SACRAMENTO — Alexxiss Diaz hit a walkoff homer in the eighth inning, and Celina Matthias tossed a two-hit shutout to lead Sacramento State to a 1-0 victory over Portland State in the first game of a three-game Big Sky Conference softball series on Thursday afternoon at Shea Stadium.
Diaz's homer ended an impressive pitchers duel between Matthias and Portland State's Alyssa Burk. In fact, the two pitchers combined to allow just six hits over eight innings, and Matthias retired the first 16 batters she faced in succession. With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, Diaz connected on a first-pitch offering from Burk over the left-center field fence setting off a celebration at home plate.
The victory allowed Sacramento State to improve to 18-11 overall and 4-3 in the Big Sky while Portland State dropped to 10-25 and 3-4 in league. The Hornets and Vikings were supposed to play a doubleheader tomorrow and single game on Saturday, but expected inclement weather on Friday forced the series to move up a day. Instead, the two teams played once today, and will play a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m.
After beginning the season with a 4-7 record, Sacramento State has now won 14 of its last 18 games. In addition, the Hornets improved to 49-21 all-time against Portland State and have won nine straight home games against the Vikings. Since the Big Sky began sponsoring softball in 2013, Sacramento State is 7-0 at home vs. Portland State.
The home run for Diaz was her second of the season as the sophomore also collected her 14th RBI. Diaz was one of just four Hornets with hits on the afternoon, including Marissa Maligad (1-for-2), Jaciana Vasquez (pinch hit single in the seventh) and Zamari Hinton (1-for-3). The hit for Hinton, a seventh inning opposite field single, improved her hitting streak to a career-best 17 games. The 17-game streak is tied for the third longest in Sacramento State's Div. I era (1990-pres.).
Sacramento State stranded 10 runners on base, while Portland State left just two runners aboard. The Hornets stranded the bases loaded in both the second and seventh innings, and left two runners on base in the third.
Matthias improved to 11-4 while allowing just two hits with no walks and nine strikeouts over eight innings. She threw 111 pitches, faced two batters over the minimum, and allowed just one PSU runner past first base the entire game. A fourth-year senior, Matthias is now 49-38 during her career, and is just one victory shy of becoming the third third pitcher during Sacramento State's Div. I era (1990-pres.) to record 50 wins.
Burk (6-10) was the tough-luck losing pitcher despite allowing just four hits with seven strikeouts over 7.1 innings. The only extra base hit of the day was Marissa Bruno's one-out double in the sixth inning which ended Matthias' perfect game bid.
Hornet left fielder Suzy Brookshire walked twice, but went 0-for-2, which ended her career-high hitting streak at 17 games. Maligad's second-inning single extended her hitting streak to five games.
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