POCATELLO, Idaho -- Sacramento State got solo home runs from Alexis Martinez and Paige Martin, but it was not enough in the Hornets' 4-3 loss to Weber State in the first round of the Big Sky Softball Tournament at Miller Ranch Stadium.
The game began yesterday and was halted in the fifth inning because of lightning, and resumed this morning at 9 a.m. PDT. The Hornets (26-25), who had their four-game winning streak snapped, will now play in an elimination game against Southern Utah later today at noon PDT.
Should the Hornets lose that game, their season would end. A win would allow Sacramento State to play Idaho State at 3:00 p.m. PDT in another elimination game. Weber State mercy ruled Idaho State, 9-1, in five innings in the other game today.
The winner of the double-elimination tournament will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals. Idaho State is the No. 1 seed at the tournament, Sacramento State is the No. 2, Weber State No. 3 and Southern Utah No. 4.
Sacramento State took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after a Sasha Margulies RBI-groundout scored Martin from first base. The Hornets had an opportunity to score more runs, but stranded two runners on base.
Weber State (36-17) then scored four times in the top of the second on a two-run homer from Krystin Kubo, followed by a two-out, two-run triple from Malia Campos. The final two runs of the inning were unearned as what proved to be a crucial Hornet error prolonged the inning.
The Hornets cut the deficit to 4-2 in the bottom of the second on a solo home run from Alexis Martinez, and later made the score 4-3 after Martin connected on a solo homer with two outs in the sixth inning.
Sacramento State had plenty of opportunities to score more runs, but the team stranded nine runners on base, including multiple runners aboard in the first, fourth and fifth innings. The Hornets had runners at second and third with two outs in the fifth, but Weber State starter MaCauley Flint got Martinez to fly out.
In the seventh inning, Weber State's defense came up large, as center fielder Malia Campos made a running catch in the gap on a hard hit ball by Alexa Chattleton, followed by left fielder Mackenzi Corta making a diving catch on what looked to be a sure single for Margulies. Kortney Solis walked to put the tying runner aboard, but Flint struck out Nicole Clark to end the game.
Two weeks after beating Weber State twice, Hornet right-hander Caitlin Brooks (13-6) took the loss, allowing four hits and four runs (two earned) with five strikeouts in five innings. Three of those four hits came in the Wildcats' four-run second inning. Freshman Celina Matthias threw two scoreless innings of shutout relief.
Flint (12-7) got the win, allowing five hits and three runs with six walks and eight strikeouts over seven innings.
For the Hornets, Martin reached base safely in all four of her plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with two runs scored, a walk, hit-by-pitch, home run and an RBI. That also extended her streak of reaching base safely to 33 straight games. Entering the game, that was tied for the seventh longest mark in the nation.
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