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SOFTBALL HOSTS SAINT MARY'S ON SATURDAY IN HOME OPENER

SOFTBALL HOSTS SAINT MARY'S ON SATURDAY IN HOME OPENER

Sacramento State Game Notes (26 pages) - pdf
Big Sky Conference standings

THE WEEK AHEAD

• After playing its first eight games away from home, Sacramento State (3-5) will finally play its home opener this Saturday when the Hornets host Saint Mary's (3-8) for a doubleheader beginning at noon.
• Like all home games this season, a live audio stream and live stats will be provided for both games via the softball schedule at www.hornetsports.com. Members of KSSU Student Radio will handle the play-by-play for all home games this year.
• The Hornets are coming off a week in which they went 1-4 at the Fresno State Kickoff. Each of the team's last three games of the tournament went into extra innings, and the tiebreaker rule went into effect in the top of the eighth of all three.
• Sunday's 1-0 eight-inning win over UC Riverside snapped a four-game losing streak.
• Sacramento State is coming off a season in which the team went 11-3 at home, including a 7-1 record against Big Sky Conference foes inside the friendly confines of Shea Stadium.
• The Hornets won each of their last four home games in 2014.
• Saturday's doubleheader marks the first two contests of a brief three-game homestand (Tuesday vs. Pacific at 2 p.m.) before the Hornets hit the road again for nine straight games.
• The Hornets have a 13-game homestand next month that runs from March 12-29.
• All 20 players on the roster, which encompass 16 positional players and four pitchers, have appeared in at least three games this year.
• Among the eight teams in the Big Sky Conference, Sacramento State currently ranks first in the league in team ERA (2.37) and fourth in both team batting average (.236) and team fielding percentage (.968).
• The Hornets currently have four players hitting better than .300, comprised of Zamari Hinton (.357), Alexa Chattleton (.348), Paige Castro (.333) and Shelby Johnston (.308).

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.

VS. THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT

• Sacramento State is 56-15 in the all-time series against Saint Mary's.
• However, the Gaels have won three straight and eight of the last nine meetings against the Hornets.
• The Hornets and Gaels have played just once in Sacramento since the beginning of the 2012 season, a 9-3 Saint Mary's win on March 16, 2013.
• The Gaels have started the season with a 3-8 record, but the team has played a brutal schedule thus far that consisted of games against four ranked opponents not to mention two games against Hawai'i. One of their three wins came against 25th-ranked DePaul by an 11-9 score.

A NOTORIOUSLY SLOW STARTING TEAM

• Though the Hornets have gotten off to a 3-5 start, Sacramento State fans need to keep in mind that the softball program has been a notoriously slow starting team.
• In fact, Sacramento State has not had a record above .500 through the first 10 games of a season in any year since 2005.
• Last season, the Hornets began the year with the same record through eight games (3-5) before finishing the season with a 25-21 overall record.

NICE START IN THE CIRCLE COULD BE EVEN BETTER

• Although Sacramento State easily leads the Big Sky Conference with a 2.37 ERA, the staff could be that much better if it limits the free passes.
• Opponents are batting a miniscule .212 against Hornet pitching, but have already drawn 37 walks and been hit by six pitches in 59.0 innings.
• Combining both the walks and hit-by-pitches, opponents have drawn 5.1 free passes per seven innings, making it even more amazing the Hornets have been able to post such a low ERA thus far.
• Freshman Celina Matthias (0.40 ERA) and junior Kaitlyn Yerby (1.50 ERA) have been impressive thus far. After a slow start, reigning Big Sky Pitcher of the Year and Sacramento State Female Student-Athlete of the Year Caitlin Brooks tossed a three-hit shutout over eight innings against UC Riverside on Sunday.

IN NEED OF SOME CLUTCH HITS

• Sacramento State has gotten off to a slow start with the bats, as the team is hitting .236 and averaging just 2.5 runs per game.
• Part of the reason for the low amount of runs has been the team's lack of clutch hitting, as the squad is batting a collective .197 (14-for-71) with runners in scoring position.
• Only three players are hitting better than .250 with runners in scoring position this year.
• The lack of clutch at-bats was most frustrating on Saturday when the Hornets dropped a pair of extra inning games. Over those two contests, the team combined to strand 27 runners on base and bat .139 (5-for-36) with runners in scoring position.
• Hitting with runners in scoring position was a strength last year when the team batted .301.

LINEUP SHUFFLING

• Head coach Lori Perez has used eight different starting lineups during the first eight games, trying to get her offense jump started while dealing with an injury bug that is currently affecting several Hornets.
• All 16 positional players have appeared in at least three games and no one has hit in the same spot in the batting order in every game this season.
• In fact, only two players have started all eight games in shortstop Paige Castro and right fielder Paige Martin. Other than those two, no Hornet has started more than five games at the same position.

HORNET NOTABLES

• The Hornets are 3-0 when limiting the opposition to two runs or less, and 0-5 otherwise.
• Sacramento State has been outscored in the first inning of games this year, 10-2.
• Paige Castro has reached base safely via hit, walk, or hit-by-pitch in a team-best seven straight games.
• Hornet starting second basemen are batting .333 this year with two walks and just two strikeouts.
• Hornet pitchers have limited the opposition to a .184 (16-for-87) batting average with RISP.
• Sacramento State is batting .310 (26-for-84) with two outs in an inning.
• The Hornets have committed just two errors in their last 158 fielding chances spanning four games.
• Alexa Chattleton (4) and Paris Prado (3) are both currently on hitting streaks.