SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State's offense combined for 11 runs and 20 hits in a Big Sky Conference softball doubleheader sweep of North Dakota on Friday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The Hornets won the first game, 6-3, before coming back to win the nightcap, 5-1.
The doubleheader marked the conference opener for both the Hornets (13-14, 2-0) and North Dakota (1-17, 0-2). Sacramento State's six runs in the opener were tied for the team's fourth highest output of the season, and were the most since tallying six runs against Santa Clara on March 7. Sacramento State and North Dakota will conclude their three-game series tomorrow for a single game at noon.
The Hornets offensive attack finished the day hitting .385 (20-for-52) with three doubles, a triple and nine RBIs. Alexa Chattleton (4-for-7 with three runs, a double, two stolen bases and two RBIs) and Nicole Clark (4-for-6 with three runs and a stolen base) both finished the day with four hits. Sasha Margulies reached base safely in six of her seven plate appearances during the doubleheader, going 3-for-4 with a run, double, three walks and two RBIs.
"When you are at home during Big Sky play, you need to take care of business," Sacramento State head coach Lori Perez said. "It was nice to start the conference season the right way and get a couple victories. We worked very hard in practice this week to try and find our swings, and our goal today was to apply what we worked on in practice, and our offense responded."
In the first game, Sacramento State erased a 3-1 deficit by scoring two runs in the fifth inning, and three more in the sixth. In fact, the game marked the first time all season the Hornets have won when trailing after four innings. The six runs were more than enough run support for right-hander Jennifer Hartman, who allowed seven hits and three runs (two earned) in seven innings of work. Hartman threw 107 pitches, retired 10 of the last 12 batters she faced, and improved her record to 4-4 this season.
With North Dakota leading, 3-1, in the bottom of the fifth, the Hornets got an RBI-double from Chattleton and an RBI-single from Kortney Solis to tie the game. After Hartman worked out of a one out, runners at second and third jam in the top of the sixth, Sacramento State broke things open in the bottom of the inning with three runs. The Hornets had four hits in the sixth inning and took advantage of a UND error. Nikki Gialketsis started the scoring with an RBI-single that plated Paige Castro and proved to be the game-winning run. Later in the inning, Paige Martin had an RBI-single, and an a subsequent UND error on the play, allowed both Chattleton and Clark to score.
The Hornets pounded out 10 hits in the game, and seven of the team's starters finished with at least one hit, including two apiece from Margulies, Castro and Clark. Chattleton and Clark both scored two runs as well.
Kaylin Van Domelen (1-6) got the loss, allowing 10 hits and six runs (five earned) while walking one and striking out three.
The Hornets jumped on North Dakota starter Megan Hedstrom right away, scoring twice in the first inning and three more times in the second while Sacramento State left-hander Kaitlyn Yerby threw seven effective innings. The win for the Hornets was their third straight, and fifth victory in the last six games.
Sacramento State had base runners in every inning, and Margulies' two-run double scoring both Chattleton and Martin in the first got the Hornets going. In the second, the Hornets got a sacrifice fly from Chattleton, an RBI-single from Solis and a North Dakota error allowed another run to score to stake Sacramento State to a 5-0 lead.
Yerby protected that advantage, but worked her way out of jams throughout the contest. In fact, UND stranded 12 runners on base, including multiple runners in the second, third, fourth and seventh innings. North Dakota went just 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position and 4-for-22 with runners on base against Yerby, who needed 107 pitches to earn her second win of the season.
Yerby (2-1) finished the game scattering nine hits while allowing just one run over seven innings. Chattleton (3-for-3 with a run and an RBI), Alexis Martinez (2-for-4) and Clark (2-for-3 with a run scored) had multiple-hit games for the Hornets.