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STRONG AND AUBERT BOTH HIT WALKOFF HOMERS AS SOFTBALL SWEEPS MONTANA

STRONG AND AUBERT BOTH HIT WALKOFF HOMERS AS SOFTBALL SWEEPS MONTANA

SACRAMENTO — Sydnee Strong hit a three-run walkoff homer in one game, and Krystal Aubert hit a two-run walkoff blast in the other, as Sacramento State posted a pair of 10-inning victories over Montana on Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. Both home runs came in the bottom of the 10th, and the Hornets won the first game, 8-5, before winning the second by a 6-4 score.

The 8-5 win was the continuation of a game that was halted yesterday due to darkness. That game was stopped after nine innings with the score tied at 5-5. However, it didn't take long for the Hornets to come out on top today as three of the Hornets' four batters in the bottom of the 10th reached base. With one out, Shea Graves doubled to left center, followed by an infield single from Sydney Rasmussen putting runners at the corners. That set up Strong, who crushed a 1-2 pitch to left field that saw the ball hit the top of the fence and bounce over for the walkout piece.

In the regularly scheduled game, the Hornets found themselves locked in a 4-4 tie, again in the bottom of the 10th inning. This time, with two outs and Brianna Bowers on first base, Aubert hammered a 2-2 pitch over the center field wall and another Hornet walkoff celebration ensued.

With the victories, Sacramento State, which won the first game of the series yesterday in mercy rule fashion (9-1), completed a three-game sweep of the Grizzlies. In the process, the Hornets moved their record to 21-17 overall and 5-3 in Big Sky Conference play. Montana dropped to 11-26 and 1-5 in league. The Hornets also moved into second place in the conference standings behind Weber State who remains perfect with an 8-0 league record.

During the three-game sweep, Sacramento State hit .317 as a team while the pitching staff posted a 1.62 ERA. Nene Alas and Strong had six hits during the series, Aubert had five, and both Bowers and Graves had four. The Hornets improved their winning streak to four straight games, which includes a 5-2 win at 24th-ranked Stanford on Tuesday. The Hornets are also 3-1 in extra inning games this year.

Bowers hit safely in all three games of the series, and the true freshman improved her hitting streak to 10 games. That is the longest hitting streak by a Hornet this season, surpassing Alas' streak of nine games. Bowers, who moved into the starting lineup on March 22, is now batting a healthy .373, which includes 19 hits in 51 at-bats.

Corr finished the series 2-0 with a 1.02 ERA, and was the winning pitcher in the 8-5 victory, throwing four innings of relief. Danielle Sperry finished the series 1-0 with a 2.27 ERA, and was the winning pitcher in the 6-4 win. The junior left-hander allowed just three hits and one earned run in 6.1 innings of relief.

In today's 6-4 win, Sacramento State scored four times in the first inning (all with two outs) on a Graves two-run double, an RBI-single from Sydney Rasmussen and a Strong RBI-double. That lead held up until Montana scored twice in both the fourth and sixth innings. Four Hornet errors during those two innings helped the Grizzlies score three unearned runs.

Eventually, the two teams forced extra innings, and both Sperry (7-1) and Montana starter Tirstin Achenbach (3-5) were cruising along until Aubert's blast ended things in the 10th. The Aubert home run was her team-high 10th of the season, and she now has four homers in her last eight games. Aubert also leads the team with 27 RBIs, including six in the last four games.

While Sperry got the win, it was Achenbach who took the loss. She allowed nine hits and six runs with five strikeouts in 9.2 innings. The Hornets finished with nine hits, including two apiece from Alas, Bowers and Aubert. Bowers scored two runs and had two walks, reaching base safely in four of her five plate appearances.

In the continued game from yesterday, Sacramento State finished with 12 hits, including three from Strong and Alas. Eight of the Hornets' nine starters had at least one hit and six of those starters scored runs. That includes Aubert and Rasmussen, who each crossed home plate twice.

Corr (14-9) got the win in relief while Michaela Hood took the loss.

Sacramento State will play each of its next seven games on the road, beginning with a non-conference doubleheader at Fresno State on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

NOTES -- The Hornets celebrated their 2018 Big Sky Conference championship with a ring ceremony on the field. Each player from that squad received a championship ring…in addition, today was Kids Day, and the Hornets signed autographs after the game.