LOGAN, Utah - Sophomore Jillian Bivert tossed a six-hit shutout to lead the Sacramento State softball team to a 1-0 victory over Utah State in the rubber game of a Big West Conference series Saturday afternoon at Johnson Field in Logan, Utah.
With the win, the Hornets, who split a doubleheader with the Aggies yesterday, took two of three games from Utah State while improving their record to 16-27 overall and 4-8 in the Big West. Utah State dropped to 6-31 and 2-10 in the conference.
Bivert, who threw a one-hit shutout over the Aggies yesterday, struck out two and walked one while stranding eight runners on base. The left-hander improved her record to 6-9 and moved her consecutive-inning streak without allowing an opponent a run to 14 innings.
Roni Rodrigues' RBI-single scoring Lori Meixner in the fourth inning proved to be the only run of the game as the Hornets recorded just five hits off Utah State starter Xochitl Ramierez (1-7). The Aggies eft at least one runner on base in every inning but the fourth and sixth innings.
Utah State's rally in the seventh inning was foiled by Hornet right fielder Amber Dragomir who threw out Kara Tarbet trying to score from second base on a single by Heather Curtis. Bivert then got Danielle Rodriguez on a come-backer with runners on first and second base to end the game.
In Friday's doubleheader, Sacramento State won the first game, 9-0, in five innings before dropping the nightcap, 9-8. In game one, Bivert threw a one-hit shutout while holding the Aggies hitless over the final four innings after allowing a single in the first. The sophomore, who walked two and struck out two over five innings, also finished 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and a pair of runs scored.
Yolanda Estrada and Patty Villa led the Hornets with three hits apiece as the team scored five runs in the first inning and four in the fourth. Estrada finished with a game-high three RBI highlighted by a two-run double in the fourth. All but two Sacramento State starters picked up hits as the Nos. 3-6 hitters Bivert, Meixner, Estrada and Villa, respectively, went a combined 9-for-15 with five RBI and seven runs scored.
In Friday's nightcap, the Hornets used a four-run third inning highlighted by a Cathy Coupar two-run single to take an early 4-1 lead. However, Utah State scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth off starter Nicole Deatherage to reclaim the lead, 5-4. Deatherage allowed five runs and eight hits before being pulled in favor of Gina Steenburgen with two outs in the fourth.
The Hornets reclaimed the lead, 6-5, in the top half of the fifth on a two-run homer by Bivert. The lead was short-lived, however, as Utah State put up another four runs in the bottom of the fifth off Steenburgen to take the lead, 9-6.
Sacramento State scored two runs in the seventh to close to within, 9-8, before Utah State starter Ramierez got Estrada to line into a game-ending double play, leaving the potential tying run stranded at second base.
Steenburgen (3-6) got the loss in relief, allowing four runs and four hits in 2.1 innings of work. Ramierez went the distance in the win, allowing eight runs (four earned) and seven hits in seven innings. Shannon Acevedo, Breanne Nickle, Markean Neal and Heather Curtis each finished with two hits to lead Utah State.
Coupar, Bivert and Meghan Cunningham each finished with two hits for the Hornets.
Sacramento State returns to action next weekend as it plays a three-game Big West series in Stockton, Calif., against the University of the Pacific on Saturday-Sunday, April 21-22. Saturday's doubleheader and Sunday's single game all begin at noon.