POCATELLO, Idaho — Idaho State overcame a one-run deficit in the opener, and then scored nine times on 13 hits in the nightcap to sweep a Big Sky Conference doubleheader over Sacramento State on Friday afternoon at Miller Ranch Stadium. The Bengals won the first game, 3-2, before taking the nightcap by a 9-6 score.
Sacramento State saw its record fall to 29-22 overall and 9-7 in the Big Sky, which Idaho State improved to 19-25 and 9-7 in league play. That sets up a huge game in tomorrow's regular season finale as the two teams will complete the three-game series at noon PDT. The winner will finish in second place in the league standings and get the No. 2 seed and a first round bye at next week's Big Sky Tournament, hosted by the Hornets at Shea Stadium. The losing team will get the No. 3 seed and play the 6 seed in the first round.
Tournament play begins on Wednesday and will run through Saturday. For the schedule, and more information on the tournament, click here.
The Hornets continue to have a tough time with Idaho State, as the Bengals have now won the season series over Sacramento State every year since the Big Sky first began sponsoring softball in 2013.
Hornet pitchers Savanna Corr (one earned run in 6.2 innings) and Alyssa Nunez (no runs in 3 innings) pitched well, but Idaho State's offense still tagged Hornet pitching for 12 runs and 19 hits in 12.2 innings. Sacramento State's offense wasn't bad, finishing 17-for-58 (.293) with two homers and seven RBIs, but it was not enough to get past Idaho State's potent offense.
Perhaps the biggest inning of the doubleheader was the seventh inning of Game 1 in which the Bengals overcame a one-run deficit to score twice and win in walkoff fashion on a two-out single. Both Suzy Brookshire and Sydney Rasmussen homered for the Hornets during the doubleheader, as Brookshire combined to go 4-for-6 with two runs, a double, homer and two RBIs while Rasmussen was 3-for-5 with two runs, a homer, two walks and an RBI. Rasmussen extended her hitting streak to five games.
For the third straight game, Sacramento State was playing without cleanup hitter Krystal Aubert (injury), who leads the team with 13 home runs.
Trailing, 2-1, entering the seventh inning, Idaho State had four hits and took advantage of a Hornet error to score twice and win by a 3-2 score. The game ended on a two-out, RBI-single from Aubrey Creekmore scoring Emma Bordenkecher from third base. Sacramento State outhit Idaho State, 8-6, but the Hornets committed three errors. Each of those errors were committed in innings the Bengals scored, including the third.
Sacramento State took a 1-0 lead after Brookshire led off the second inning with a solo home run, a shot to center field that was her 11th homer of the season. Idaho State, however, took advantage of two Hornet errors in the third inning to tie things at 1-1.
The Hornets regained the lead in the fifth after Brookshire's two-out, RBI-single plated Katie Vretzos. However, ISU led off the seventh with a pair of singles, and tacked on two more hits in the inning before winning on Creekmore's walkoff single.
Corr (19-11) was attempting to become just the fifth Hornet to win 20 games in a season during the Div. I era (1990-pres.), but took the loss. She allowed six hits and three runs (one earned) over 6.2 innings. Autumn Pease (10-5) got the win, allowing eight hits and two runs with seven strikeouts over seven innings.
Brookshire finished the game 3-for-3 with a run, homer and two RBIs. She had three of the Hornets' eight hits as Brianna Bowers, Rasmussen, Shea Graves, Jessica Scott and Vretzos all had singles.
Idaho State scored three times in each of the first three innings to take a 9-1 lead, and eventually win. The Hornets made things interesting with three runs in the fifth, two in the sixth, and had the potential tying run at the plate with one out in the seventh. Sacramento State stranded 10 runners on base, including three in the first inning, two in the third, and two in the seventh. In that first inning, Sacramento State had the bases loaded with no outs, but failed to score. And, in the third, the team had runners at first and second with no outs, but couldn't plate a run.
For Idaho State, the Nos. 1-3 hitters of MaKenzie Van Sickle, Courtney Wiley and Creekmore combined to go 9-for-11 with seven runs scored and six RBIs. Creekmore was 4-for-4 with three RBIs.
Five of the Hornets' hits came from Rasmussen (2-for-2 with two runs, homer and an RBI) and Nene Alas (3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI). Sacramento State scored its first run in the second inning when Vretzos' sacrifice fly scored pinch runner Kayla Grubert. The Hornets' three runs in the fifth came on a Rasmussen homer to open the inning, an Alexxiss Diaz ground ball scoring Alas, and a two-out RBI-single from Sydnee Strong scoring Brookshire. In the sixth, the Hornets scored a pair of runs with two outs on an Alas RBI-single scoring Rasmussen, and later Alas scoring all the way from second base on a passed ball.
Danielle Sperry (8-4) and Jensen Main combined to work the first three innings while Nunez, a freshman, was very good in relief, allowing just one hit with two strikeouts. Idaho State's Kelsea Sweeney (5-8) wasn't very effective, but got the win despite allowing nine hits and six runs (four earned) with four walks over seven innings.
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