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SOFTBALL OPENS SEASON FRIDAY IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

SOFTBALL OPENS SEASON FRIDAY IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Sacramento State Game Notes - pdf

THE WEEK AHEAD

• Sacramento State opens the 2015 season on the road at the So Cal Collegiate Classic when the team plays three games over a two-day span on Friday and Saturday.
• On Friday, the Hornets will play Long Beach State (9 a.m.) and Northwestern State (2 p.m.) with both games taking place at Long Beach State's home field.
• Saturday, Sacramento State will take on Loyola Marymount on the Lion's home field at 9 a.m.
• Live stats for all three games can be found via the softball schedule on www.hornetsports.com by clicking on the link located to the right of each game on the schedule.
• Last season, the Hornets finished with a 25-21 overall record and a 12-4 mark in the Big Sky Conference. The team narrowly missed winning a Big Sky regular season title and the right to host the conference tournament after finishing a half game behind Idaho State.
• Sacramento State, which was selected second in the Big Sky preseason poll, returns 16 players overall, eight positional starters and three pitchers from last season's team.
• Since joining the Div. I ranks in 1990, the Hornets are 13-12 in their season openers.
• In a series that dates back to 1993, Sacramento State is 5-24 against Long Beach State, including 11 straight losses. Each of the last four losses have come by two runs or less, and three of those defeats came in extra innings. The Hornets are 4-10 when playing the 49ers on the road.
• Friday will mark the first time in school history the Hornets will play Northwestern State.
• In a series that dates back to 1987, the Hornets are 19-25 all-time against Loyola Marymount, including a 10-10 mark when playing in Los Angeles. The Hornets and Lions developed a rivalry when the two teams were both in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference from 2003-2012.
• The Hornets play their first eight games, and 18 of their first 20 games away from home.

MULTIMEDIA OPTIONS FOR THE SEASON

• Live stats for every game this season can be found on the softball schedule at www.hornetsports.com by clicking on the link next to each game on the schedule.
Live audio will be available for every Sacramento State home game courtesy of KSSU Student Radio. Links to live audio can also be found on the softball schedule.

PLENTY OF EXPERIENCE COMING BACK

• Second-year head coach Lori Perez will oversee a roster that returns 16 players from last season's team, including eight position starters and three pitchers.
• The Hornets return starters at catcher (Nikki Gialketsis), first base (Sasha Margulies), shortstop (Paige Castro), third base (Alexis Martinez), left field (Nicole Clark), center field (Alexa Chattleton), right field (Paige Martin) and designated player (Kortney Solis).
• All eight of those players received some form of all-league recognition last season, including first teamer Martinez and second teamers Martin and Solis. The remaining five were each selected honorable mention all-conference.
• Three pitchers, comprised of Caitlin Brooks, Kaitlyn Yerby and Jennifer Hartman, also return. Brooks, who is the reigning Big Sky Pitcher of the Year and second team all-region selection, leads a pitching staff that paced the conference in ERA (2.83) and ERA against league opposition (2.22).

IN THE CIRCLE

• Last season's pitching rotation posted a 2.83 team ERA, easily the top mark in the Big Sky, and 72nd best in the nation among the 293 Div. I squads.
• The Hornets also led the conference in opponents batting average (.252) and fewest home runs allowed (18). In fact, the Hornets allowed just 153 runs last year, which were 92 fewer than any other team in the Big Sky.
• The three returning pitchers, senior Caitlin Brooks, and juniors Jennifer Hartman and Kaitlyn Yerby, combined for a 2.62 ERA last year with 159 strikeouts in 214 innings.
• Brooks was named second team all-Pacific Region, the Big Sky Pitcher of the Year, and unanimous first team all-league after going 10-7 with a 1.86 ERA and .219 opponents batting average.

MASHING UP AND DOWN THE LINEUP

• Of the Hornets' 16 returning positional players, seven hit at least .300, comprised of Sasha Margulies (.349), Paige Martin (.342), Paige Castro (.341), Kortney Solis (.316), Nicole Clark (.304), Alexis Martinez (.303) and Nikki Gialketsis (.300).
• The Hornets' team batting average of .288 was the fourth best mark in Sacramento State's Div. I era (1990-pres.), and top mark since the 2010 season.
• The Hornets averaged better than four runs per game in 2014, and scored at least four runs in 16 of the final 22 games last year.

PRODUCING IN THE CLUTCH

• As a team last year, Sacramento State hit .301 (129-429) with runners in scoring position, and seven different players hit at least .300 in those clutch situations.
• Of those seven players hitting at least .300 with RISP, six return for the 2015 season. Those include Nikki Gialketsis (.381), Kortney Solis (.372), Alexis Martinez (.368), Nicole Clark (.364), Sasha Margulies (.346) and Paige Martin (.306).
• Of the team's 164 RBIs last year, 72 were recorded with two outs. Meaning 44 percent of the team's offensive production in terms of RBIs came with two outs.

SECOND HALF SURGE

• After posting an 8-13 record through the first 21 games last season, Sacramento State rebounded to go 17-8 over the last 25 games.
• During that 25-game stretch, the Hornets hit .316 as a team with a .390 on-base percentage. That included scoring 123 runs, or 4.9 per game.
• In the circle over that 25-game stretch, Hornet pitchers posted a 2.51 ERA with a .245 opponents batting average. In fact, the opposition averaged just 3.1 runs per game during that stretch.

IN THE CLASSROOM

• The softball team posted a 3.12 grade point average during the fall semester and the team's overall gpa is now a 3.05.
• Of the team's 20 players on the roster, 11 posted better than a 3.0 during the spring. Softball was one of 13 Sacramento State teams that posted better than a 3.0 term gpa during the fall.