SOFTBALL BEATS MONTANA, BUT SEES ITS SEASON END WITH BIG SKY TOURNEY LOSS TO NORTHERN COLORADO

SOFTBALL BEATS MONTANA, BUT SEES ITS SEASON END WITH BIG SKY TOURNEY LOSS TO NORTHERN COLORADO

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SACRAMENTO — Sacramento State won its first game of the day against Montana, 8-2, but saw its Big Sky Conference Tournament come to an end with a 7-6 loss to Northern Colorado on the third day of the postseason event Friday afternoon at Shea Stadium.

The Hornets finished the double elimination tournament with a 2-2 record, and conclude the season with a 31-25 overall mark. Northern Colorado, which is 3-1 at the tournament thus far, advances to play Weber State in the Big Sky championship game tomorrow morning at 11:05 a.m. Weber State has yet to lose a game at the tournament, and Northern Colorado would have to beat the Wildcats twice to win the conference title. The winner of the Big Sky Tournament receives an automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals.

Sacramento State won last year's Big Sky Tournament championship, and gained the right to host this year's postseason event after winning last year's regular season crown. The Hornets eliminated both Idaho State (15-0) and Montana (8-2) from the tournament, but lost a pair of one-run games, including an 11-inning 2-1 defeat to Portland State to open the tourney on Wednesday. In four tournament games, Sacramento State outscored the opposition, 30-11, but could not win either of its close games.

That included today's 7-6 loss to Northern Colorado in which the Hornets made a 7th-inning comeback. Sacramento State was trailing the Bears, 7-4, entering the final inning and Sydnee Strong's two-out, two-run double brought the Hornets within, 7-6. After Kayla Grubert pinch ran for Strong at second base, Jessica Scott had a good at-bat, seeing seven pitches before grounding out to second base to end the game.

The Hornets outhit the Bears, 11-8, but Northern Colorado touched up Sacramento State pitching for seven runs and eight hits. Savanna Corr pitched every inning of the Hornets' first three games of the tournament and was brilliant, but was given a rest during the game against the Bears. Unfortunately for Sacramento State, the Hornets did not pitch well without Corr in the circle against Northern Colorado.

Corr finished the tournament 2-1 with a 0.84 ERA, striking out 31 batters over 25.0 innings while holding the opposition to a .126 batting average. Strong hit .400 during the tournament with six runs scored and five RBIs, Sydney Rasmussen hit .385 with four runs, Krystal Aubert hit .364 with four runs, and both Brianna Bowers and Nene Alas hit .313 with five runs scored.

Despite the loss, Sacramento State was able to secure its second consecutive 30-win season, and 13th in the program's Div. I era (1990-pres.). Final season numbers include Sacramento State hitting .283 as a team with 43 home runs. The 43 homers were two shy of the program record (45, set in 2017). In addition, Sacramento State's pitching staff, led by Corr, finished with a Big Sky-leading 2.88 ERA and .244 opponents batting average.

Alas finished the season with a .359 batting average while Aubert (.348), Bowers (.333), Suzy Brookshire (.296), Rasmussen (.288) and Katie Vretzos (.282) all hit better than .280. Corr finished the year 21-13 with a 2.08 ERA, not to mention a minuscule .184 opponents batting average. Jensen Main (3.15) and Danielle Sperry (3.75) also had healthy ERAs.

One day after throwing a no-hitter against Idaho State, Corr was incredible again today, striking out a career-high tying 11 batters in the Hornets' 8-2 win over Montana. Sacramento State led from start to finish in the game, opening up a lead as large as 6-0 after five innings. Six different Hornets had hits, including multi-hit games from Shea Graves and Rasmussen. Graves (3) and Rasmussen (2) also combined to drive in five of the team's eight runs.

The Northern Colorado game featured four lead changes as both teams went back and forth before the Bears put together a four-run fifth inning that proved to be the dagger. After that four-run inning, the Bears held a 7-3 lead before Sacramento State got an RBI-single from Graves in the fifth, and Strong's two-run double in the seventh that provided the final score.

Both Sperry and Main combined to throw the first five innings while Main took the loss. Corr retired all six batters she faced over the final two innings. Bowers, Alas and Strong each had multiple hit games.

Today marked the final games in a Sacramento State uniform for seniors Alas, Aubert, Corr, Rasmussen, Strong and Alexxiss Diaz.