SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sophomore Gina Steenburgen threw a three-hit shutout in game two to lead the Sacramento State softball team to a Big West Conference doubleheader split with Cal Poly Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The Mustangs took the first game, 2-1, in eight innings before the Hornets won the nightcap, 2-0.
With the split, Sacramento State is now 17-31 overall and 5-12 in the Big West Conference. Cal Poly moves to 24-27 and 6-11 in the conference. The Hornets' victory in the second game snapped a four-game losing streak.
In the nightcap, Steenburgen (4-6) tossed her second shutout of the season, allowing one walk and striking out three. The right-hander allowed singles in the second, fifth and sixth innings while picking up her first victory in almost a month. Steenburgen had started just two games over the past four weeks while battling a groin injury.
Jillian Bivert's RBI-single in the first inning got the Hornets on the board early before the team added another run in the third on a Jennifer Jokinen RBI-double. Bivert was the only player in the game to collect more than one hit as the sophomore finished 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
Cal Poly's Cassie Vanderbeek (3-6) picked up the loss, allowing two runs (both earned) and five hits in 2.2 innings before being relieved in the third by Jennifer Graver.
In the first game, Kasey Poet's two-out, RBI-single in the top of the eighth inning proved to be the game-winner as Cal Poly went on to the 2-1 victory. Sacramento State had plenty of opportunities to score off Mustang starter Terra Blankenbecler as the Hornets finished with nine hits but produced just one run.
Sacramento State left 12 runners on base including the bases loaded in both the sixth and seventh innings and leaving runners on second and third in the eighth inning. The Hornets failed to produce in the clutch as the team hit .091 (1-11) with runners in scoring position, .125 (2-16) with runners on base and .000 (0-3) with the bases loaded.
Blankenbecler (14-10) picked up the win, allowing one run and nine hits while striking out five over eight innings. Bivert (6-12) got the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) and six hits over eight innings.
Cal Poly, which scored its other run in the fifth on a Nicole Dansby RBI-single, took advantage of an error by Hornet shortstop Andrea Becker in the eighth to eventually score the unearned run. The Hornets scored their only run of the game in the fourth inning on a Yolanda Estrada RBI-single. Meghan Cunningham led the Sacramento State offense with three hits while Amber Dragomir and Bivert each finished with two.
Both teams are back in action tomorrow (Sunday, April 29) to play the rubber game of the three-game series at noon. Hornet seniors Andrea Becker, Jennifer Jokinen and Patty Villa will be honored prior to the game for their contributions to the program.