SOFTBALL FALLS IN 10 INNINGS IN SERIES OPENER AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT
Junior Emily McCormick had two home runs and four RBIs in today's loss to Loyola Marymount
LOS ANGELES -- Samantha Nelson’s walkoff sacrifice fly in the 10th inning gave Loyola Marymount an 8-7 victory over Sacramento State in a Pacific Coast Softball Conference game Saturday afternoon at Smith Field. The game was the first of a four-game series between the two teams that will resume tomorrow in a tripleheader beginning at 10 a.m.
The teams were originally scheduled to play doubleheaders today and tomorrow at 10 a.m., but overnight rains saturated LMU’s field, making it unplayable in the morning. Instead, both teams waited until 4 p.m. to let the field dry and get one game in today.
And what a game it was. The Hornets and Lions went back and forth throughout the contest as the two teams combined for 15 runs, 24 hits and 23 runners left on base. Sacramento State faced deficits of 4-1 after one inning, 6-3 after four innings, and 7-5 after five innings. It was a two-run homer from Emily McCormick (her second of the day) in the sixth inning that finally drew the Hornets even at 7-7.
From there, Hornet reliever Taylor Stroud and Lions reliever Dana Waldusky were locked in a pitchers duel as the two combined to throw 10.1 innings while giving up just three hits and one unearned run. This came after 14 runs had been scored through the first five and a half innings.
Per conference rule, the international tiebreaker went into effect to begin the 10th inning. Sacramento State’s Devin Caldwell was placed on second base to begin the top of the 10th, but the Hornets could not push her across home plate. In the bottom of the 10th, LMU’s Kylie Ahlo was place on second to begin the inning and was moved over to third base on a sacrifice from Meghan Harman. That set up Nelson’s at-bat as she drove a 3-2 pitch deep enough into center field to allow Ahlo to come home with the winning run.
The Hornets had plenty of chance to score late in the game as the team stranded eight runners during the final six innings. That included leaving the bases loaded in the fifth inning, missing out on a second and third with one out opportunity in the sixth, and failing to get Caldwell home from second base with no outs in the 10th. In all, the Hornets left 13 runners on base.
Sacramento State scored once in the first inning, and two times in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. The quartet of Caldwell (3-for-6 with a run and a triple), McCormick (2-for-6 with two home runs and four RBIs), Alyssa Nakken (3-for-4 with two runs, a homer and an RBI) and Kaitlyn Taylor (3-for-5) combined for 11 of the team’s 15 hits. McCormick, who matched her career high with four RBIs, became just the fifth player in school history to homer twice in a game during Sacramento State’s Div. I era (1990-pres.).
Overall, the Hornets hit four home runs today which matches a Div. I era program single-game record. McCormick had two round trippers, Nakken had one, and Kelly Shepard added another. In fact, all seven of the team’s runs were scored via the long ball.
Stroud (10-6) was the tough-luck losing pitcher as she regained some of the dominance that had been missing from her arsenal the past few weeks. The sophomore right-hander allowed no hits and just the 10th-inning run (which was unearned) in 5.1 innings of relief. Starter Shelby Voelz worked the first 4.1 innings. Waldusky (11-7) got the win, and her line was nearly identical to Stroud’s, allowing just three hits and no runs in five innings.