Sacramento State (18-15, 3-3) plays its third Big Sky Conference opponent of the season when the team hosts a three-game series against Weber State (7-30, 2-7) later this week. The Hornets and Wildcats will play a doubleheader on Friday at 1 p.m., followed by a single game on Saturday at noon.
Saturday's game will serve as Breast Cancer Awareness Day, and will feature the Hornets wearing pink uniforms to support and raise awareness for all cancer patients. Fans are also encouraged to wear pink, and a donation table will be set up at the entrance to Shea Stadium with all proceeds going to Sacramento's Mercy Hospital/Mercy Foundation.
Sacramento State is currently in fourth place in the seven-team Big Sky standings, but just one back of second-place Idaho State (4-2) and a half game behind third-place Southern Utah (5-4). Portland State sits atop the conference with an 8-1 record, while Northern Colorado (3-6), North Dakota (2-4) and Weber State (2-7) sit in the final three spots.
The top four teams qualify for the Big Sky Tournament (May 9-11), with the regular season champion hosting the tournament. The winner of the tourney will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Regionals. Sacramento State has 12 conference games remaining on the schedule.
The Hornets will look to bounce back against Weber State after committing seven errors last week and going 1-2 at Southern Utah. Those seven runs contributed to four unearned runs, and had a direct affect on Friday's 3-1 loss in which all three runs allowed were unearned.
Weber State, in its fourth year of sponsoring softball, snapped a nine-game losing streak with Wednesday's 6-1 win at Utah in the second game of a doubleheader. The Wildcats have dropped seven straight Big Sky games after winning their first two of the season against North Dakota.
The Hornets and Wildcats have played one time, and Sacramento State won by a 5-2 score on Feb. 26, 2011, as part of the PCSC Crossover Tournament at Shea Stadium.
All three games this week will be broadcast live via audio stream at www.hornetsports.com by clicking here. Kyle Madson, who is in his fourth year of calling Hornet softball, will handle the announcing duties. In addition, live stats for all home games can be found by clicking here.
HORNETS AGAINST WEBER STATE
Shea Stadium - Sacramento, Calif.
Friday at 1 p.m. (doubleheader); Saturday at noon (single game)
Coverage: Live Audio, Live Stats
Series Record: Hornets Lead, 1-0
Streak: Hornets won the only meeting
Last Meeting: W, 5-2, in Sacramento (2/26/11)
PITCHING STAFF: Sacramento State's pitching staff currently has a 2.17 ERA, which is easily the best mark in the Big Sky Conference, and the 40th best mark in the nation. The staff has allowed two runs or less in 18 of the 33 games thus far, including shutouts in five of the last 13 games. Opponents are hitting just .221 off Sacramento State pitching.
HAVING A ROUGH TIME ON THE HOME FIELD: Notoriously a strong team at home, Sacramento State has not had that same success at Shea Stadium in 2013. The Hornets are 6-8, and have dropped four of their last six games on the home field. In 14 games at Shea, the Hornet offense has combined for just a .218 batting average, .284 slugging percentage and .285 on-base percentage. Away from home, the offense is batting .288 with a .388 slugging percentage and .355 on-base percentage. The team has combined for just 19 RBIs in 14 home games (1.4 per game), compared to 70 RBIs in 19 games away from home (3.7 per game).
LACK OF THIEVERY: Sacramento State has just four stolen bases this year, and one in the last 22 games. In fact, all four stolen bases have been accumulated by center fielder Kelli Frye (4-for-5), while the rest of the team is a combined 0-for-5 in stolen base opportunities. Since joining the Div. I ranks in 1990, Sacramento State's low for stolen bases in a season is 11, set during the 1990 season. The Hornets haven't finished with less than 21 stolen bases in a season in the last 15 years.
NOT MANY HOME DATES LEFT: Amazingly, Sacramento State, which has already played 14 home games this season, has just four dates at Shea Stadium remaining on the regular season schedule. The Hornets play three games over two days (April 12-13) this week, and conclude the regular season with a three-game series against Idaho State on May 4-5.
#1 Kayla Papez - Has started a team-high 27 games at second base, but just two starts over the last six games…defensively, she has just one error in her last 14 games…in the seventh inning or later, she is batting .750 (6-for-8) with three RBIs…overall, she is batting .152 (5-for-33) at the plate in her last 13 games.
