SOFTBALL SWEEPS SAN DIEGO, WITHIN REACH OF PLAYOFF SPOT WITH TWO GAMES TO PLAY
SAN DIEGO -- Junior Izmena Cabrera combined to go 6-for-7 with six RBIs, and junior Kayla Meeks went 4-for-7 with five RBIs to lead Sacramento State to a doubleheader sweep of San Diego in a Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) matchup Saturday afternoon at the USD Softball Complex. Sacramento State won the first game in five innings, 12-1, before taking the second game, 6-3.
With the victories, Sacramento State improved to 30-19 overall and 12-6 in the PCSC. With just two games remaining in the season, the Hornets are tied for first place atop the conference standings with Loyola Marymount (also 12-6 in the PCSC). However, Loyola Marymount owns the tiebreaker with Sacramento State, and would gain the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals should both teams finish the season tied atop the conference. Loyola Marymount swept Saint Mary’s today, and the two teams will play another doubleheader in Moraga tomorrow at noon. Sacramento State and San Diego (16-38, 3-15) will also return to the field tomorrow for a doubleheader at noon.
To win the conference championship, the Hornets need to sweep San Diego tomorrow and hope Loyola Marymount loses at least one of its games with Saint Mary’s. Should the Hornets split with San Diego, Loyola Marymount would need to lose both of its games at Saint Mary’s.
Tomorrow will signal the end of the regular season, and Sacramento State is seeking its first PCSC championship since the conference began play in 2003. The Hornets have finished second in the league standings each of the last three years, narrowly missing out on the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA postseason event. Sacramento State has not advanced to the NCAA Regionals since 1995, and is seeking its third trip since joining the Div. I ranks in 1990 (the team also went in 1993).
The sweep for the Hornets also allowed the program to hit the 30-win plateau for the fifth time in the last six years. In addition, head coach Kathy Strahan picked up her 700th career victory. In 25 years as a head coach (16 with the Hornets), Strahan now has a career record of 701-659-3. Her 16-year mark at Sacramento State now stands at 454-414-2.
The Hornets combined for 18 runs and 25 hits today as Cabrera, Meeks, Jamie Schloredt and Hilary Johnson each finished the doubleheader with at least four hits. Three of Cabrera’s six hits were doubles as the junior increased her season RBI total to 48, easily a new Sacramento State single-season record. Schloredt’s four hits lifted her season batting average to .411 as she attempts to become just the second Hornet in the program’s Div. I history (1990-pres.) to hit better than .400 for a season – Lindy Winkler was the other in 2006.
In the first game, Sacramento State pounded out 12 runs and 15 hits, scoring once in the first, six times in the third, three more in the fourth and two in the fifth inning. Six different Hornet starters had multiple-hit games, and six players each had at least one RBI. Cabrera went 3-for-3 with a run and game-high four RBIs while Schloredt and Jenice Bartee each hit home runs.
Schloredt got the Hornets on the board in the top of the first with a solo home run, extending her program single-season record to 12 homers this season. After San Diego tied the game in the bottom of the first, the Hornets broke things open with a six-run third inning. The Hornets sent nine batters to the plate in the inning, accumulated six hits, and the scoring was highlighted by a two-run double from Cabrera, an RBI-single from Meeks and a two-run homer from Bartee.
Sacramento State tacked on three more in the fourth with a sacrifice fly from Cabrera and RBI-ground outs from both Rachel Miles and Meeks. The Hornets scored their final two runs in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Hilary Johnson and an RBI-single from Cabrera.
The 12 runs were more than enough for Meeks (13-8), who picked up her 13th win of the season while allowing one run and five hits with no walks over five innings. Jennifer Ellenbeck (6-19) got the loss, allowing nine hits and seven runs over 2.2 innings.
For the Hornets, Tompkins (3-for-4, two runs), Johnson (2-for-3, two runs, RBI), Schloredt (2-for-3, two runs, RBI), Cabrera (3-for-3, one run, four RBIs), Meeks (2-for-3, one run, two RBIs) and Bartee (2-for-3, two runs, two RBIs) each had multiple-hit games. The Hornets’ Nos. 1-4 hitters of Tompkins, Johnson, Schloredt and Cabrera, respectively, combined to bat 10-for13 (.769) with seven runs and six RBIs.
In the nightcap, Sacramento State led from start to finish, opening the game with two runs in the first on a two-out, two-run double from Meeks which scored both Schloredt and Cabrera. The Hornets tacked on three more runs in the third on a two-run double from Cabrera and an RBI-single from Meeks, and one more in the fourth on a two-out, RBI-single from Schloredt. San Diego scored three times in the sixth inning, but it was not enough to prevent the Hornet victory.
Five Hornets accounted for all 10 of the team’s hits during the game, comprised of Johnson (2-for-4, one run), Schloredt (2-for-3, one run, one RBI), Cabrera (3-for-4, two runs, two RBIs), Meeks (2-for-4, three RBIs) and Bartee (1-for-3, one run).
Sacramento State freshman right-hander Megan Schaefer (5-4) picked up the win, allowing three runs and nine hits over six innings. After walking a batter to open the seventh inning, sophomore Brittani Clifford was inserted into the game and held the Toreros scoreless, notching her program-record sixth save of the season.
Jessi Waers (2-7) got the loss, allowing six runs (four earned) and 10 hits over seven innings.