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MARTIN’S 3-RUN BLAST DELIVERS SOFTBALL A 4-1 WIN AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT

MARTIN’S 3-RUN BLAST DELIVERS SOFTBALL A 4-1 WIN AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Senior Paige Martin hit a three-run homer in the top of the seventh inning and freshman Celina Matthias pitched six innings of shutout relief to lead Sacramento State to a 4-1 victory at Loyola Marymount in the third and final round of the So Cal Collegiate Softball Classic.

With the victory, the Hornets conclude the season-opening, two-day tournament with a 2-1 record. Sacramento State opened the tourney yesterday with a 8-0 loss at Long Beach State before bouncing back to defeat Northwestern State, 4-2.

In both victories during the tournament, Sacramento State scored runs in the top of the seventh inning to break ties. With the loss, Loyola Marymount, which was playing its season opener, fell to 0-1.

Although Martin's blast was the big blow of the game, Matthias' work in the circle was equally impressive. Making her collegiate debut, the true freshman from Elk Grove was sparkling. After taking over for Hornet starter Jennifer Hartman in the top of the second inning, Matthias was nearly unhittable. The right-hander allowed just two hits while issuing one walk and striking out four in six innings.

Matthias (1-0) faced just three batters over the minimum in her six innings of work, and allowed one hit during the final five innings. That included setting down the side in order in the seventh, and striking out pinch hitter Kelly Spear to end the game.

Martin, who was the team leader in home runs last season, found a good time to connect on the Hornets' first round tripper of the 2015 season. With the score tied at 1-1, and two outs in the seventh inning, Sacramento State got the rally started with back-to-back singles from Shelby Johnston and Kayla Papez. That set up Martin, who crushed a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall to give the Hornets the commanding 4-1 lead.

Loyola Marymount took an early 1-0 lead after sending seven batters to the plate in the first inning. After scoring their first run, the Lions had the bases loaded and one out, but Hartman was able to limit the damage.

Sacramento State bounced back in the third after Martin's one-out, RBI-single scored Alexa Chattleton from third base.

The Hornets finished the game with nine hits as eight different Sacramento State players had at least one knock, including Martin who finished 2-for-4 with a run and four RBIs.

Sacramento State returns to action next week for five games over three days at the Fresno State Tournament. The five games are part of a stretch that will see the Hornets play each of their first eight games away from home.