#2 Paige Martin - One of three players to start all 33 games…has reached base safely via hit and/or walk in 29 of her last 32 games…team leader and fourth in the Big Sky with a .366 batting average…also the team leader in hits (37) and on-base percentage (.443)…hitting .529 (18-for-34) with runners in scoring position, .500 (20-for-40) with two outs, and .474 (9-for-19) against Big Sky opposition.
#3 Lauren Blair - Has started five of the last six games at second base, and has a total of six starts at the position this year…over her last six games, she is batting .286 (4-for-14) with two runs, a double, two home runs and five RBIs…that includes a grand slam in the Hornets' 8-0 win at Southern Utah on Friday…has two home runs and five RBIs in her last 14 at-bats after combining for no home runs and three RBIs in the first 58 at-bats of her career.
#8 Kaitlyn Yerby - In four relief appearances, she has allowed eight hits and three runs in a combined 11.0 innings of work (1.91 ERA)…in three starts, she has a 5.11 ERA…had a streak of 10 straight innings without allowing a run until giving up three runs to Nevada in the seventh inning on April 3.
#9 Kortney Solis - Is the team's fourth leading hitter with a .292 batting average…has started all but two games at catcher…has not committed an error since the eighth game of the season…reached base safely in a team-high 16 straight games earlier this season…in her last three games, she is 5-for-9 with two runs scored, two doubles, a triple, a walk and three RBIs…batting .353 against conference opposition.
#10 Jennifer Hartman - Is 4-3 with a 2.77 ERA, and opponents have hit just .220 against her pitching…has allowed two runs or less in six of her eight appearances this year, including an eight-inning shutout against Kansas, which was the nation's top hitting team at the time…opponents are hitting just .209 against Hartman with runners in scoring position…has not pitched in the last six games.
#12 Emily McCormick - One of three players to start all 33 games this year…hitting .314 with team highs in doubles (9) and RBIs (13)…has a five-game hitting streak, and is batting .563 (9-for-16) with two doubles, two walks and an RBI over that stretch…now has 40 career doubles, the most in Sacramento State history.
#14 Taylor Stroud - Is 4-6 with a 2.71 ERA…has 13 appearances, including seven starts (six complete game) and six relief appearances…has allowed just three home runs in 59.1 innings pitched (one every 19.2 ip)…over her last three appearances, she has a 0.48 ERA, allowing just one earned run in 14.2 innings during that stretch.
#18 Kelli Frye - Sacramento State is 12-4 when she scores at least one run…all 31 of her starts have come in center field…ranks third on the team with a .306 batting average…leads the team in runs scored (17), triples (3) and stolen bases (4)…has all four of the Hornets' stolen bases this season…batting .500 (15-for-30) with runners in scoring position, the second best mark on the team.
#20 Riley Price - Has started six of the last eight games at designated player…has four hits in her last six at-bats after combining for two hits in her first 28 at-bats of the season.
#22 Alyssa Vanderdrink - Has started 27 games at first base…is batting .243 with a team-high three home runs…her 12 RBIs are the second most on the squad…is hitting .053 (1-for-19) against Big Sky opposition…has batted everywhere in the lineup except first, fourth and ninth.
#23 Yesenia Alcala - One of three players to start all 33 games, making each of those starts at shortstop…currently has a four-game hitting streak…leads the team with 11 sacrifices, but has just one sacrifice over the last 20 games…28 of her starts have come in the No. 2 spot of the team's batting lineup.
#24 Alexa Chattleton - Has started 24 games in left field and two starts in center field…has hit safely in three of her last four starts.
#25 Caitlin Brooks - Has posted a 10-5 record and a 1.39 ERA…that includes allowing fifth-ranked Cal just one run and two hits while striking out 10 batters over seven innings…among the nation's leaders, she is 12th in hits allowed per seven innings (4.1) and 21st in ERA…opponents are hitting just .163 against Brooks, and she has four shutouts…had allowed three earned runs or less in every appearance this season until giving up eight hits and four earned runs to Southern Utah on Saturday.
NOTES -- Senior Molly Smith injured her knee on March 23 against Northern Colorado, and will miss the remainder of the season…the Hornets have now lost two players for the season to knee injuries, including freshman Alexis Martinez, who was batting .294 at the time of her injury in the middle of February.