal Poly and Northern Illinois on Saturday, and Cal Poly again on Sunday.
NOTES -- Today marked the second time this season the Hornets erased a two-run deficit in the seventh inning to win, with the other coming in a 3-2 victory against Southern Miss…Emily McCormick increased her hitting streak to a career-high seven games with her seventh-inning single…during Martin's streak of reaching base safely in 11 straight games, she is batting .389 (14-for-36) with a .450 on-base percentage…Martin is also hitting .500 (8-for-16) with runners in scoring position this season while Papez is 3-for-5 (.600) with runners in scoring position…the Hornets are now 8-3 when Solis starts at catcher.
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