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SACRAMENTO -- On the third and final day of the NorCal Kickoff on a cold and windy Sunday afternoon at Shea Stadium, Sacramento State split a pair of games, beating UC Santa Barbara, 5-1, before falling to Santa Clara, 7-4.
The Hornets complete the season-opening tournament with a 4-1 record, which included wins the previous two days over Boise State, Saint Mary's and Cal Baptist. Sacramento State is now 4-1 for the first time since the 2012 season, and hadn't trailed in any of the first four games prior to the loss to Santa Clara.
Today concluded the three-day NorCal Kickoff which featured a total of six teams playing nine games at Shea Stadium. Sacramento State does not return home again until Feb. 26 when its hosts rival UC Davis at 2:30 p.m.
During the tournament, Sacramento State's pitching (1.36 ERA), offense (.294 batting average) and defense (.976 fielding percentage) were all impressive. The Hornets used five pitchers during the tournament, and each pitcher finished with lower than a 2.50 ERA, including Carley Morfey (0.00), Jensen Main (0.64), Marissa Bertuccio (1.62), Alyssa Nunez (1.75) and Danielle Sperry (2.33). Both Bertuccio, a true freshman, and Morfey, a sophomore transfer from San Jose State, made their Sacramento State debuts in the circle over the weekend.
Main was 2-0 in two starts while allowing just one run and nine hits over 11 innings, and Bertuccio was 1-0 allowing just 10 hits with seven strikeouts over a team-best 13.0 innings. Morfey worked two innings of scoreless relief, and both Nunez and Sperry appeared in two games in the circle for the Hornets.
Offensively, seven different players hit better than .300 during the tournament, comprised of Amber Rodriguez (.667, 2-for-3 with 3 walks), Jessica Scott (.500, 4-for-8 with a homer and 3 RBIs), Mo Spieth (.444, 4-for-9), Shea Graves (.385, 5-for-13 with a double, triple and two RBIs), Charizma Guzman (.353, 6-for-17 with three stolen bases), Alondra Mejia (.333, 5-for-15) and Lewa Day (.313, 5-for-16 with two doubles and a team-best five RBIs).
Also, during the tournament, six different freshmen started at least one game for Sacramento State.
In today's win over UC Santa Barbara, Main (5.0 ip, 5 h, 1 r, 2 k) and Morfey (2.0 ip, 1 h, 0 r) combined to allow the Gauchos just one run and six hits. Sacramento State scored three times in the first inning on a Day RBI-single, Mejia RBI-triple and a Vretzos RBI-ground ball allowing Mejia to score.
The Hornets stretched the lead to 5-0 with a pair of runs in the fourth on a Haley Hanson RBI-single and a Spieth RBI-single. The Gauchos scored their lone run in the fifth inning, but it was not nearly enough as Main earned her second win of the season. Aliyah Robles led the Hornets with a pair of hits (both doubles) while Hanson, Day, Mejia and Spieth also collected hits.
In the loss to Santa Clara, the Broncos had eight hits and took advantage of five walks as they scored three times in the third, and twice more in the fourth and fifth innings. Sacramento State scored once in the first, second, third and fifth innings. The Hornets jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before the Broncos scored three times in the top of the third and never trailed the rest of the way.
Hornet runs came on a Day RBI-double scoring Hanson in the first, a Morfey sacrifice fly scoring Kailie Hargis in the second, an error allowing Spieth to score in the third, and a Vretzos ground ball scoring Rylee Sager in the fifth. Three Sacramento State pitchers made appearances, including Sperry (2.0 ip), Nunez (1.0 ip) and Bertuccio (4.0 ip). Nunez (0-1) picked up the loss, and Bertuccio allowed just two hits and two unearned runs in her four innings of relief.
Both Day and Spieth had a pair of hits, and combined for four of Sacramento State's eight hits.
The Hornets return to the field next Friday-Sunday, Feb. 14-16, when the team travels to Lake Elsinore for the Golden State Classic. Sacrametno State will play five times during the three-day tournament, beginning with games on Friday against Loyola Marymount (11:30 a.m.) and Seton Hall (4:30 p.m.).
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