PITCHERS VOELZ AND BROOKS LEAD SOFTBALL TO SWEEP OF SANTA CLARA ON CANCER AWARENESS DAY
Sacramento State players and head coach Kathy Strahan surround Carole Bossenmaier, who threw out today's ceremonial first pitch. The pink shirts, which were designed by senior Alyssa Nakken, featured multi-colored ribbons to represent the different forms of cancer
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State right-handers Shelby Voelz and Caitlin Brooks combined to allow Santa Clara just one run and seven hits over 14 innings as the Hornets swept a Pacific Coast Softball Conference doubleheader over the Broncos Friday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The Hornets won the first game, 3-0, before taking the nightcap by a 2-1 score.
Voelz tossed her third shutout of the season (and ninth of her career), allowing just three hits and three walks while striking out three batters in the opener. The fourth-year senior threw 126 pitches and faced seven batters over the minimum to improve her record to 5-3. Brooks picked up the win in the nightcap, allowing four hits and one run while striking out a season-best eight batters over seven innings. The true freshman needed 112 pitches, and the eight strikeouts were two more than her previous season high. Santa Clara batters combined to hit just .149 during both games.
With the victories, Sacramento State (19-13, 2-3) picked up its first two conference wins of the season after dropping three at Saint Mary’s in a rain-shortened series last weekend. Santa Clara, which split a four-game series with conference favorite Loyola Marymount last weekend, dropped to 7-29 and 2-4 with the losses. The Hornets have now won 19 straight games over the Broncos dating back to the 2007 season.
Today was Cancer Awareness Day at Shea Stadium, as the Hornets wore pink jerseys, ribbons and shoe laces, and cancer survivor Carole Bossenmaier threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
These same two teams will wrap up their four-game series tomorrow with a doubleheader at noon.
Sacramento State scored single runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings, and that was plenty of run support for Voelz, who seemed to get stronger during the later stages of the game. In fact, Voelz allowed just one single over the final three innings while retiring the side in order in the seventh. Voelz was able to escape a bases loaded, two-out jam in the third inning, and a runner at third base, two-out situation in the fourth.
The Hornets had at least one hit in every inning, including multi-hit innings in the first, second, third, fourth and fifth. Sacramento State pounded out 10 hits, including an RBI-single from Devin Caldwell in the fourth and a leadoff homer over the center field wall by Emily McCormick in the fifth. Sacramento State scored what turned out to be the game-winning run in the second after Shannon Kaufman stole third base and came around to score on a Santa Clara fielding error.
McCormick finished the game 3-for-3 with a run, a double, home run and an RBI. She was the only player in the game with an extra base hit. Marissa Navarro went 2-for-3, and all but two Sacramento State starters had at least one hit. One of the Hornets that didn’t record a hit was Kelli Frye, who saw her career-high hitting streak end at 10 games after going 0-for-3.
Santa Clara’s Briana Rios (3-10) got the loss, allowing three runs and nine hits over four-plus innings. Jessica Turner tossed the final two innings in relief.
All three of the game’s runs were scored in the first inning as an RBI-single from Kelly Scribner got the Broncos on the board with in the top half of the inning. Sacramento State responded with two runs in the bottom half on a sacrifice fly from Navarro and an RBI-double from Alyssa Nakken. Navarro’s sacrifice fly included some heads-up base running from Frye, who was able to score from third base despite the ball not leaving the infield. Santa Clara first baseman Scribner ranged far enough in foul territory and caught the ball with her back to the plate, allowing Frye to race home and barely beat the throw to home plate.
After recording three hits in the first inning, Sacramento State was held without a hit the rest of the way by Turner. In fact, Turner (2-7) retired 10 batters in a row until hitting Jessica Abelia with a pitch with one out in the fifth. She then retired the final five batters in succession, but was the unlucky losing pitcher despite allowing just two runs and three hits over six innings.
Turner wasn’t the only effective pitcher, as the Hornets’ Brooks was just as impressive. After allowing two hits to the first three batters she faced, Brooks retired 20 of the final 23 batters. The freshman allowed just four hits, and only one of those went for extra bases. She faced 26 batters over seven innings, and allowed just one runner past second base over the final six innings.
Brooks (5-5) picked up her fifth win of the season while tossing her third complete game.