DAVIS, Calif. – Sydnee Strong connected on a grand slam and Celina Matthias tossed a five-hit shutout to lead Sacramento State to a 7-0 win over Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round of the NorCal Softball Challenge on Friday afternoon at LaRue Field.
Matthias was impressive all afternoon, allowing just five singles with no walks and 10 strikeouts over seven innings. The shutout was her fourth of the season and she improved to 7-3 this year. The grand slam for Strong was part of a six-run fourth inning that gave the Hornets a 7-0 lead. Strong finished the game with a career-high five RBIs.
The NorCal Challenge, which is being co-hosted by Sacramento State and UC Davis, is a three-day tournament that features five teams playing a total of 10 games. UC Davis is hosting games today and Sunday while Sacramento State is hosting games on Saturday. Originally, the Hornets were supposed to play twice this morning, but their 9:30 a.m. game was canceled to allow UC Davis more time to prep the field after days of rain.
Sacramento State will play four games at the tournament, and will return to play (weather permitting) twice more tomorrow at home against Santa Clara at 1:45 p.m. and Pacific at 4 p.m. The Hornets are 1-0 at the tournament and moved their record to a season-high three games above the .500 mark at 11-8. Sacramento State has won eight of its last 10 games after beginning the season with a 3-6 record.
With the loss, Fairleigh Dickinson dropped to 4-11 overall. The Knights and Hornets were facing each other for just the second time ever, with the lone previous matchup coming in a 5-3 FDU win in 2014 in San Luis Obispo.
For complete tournament information, including schedule, please click here for the tournament home page.
In today's game, Sacramento State had seven runs and 12 hits while the Knights accumulated just five singles. The Hornets scored once in the second and six more in the fourth inning.
Sacramento State got on the board in the second inning, when Sydney Rasmussen opened the frame with a single and then stole second base. One out later, Strong drove home Rasmussen with a single up the middle to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead.
In the six-run fourth inning, the Hornets sent nine batters to the plate while tallying five hits. The biggest hit of the inning was Strong's grand slam which scored Rasmussen, Mo Spieth and Jaciana Vasquez. The homer was the second of the season for Strong who now has a team-high 15 RBIs this season.
Four Hornets had multiple-hit games, including Rasmussen who was 3-for-4 with two runs and two stolen bases and Hinton who finished 3-for-4 with a run and RBI. Strong was 2-for-5 with a run and five RBIs and Brookshire was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Those four players combined for 10 of the team's 12 hits.
Fairleigh Dickinson used three pitchers, and Abby England (2-3) took the loss, allowing six runs and eight hits over three innings. The Knights dropped to 4-11 overall and 0-1 at the tournament.