SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Junior pitcher Caitlin Brooks received Big Sky Conference Pitcher of the Week honors for the third time this season, and eighth time in her career, it was announced by the league office today.
Brooks also received the honor on April 7 and Feb. 25 of this year. A reigning first team all-Big Sky Conference selection, she received the weekly award on five occasions last season as well. Making this year's three awards that much more impressive is she missed a month because of injury.
The Escalon, Calif., native helped lead Sacramento State to a three-game sweep of Portland State after picking up two of the Hornets' victories during the series. The right-hander went 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA, allowing just six hits, two earned runs and two walks while striking out 22 batters in 14.0 innings of work. Portland State hit just .122 against Brooks, and she averaged 11 strikeouts per appearance.
On Friday, she carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before giving up a one-out single, and on Saturday, she took a perfect game into the fifth inning before allowing a one-out single.
In Friday's 5-2 victory, Brooks allowed just two hits and two unearned runs while walking one and striking out a career-high 13 batters. She retired the first 11 batters of the game before issuing a two-out walk in the fourth inning. Of those 11 batters, eight were retired on strikeouts. The 13 strikeouts surpassed her previous high of 12, set last season against Idaho State. She struck out at least one batter in every inning, and needed just 94 pitches to earn the victory.
In Saturday's 3-2 win, Brooks allowed just four hits and two runs over seven innings while walking one and striking out nine. She threw 104 pitches, and retired the first 13 batters of the game before allowing a clean single to left field by Crysta Conn. Brooks had at least one strikeout in every inning but the sixth.
She is now 8-5 this season with a conference-best 1.46 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .213 when she is in circle and has 89 strikeouts compared to just 31 walks. Against Big Sky opposition, she is 4-1 with a 1.70 ERA.
Sacramento State (22-18, 10-4) has just four games remaining on the regular season schedule, and each of those will come on the road this week at Cal on Wednesday and a three-game series with Big Sky foe Weber State on Friday and Saturday. The top three teams in the Big Sky standings are all within a half game of each other, comprised of Southern Utah (9-2), Sacramento State (10-4) and Idaho State (9-3).
The Hornets have just three league games left on the schedule while Idaho State and Southern Utah still have six to play. The winner of the conference's regular season title will host the Big Sky Championship on May 8-10. The top four teams in the league will play in the double-elimination tournament with the winner receiving an automatic berth to the NCAA Regionals. Sacramento State is the only team in the seven-member league that has already clinched a spot for the tournament.