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SACRAMENTO — Sacramento State's Savanna Corr was brilliant in the circle, but Portland State scored on a wild pitch with two outs in the 11th inning, and eventually beat the Hornets, 2-1, in the first round of the Big Sky Conference Softball Championship on Wednesday morning at Shea Stadium.
The 11-inning affair was one of three extra inning games at today's Big Sky Tournament. Prior to today, the postseason event had seen just two games go to extra inning in the six years of its existence. Weber State beat Portland State (3-2) later in the day in 10 innings, and Idaho State-Northern Colorado was halted due to darkness in the ninth inning of a 1-1 tie (Shea Stadium does not have lights). That game will resume tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. The only game that didn't go extras was a 1-0 Northern Colorado victory over Montana.
The double elimination event, which lasts today through Saturday and features six teams, will resume tomorrow with the halted game at 9 a.m. followed by three games after that. Montana will take on Portland State in an elimination game at 11 a.m., followed by Sacramento State taking on the loser of Northern Colorado/Idaho State at 1:30 p.m. in an elimination game, and Weber State facing the winner Northern Colorado/Idaho State at 4:00 p.m.
The winner of the postseason event, which Sacramento State is hosting for the first time, receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals.
Sacramento State's Corr and Portland State's Katie Schroeder were locked in a pitchers duel all morning as both hurlers allowed an unearned run in the first inning, and neither team scored again until the 11th. Corr allowed just eight hits and Schroeder yielded six. The Vikings left 14 runners on base while the Hornets stranded seven. The Hornets entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed while Portland State was the No. 5 seed.
The top of the 11th inning started with a Marissa Bruno double to right field. She was pushed to third base on a groundout to second by Darian Lindsey, but Corr struck out pinch hitter Riley Casper to get the second out. However, on a 1-2 pitch to Taylor Gunesch, Corr threw a wild pitch allowing Bruno to score what proved to be the game-winning run.
Sacramento State (29-24) got a runner to first base with two outs in the 11th inning, but could not score. Schroeder (9-8) picked up her second win against the Hornets in as many weeks as she yielded just six hits and one unearned run with four strikeouts in 11 innings. Corr (19-13) was the tough luck losing pitcher despite allowing just eight hits and two runs (one earned) with nine strikeouts in a career-high 11.0 innings. She threw a career-best 183 pitches as well.
Portland State (20-29) took advantage of a passed ball to score a run in the top of the first inning as Gunesch's soft single to left field allowed Lindsey to score. However, Sacramento State bounced back in the bottom of the first as Nene Alas singled to open the frame and immediately stole second base. Brianna Bowers then hit a ground ball that was misplayed in the infield allowing Alas to score.
The two teams wouldn't score again the next nine innings.Of the Hornets' six hits, two came from Alas who finished 2-for-5 with a run scored. Alas wasn't far off hitting a walkoff homer in the 10th but her long fly ball was caught at the wall by right fielder Bruno.
In addition, Bruno threw out a runner at home in the sixth as Sacramento State looked to take a 2-1 lead. With Krystal Aubert at third base and one out, Sydney Rasmussen lined a shot to Bruno who caught the ball in medium deep right field and fired a strike to home, nabbing Aubert at the plate.
Other Hornets to record hits were Aubert, Sydnee Strong, Jessica Scott and Katie Vretzos.
Bruno, who was sparkling in the field defensively for Portland State, also went 2-for-4 while scoring the game-winning run.