SOFTBALL OPENS 2018 SEASON THIS WEEK; HOSTS THE CAPITAL CITY KICKOFF FRIDAY-SUNDAY

SOFTBALL OPENS 2018 SEASON THIS WEEK; HOSTS THE CAPITAL CITY KICKOFF FRIDAY-SUNDAY

Full set of game notes (10 pages) - pdf
Capital City Kickoff Home Page

THE WEEK AHEAD

• Sacramento State opens the 2018 season by hosting the four-team Capital City Kickoff which will feature 10 games over three days in a round robin format. All 10 games will be played at Shea Stadium, the Hornets' home field on campus.
• The tournament field consists of Sacramento State, Cal, UC Santa Barbara and Santa Clara. The event marks the season-opening games for all four teams.
• The Hornets will play five games during the three-day tournament, including once on Friday, twice on Saturday, and twice on Sunday.
• Three games on Friday include UC Santa Barbara vs. Santa Clara at 10 a.m., Cal vs. UC Santa Barbara at 12:30 p.m., and Santa Clara vs. Sacramento State at 3 p.m.
• Four games on Saturday features Santa Clara-UC Santa Barbara at 8:30 a.m., UC Santa Barbara and the Hornets at 10:45 a.m., Santa Clara vs. Cal at 1 p.m., and Cal vs. Sacramento State at 3:15 p.m.
• Three games on Sunday: UC Santa Barbara vs. Sacramento State at 9:30 a.m., Cal vs. Santa Clara at 12 p.m., and Cal vs. Sacramento State at 2:30 p.m.
• Since joining the Div. I ranks in 1990, the Hornets are 13-15 in their season openers.

MULTIMEDIA OPTIONS THIS WEEK

• For the first time in Sacramento State softball history, a video stream will be provided for every home game at watchbigsky.com. Only the Sacramento State games at this week's tournament will have video available. The five games that do not feature the Hornets will not have video provided.
• Once again, live audio will be available for every game this year via KSSU Student Radio, and online by clicking here.
• Live stats will be made available for every home game as well.
• Each of the hyperlinks to the multimedia options can be found next to the games on the softball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.

TIME TO KICK OFF THE 2018 SEASON

• Last year, the Hornets finished with a 21-28-1 overall record and a 10-10 mark in the Big Sky Conference, good for third in the conference standings.
• The Hornets were selected to finish third in the eight-team Big Sky in this year's preseason coaches poll. Fifth-year head coach Lori Perez will oversee a roster that includes 13 returners from a year ago, including six positional starters and three pitchers. The Hornets will also welcome five newcomers to the roster, including two transfers from Div. I institutions.
• The roster features 19 players: three seniors, five juniors, nine sophomores and two freshmen.
• Of the 13 returners, three earned some form of all-league recognition a year ago, including a pair of first teamers (second baseman Zamari Hinton and left fielder Suzy Brookshire) and an honorable mention choice (corner infielder Mo Spieth).

VS. THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS

• Sacramento State enters this week's games with an all-time record of 110-112 against its three opponents at the Capital City Kickoff.
• That includes a 73-24 all-time mark against Santa Clara. The Hornets will play Santa Clara once at the tournament, opening with the Broncos on Friday at 3 p.m.
• The Hornets are 16-23 against UC Santa Barbara. The Hornets and Gauchos played once last year, with UCSB posting a 4-0 victory at Shea Stadium.
• Sacramento State is 21-65 against Cal, as the two teams have played each other at least once each of the last 20 years. The Bears, who are traditionally ranked in the top 25 (receiving votes this year), have beaten the Hornets on 10 straight occasions. Sacramento State's last victory over Cal came at home on March 24, 2009, in 2-1 eighth-inning walkoff win.

MIDDLE OF THE ORDER COULD PACK A MASSIVE PUNCH

• Sacramento State's middle of the order could pack a serious punch as the Hornets return a pair of players that had at least 10 homers a year ago, and will add a Washington transfer to the lineup.
• The most likely 3-4-5 hitters will be sophomore Suzy Brookshire in the No. 3 hole, junior Krystal Aubert in the cleanup spot, and sophomore Mo Spieth batting fifth.
• Brookshire set the school record a year ago as a freshman with 15 homers while Spieth had 10 home runs and posted the second most RBIs in school history (48) as a freshman.
• Aubert played 84 games over the last two seasons for Washington which hails from the softball-rich Pac-12 Conference. Aubert was an honorable mention all-Pac 12 selection as a freshman, and hit seven home runs (including two grand slams) with the Huskies.
• The No. 6 hitter, junior Sydney Rasmussen, also has power, including four homers a year ago.

DEPLOYING A PITCHING STAFF OF THREE PLAYERS

• Sacramento State will enter the 2018 season with just three pitchers in the rotations, the program's lowest amount in recent memory.
• All three pitchers are returners, including right-handers Celina Matthias and Savanna Corr, and lefty Danielle Sperry. Matthias is a fourth-year senior, Corr a third-year junior and Sperry a sophomore.
• Matthias is the most accomplished of the group as she ranks first in the program's Div. I era in saves (7), fifth in appearances (103), sixth in strikeouts (309) and batters faced (2,086), seventh in wins (38), eighth in starts (63), innings pitched (468.1) and complete games (41), and ninth in shutouts (10).

HORNET NOTABLES

Mo Spieth enters the season with a nine-game hitting streak, while both Zamari Hinton and Marissa Maligad are riding four-game streaks.
• The Hornets will debut new green uniforms this season. The team also wore their black uniforms just once last season, and will wear them more frequently in 2018.
• After this week's tournament, Sacramento State has just three more home dates (Feb. 22, March 6, March 17) on the schedule until the Big Sky Conference home opener on April 6.