FRESNO, Calif. -- Sacramento State pitchers yielded six walks and hit two batters, and the Hornets' defense committed four errors on the way to a 6-2 loss to UC Davis in the first round of the Fresno State Softball Kickoff Friday morning.
The Aggies used four walks, a hit batter and a passed ball to score two runs in the first inning, then took advantage of a walk and a hit batter to score two more runs in the third inning, and capitalized on a Hornet error in the fourth to tack on two unearned runs.
With the loss, the Hornets, who will play five games over three days at the tournament, dropped to 2-2 on the young season. Sacramento State will play 23rd-ranked Cal later today at 1:30 p.m., before facing both Santa Clara and UC Riverside on Saturday, and UC Riverside once more on Sunday. With the victory, UC Davis won its third straight game while improving to 3-4.
Sacramento State still owns a commanding 62-36 edge in the all-time series with the Aggies.
After the Aggies took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, Sacramento State was able to tie the game in the bottom of the second after Shelby Johnston's RBI-tripe scored pinch runner Makenzie Wayadande. One batter later, Paris Prado delivered a sacrifice fly to score Johnston and tie the game at 2-2.
The tie, however, was short lived as the Aggies tacked on two runs in both the third and fourth innings. The Hornets put runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, fifth and seventh innings, but could not score again. Sacramento State finished the game 0-for-5 in at-bats with runners in scoring position and 1-for-7 with runners on base.
UC Davis reliever Leah Munden (2-1) picked up the win in relief, allowing two hits while yielding two walks and a strikeout in 4.0 innings. Sacramento State's Caitlin Brooks (0-1) took the loss, allowing two hits, four runs, five walks, three strikeouts and two hit-batters over 3.0 innings. Kaitlyn Yerby came on in relief, and allowed five hits and two unearned runs over the final 4.0 innings.
Johnston, Paige Castro, Kayla Papez and Nicole Clark all had hits for Sacramento State.
An alarming trend that has developed early for the Hornets has been the starting pitchers' inability to consistently throw strikes. Through four games, Hornet starters have issued 16 walks while hitting five batters over a combined 9.2 innings. In addition, no Hornet starting pitcher has yet to last more than four innings. On the other hand, Hornet relievers have been sparkling, posting a 0.00 ERA over 15.1 innings, allowing just four walks and seven hits.
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