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MATTHIAS' NO-HITTER, BROOKS’ 16 K’S LEAD SOFTBALL TO DOUBLEHEADER SWEEP

MATTHIAS' NO-HITTER, BROOKS’ 16 K’S LEAD SOFTBALL TO DOUBLEHEADER SWEEP

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- True freshman Celina Matthias threw the program's first no-hitter since the 2011 season and senior Caitlin Brooks struck out a career-high 16 batters to lead Sacramento State to a sweep of North Dakota in a Big Sky Conference softball doubleheader Friday afternoon at the Apollo Sports Complex. The Hornets won the first game behind Brooks by the score of 8-3, before taking the nightcap in a mercy-rule shortened five-inning game, 12-0.

Brooks and Matthias combined to strike out 25 batters while issuing just two walks over 12.0 innings. UND was limited to a .100 batting average during the doubleheader, and accounted for just four hits. Matthias allowed just one walk and struck out a season-best nine batters in her five innings of work. The right-hander faced just one batter over the minimum, threw 58 pitches (40 for strikes) and accounted for the program's third no-hitter since the 2006 season. Today marked the Hornets' first no-hitter since Megan Schaefer (4.0 ip) and Shelby Voelz (1.0 ip) combined on a mercy-rule shortened no-hitter against Saint Mary's on April 16, 2011.

Brooks was also incredible, as she struck out 16 batters, surpassing her previous career high of 13 strikeouts. That included striking out the side in the first, second, fourth and seventh innings, and posting at least one strikeout in every inning. The 16 strikeouts were one shy of the Sacramento State record for a seven-inning game (17), set by Cassie Cervantes in a 6-0 victory against Iowa on March 15, 2006.

With the sweep, Sacramento State (20-19, 9-2) crept over the .500 mark for the first time since the team was 2-1 back on Feb. 7. In addition, the Hornets have won 11 of their last 14 games. More importantly, the Hornets improved to 9-2 in the Big Sky, and remain in a three-way tie for first place with Idaho State and Weber State. Both the Bengals and Wildcats swept their doubleheaders today as well.

The Hornets and North Dakota (8-31, 0-11) will conclude their three-game series tomorrow at 11 a.m. PDT. Today's doubleheader marked the home opener for North Dakota.

Not only was the Hornet pitching dominant, the offensive output was equally impressive as Sacramento State batters accounted for 20 runs on 21 hits with seven extra base hits and 18 RBIs in just 12 innings. That included first baseman Sasha Margulies, who went 5-for-8 with four runs scored, a double and an RBI, lifting her season batting average to an even .400. Left fielder Nicole Clark went 4-for-6 with three runs, a triple and four RBIs, and center fielder Alexa Chattleton and third baseman Marissa Maligad had three hits apiece.

GAME 1

Sacramento State broke open a 3-3 tie with five runs in the seventh inning to eventually win, 8-3. Brooks allowed just four hits, but two of those hits were home runs, including a solo shot from Jackie Lilek in the second inning, and a two-run blast from Shelby Hard in the fourth.

After the Lilek home run gave UND a 1-0 lead, Sacramento State responded with a two-run homer off the bat of Paige Martin in the third inning. The home run was the third of the season for Martin, and ninth of her career. The nine home runs moved Martin all alone into 10th place in Sacramento State's record book for most career round trippers.

UND retook the lead at 3-2 in fourth inning on Hard's home run, but Sacramento State was able to tie in the sixth inning on an RBI-ground ball from Alexis Martinez which scored Margulies. In the seventh inning, the Hornets scored five times on three hits while taking advantage of a UND error, two wild pitches, a walk and a hit-batter. The Hornets scored on an RBI-ground ball from Zamari Hinton, a bases-loaded walk to Martinez, a two-run double from Maligad and a sacrifice fly from Clark.

Martin (2-for-3 with 2 runs and 2 RBIs), Margulies (2-for-4 with 2 runs), Chattleton (2-for-3 with a run) and Maligad (2-for-4 with 2 RBIs) accounted for eight of the Hornets' nine hits.

Brooks has now won five straight decisions while improving her record to 9-3 this season. She allowed four hits and three runs with just one walk and the 16 strikeouts. She threw 124 pitches and faced just five batters over the minimum. North Dakota's Hannah Bergh (5-15) got the loss, allowing six runs and nine hits over 6.2 innings.

GAME 2

Matthias and North Dakota starter Taylor Hansen were locked in a scoreless duel until the Hornets broke out for five runs in the fourth inning and seven more in the fifth to enforce the eight-run mercy rule. Six Hornets accounted for the team's 12 hits and six different Sacramento State players had at least one RBI, including three apiece from Martinez and Clark. In fact, Clark went 3-for-3 with two runs scored.

The Hornets sent nine batters to the plate in a fourth inning which began with back-to-back singles from Margulies and Chattleton, followed by a two-run double from Martinez. The first five Sacramento State players of the inning reached base safely, including an RBI-single from Clark after Paris Prado followed Martinez's double with a walk. Prado would eventually steal third base and come home on an errant throw by UND catcher Megan Keegan. Hinton capped the scoring with an RBI-double scoring Clark.

In the fifth inning, Sacramento State scored seven times on four hits while capitalizing on three errors, including two dropped fly balls by UND center fielder Nicole Babrowski. The Hornets sent 12 batters to the plate, and the inning was highlighted by a two-run triple from Clark, an RBI-single from Maligad, an RBI-grounder from Shelby Johnston and an RBI-double from Margulies.

Margulies (3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI) and Hinton (2-for-3 with an RBI) joined Clark as the three Hornets with multiple-hit games. Matthias (9-10) got the win for the Hornets while notching her 12th complete game and second shutout of the season. Of her 15 starts this season, Matthias has gone the distance 12 times. North Dakota's Taylor Hansen (1-2) got the loss, working the first three-plus innings of the game.