SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Sacramento State pitchers Caitlin Brooks and Jennifer Hartman each picked up victories, and Kayla Papez combined for three RBIs to help lead the Hornets to a sweep of Santa Clara in a non-conference softball doubleheader Saturday afternoon at SCU Softball Field. Sacramento State won the first game, 6-2, before taking the nightcap, 3-2.
With the sweep, Sacramento State has won three of its last four games while improving its record to 7-5. The Broncos, who are playing at their brand new field on campus this season, dropped to 2-11. The Hornets and Broncos will conclude the three-game series tomorrow morning with a single game at 11 a.m.
In the opener, Sacramento State scored twice in the first inning, and four more in the fifth to take a 6-0 lead in an eventual 6-2 win. Brooks (5-1) allowed just three hits and two runs while walking a pair and striking out seven. Brooks has now gone the distance in all six of her starts this season, has been the victorious pitcher in five of the Hornets' seven wins, and has struck out at least seven batters in each of her appearances. She had allowed just one hit through the first six innings of the game until allowing two runs and two hits in the seventh.
The Hornets scored their first-inning runs on a pair of RBI-doubles from Emily McCormick and Paige Martin. Sacramento State tacked on four more runs in the fifth inning on RBI-singles from both Kortney Solis and Kayla Papez, as well as bases-loaded walks to Alexa Chattleton and Alyssa Vanderdrink.
Sacramento State recorded nine hits off three Santa Clara pitchers, as the nine hits were tied for the second most by the Hornets this season. Kelli Frye (2-for-4 with two runs), Solis (2-for-4 with a run and an RBI) and Martin (2-for-4 with a run and an RBI) each had multiple-hit games for the Hornets while McCormick scored a pair of runs.
Briana Rios (1-2) got the loss for Santa Clara, allowing four hits and two runs in one inning of work. Of Santa Clara's three hits offensively, only one went for extra bases (a double from Kelly Scribner).
In the nightcap, Hartman allowed just four hits and two unearned runs while striking out four batters in six innings of work to pick up her first collegiate victory. The true freshman from Bonita, Calif., has been impressive in the first two starts of her collegiate career. In 12.0 innings, she has allowed just eight hits and two earned runs while striking out 13 batters and recording a 1.17 ERA and .186 opponents batting average.
It was an eventful bottom of the seventh inning that included an error, hit, walk and a wild pitch, but Taylor Stroud was able to pick up her first save of the season, and fourth of her career.
The Hornets scored all three of their runs in the third inning, highlighted by Papez's two-run single that plated Solis and McCormick. Later in the inning, Alyssa Vanderdrink laid another successful sacrifice bunt which allowed Martin to score what turned out to be the game-winning run from third base. Vanderdrink laid down a walk-off sacrifice bunt that beat UC Davis in the ninth inning three days ago.
The Broncos cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth inning with two runs that were aided by a Sacramento State error. With the score still 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Stroud got the first batter of the inning to ground out before a Hornet error allowed Rochelle Rivera to reach base. Chiara Biagini then popped out for what should have been a 1-2-3 inning for Stroud. Instead, there were two outs, and a single and a walk loaded the bases for Scribner. However, Stroud got Scribner to ground out and end the game.
Each of the Hornets' first six batters of the lineup picked up a hit, as Santa Clara's Carissa Theis (0-5) got the loss, allowing five hits and three runs over three innings. Ciara Gonzales worked four innings of shutout relief.
After tomorrow's game, Sacramento State will return 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 -- McCormick improved her hitting streak to a career-high tying six games with a hit in both games today…Solis improved her hitting streak to five games…Martin has now reached base safely via hit and/or walk in 10 straight games, and is hitting .344 with a .406 on-base percentage over that stretch.