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SOFTBALL DROPS A PAIR OF EXTRA INNING GAMES IN FRESNO

SOFTBALL DROPS A PAIR OF EXTRA INNING GAMES IN FRESNO

FRESNO, Calif. -- Sacramento State dropped a pair of heartbreakers, falling in eight innings to Santa Clara, 4-3, and losing in 13 innings to UC Riverside, 7-6, on the second day of the Fresno State Softball Kickoff Saturday at Margie Wright Diamond.

The losses dropped the Hornets to 2-5 overall and 0-4 at the three-day tournament. Sacramento State, which had plenty of chances to win both games today, also fell to UC Davis and 23rd-ranked Cal yesterday. The Hornets will conclude the tournament tomorrow against UC Riverside at 9 a.m.

The tiebreaker rule went into effect in both games beginning in the top of the eighth where a runner was placed at second base to begin each half inning. Sacramento State had numerous opportunities to score more runs in both games, but finished the day 5-for-36 (.139) with runners in scoring position and 8-for-45 (.178) with runners on base.

VS. UC RIVERSIDE

In a game that lasted nearly four hours (3:47), Sacramento State took one-run leads in the top of the eighth, 10th and 12th innings, only to see the Highlanders bounce back with a run to tie each time. UC Riverside (6-2) finally ended the 13-inning marathon when Madeline Richard's RBI-fielders choice with one out scored Haley Harris.

The final run tells only half the story as the Hornets caught some bad breaks, including a wild pitch that allowed two Highlander runs to score to tie the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the sixth inning. That wild pitch came on a strikeout that would have ended the inning, but the awry ball not only allowed Highlander batter Stephanie Tickemyer to reach base safely but bounced bounce away far enough for two runners to score.

In the 10th inning, with Sacramento State leading, 5-4, a Hornet error with two outs allowed the tying run to score from third base. Had that play been made cleanly, the Hornets would have been in the win column.

Sacramento State stranded 17 runners on base while the Highlanders left 13 runners aboard. UC Riverside used five pitchers, including Chelsea Ponce (5-1) who worked the final seven innings to pick up the win. Sacramento State used two pitchers, as Jennifer Hartman went the first five-plus innings and Celina Matthias (1-2) worked the final 7.1 innings. Matthias allowed three hits and five runs, but only one of those runs was earned because four of the Highlander tallies came during the tiebreaker innings.

Four Sacramento State players had multiple-hit games, as Paige Castro finished 3-for-6 with four RBIs, Alexa Chattleton was 3-for-5 with an RBI, Shelby Johnston 2-for-3 with a run scored and Zamari Hinton 2-for-7 with a run scored. The Hornets outhit UC Riverside, 13-5, but Sacramento State went 4-for-28 with runners on base and 2-for-22 with runners in scoring position. The run in the bottom of the 13th marked the first time UC Riverside held a lead the entire game.

VS. SANTA CLARA

Santa Clara (2-7) took advantage of a passed ball that allowed a runner to reach third base before Jordan Newell's walk-off sacrifice fly scored Geenamarie Bonilla with the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth. The Hornets scored three runs in the game, but had numerous chances to score more, stranding runners in scoring position in the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings. In fact, the Hornets finished the game batting 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and 4-for-23 with runners on base.

The loss snapped a 27-game winning streak against Santa Clara, the longest against any team in program history. The Hornets held a 1-0 lead in the first, and a 3-1 lead in the second inning, before Santa Clara tied things with a two-run fifth inning.

An Alexis Martinez RBI-single accounted for the Hornets' first run in the top of the first before an RBI-single from Santa Clara's Breezy Bernard tied things in the bottom half of the inning. In the top of the second, senior Paris Prado connected on her first career home run, crushing a full count pitch over the left field wall which also scored Sasha Margulies.

Santa Clara tied things in the fifth with back-to-back, two-out RBI-singles from Gianette France and pinch hitter Chiara Biagini. The Hornets put runners at first and third base in the sixth, and had a runner at third base in the seventh but could not score.

With the  tiebreaker rule in effect to begin the eighth, the Hornets failed to score. In the bottom of the inning, Bonilla advanced to third base on a passed ball with no outs. Hornet relief pitcher Celina Matthias got the next out, but Newell followed with a fly ball deep enough to center field to allow Bonilla to score the game-winning run.

Santa Clara used three pitchers, and Ciara Gonzales (2-3) got the win, pitching shutout ball over the final two innings. Matthias was the tough-luck losing pitcher allowing just two hits and the unearned run in 3.0 innings. Kaitlyn Yerby started for the Hornets and allowed three runs over 4.2 innings.

Sacramento State pounded out 10 hits and stranded 10 runners on base, including one runner in every inning but the second. Three Hornets had multiple-hit games, comprised of Hinton (2-for-3), Prado (2-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs) and Cassidy Martin (2-for-4).