SOFTBALL HOSTS SANTA CLARA THIS WEEKEND; BREAST CANCER AWARENESS DAY ON SATURDAY
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Saturday, April 10
Santa Clara at Sacramento State (DH) - Noon
Sunday, April 11
Santa Clara at Sacramento State (DH) - Noon
Sacramento State’s doubleheader against Santa Clara on Saturday will serve as the team’s “Think Pink” games in support of breast cancer awareness. Sacramento State players will be wearing pink items, and fans are encouraged to wear pink as well. A donation table will be set up at the entrance to Shea Stadium with all proceeds going to Mercy Foundation for breast cancer research. Pink wristbands, shoelaces, ribbons and t-shirts will be available at the donation table. In addition, free Chipotle burritos will be available to the first 50 Green Army members that wear pink. Green Army prizes will be given away in the top of the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings of the first game of the doubleheader.
THIS WEEK’S PREVIEW
After playing 34 non-conference games, Sacramento State (10-24) finally jumps into Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) play this weekend when the Hornets host a four-game series against Santa Clara...the Hornets and Broncos (8-15) will play doubleheaders on both Saturday and Sunday at noon...live stats and live audio will be offered free for all four games this weekend via www.hornetsports.com...since joining the Div. I ranks in 1990, the Hornets are 42-20 against Santa Clara, and have won each of the last nine meetings in the series dating back to 2007...the PCSC has expanded this season into a 12-team conference with two divisions...Sacramento State plays in the Coastal Division with Cal State Bakersfield, Loyola Marymount, Saint Mary’s, San Diego and Santa Clara...the winner of the Coastal Division will play the winner of the Mountain Division in a three-game series on May 14-15 for the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals...the Mountain Division contains Portland State and new members Idaho State, Northern Colorado, Seattle, Utah Valley and Weber State...in the midst of a rebuilding season, the Hornets currently have just 15 healthy players and are regularly using lineups that consist primarily of underclassmen, including freshmen and walkons...after beginning the season 3-12, Sacramento State is 7-12 over its last 19 games...the Hornets are 4-10 at home this year, and will play a Santa Clara team that, amazingly, has yet to play a home contest this season...statistically, the Hornets have five players hitting better than .300, but two of those players are hurt and out for the season (Desiree Beltran, Jessica Abelia) and another player (Nicole Frayn) is no longer on the team...third baseman Erin Jones (.354) and first baseman Alyssa Nakken (.339) are both hitting well, but every other player on Sacramento State’s roster is hitting .241 or less...the Hornets’ pitching staff has hit a rough patch of late, allowing at least five runs in four straight, and eight of the last 12 games...over that 12-game stretch, the staff has a 4.58 ERA and has allowed 66 runs...however, after missing the last three weeks with a concussion, reigning first team all-conference right-hander Megan Schaefer returned to the circle on Wednesday and threw two innings of scoreless relief against Cal.
• CONFERENCE AUTHORITY - Since beginning Pacific Coast Softball Conference play in 2003, Sacramento State is 84-52 (.618) against conference opposition. The team has finished in second place or higher in the league standings each of the last five years, including 14-6 marks in 2006, 2008 and 2009. Unfortunately, the Hornets have just one conference championship during that span (2008), finishing one game back of first place in both 2006 and 2009. In league play, Sacramento State carries the following records against teams in the PCSC - Saint Mary’s (24-4), San Diego (20-6), Portland State (16-10), Santa Clara (15-13) and Loyola Marymount (9-19).
• INJURIES TAKING A TOLL - Injuries to three of the Hornets’ top players, shortstop Desiree Beltran, second baseman Jessica Abelia and pitcher Megan Schaefer, have taken a toll on this year’s team. Beltran, who was a first team all-Pacific Region selection last year, has missed 21 games because of an ankle injury and is out for the season. To say that the Beltran injury has had an impact on this year’s team is an understatement as she was hitting .462 at the time of the injury and is the team’s best player. Schaefer is still working her way back from offseason wrist surgery and has already missed at least eight starts this season because of a concussion. Abelia was hitting .320 before fracturing her hand after getting hit by a pitch on March 20 vs. Utah State, and she is also out for the year.
• LINEUP SHUFFLE - Due, in part, to the many new faces on this year’s team and injuries, head coach Kathy Strahan has used 30 different starting lineups through the first 34 games. And no lineup has been used more than two times. The lone constant at a particular spot in the batting order has been Alyssa Nakken, who has led off 26 times. Jenice Bartee, Molly Smith and Marissa Navarro have each been hit in six different spots in the lineup during the season.
• HORNET NOTABLES - Alyssa Nakken, Kelli Frye and Jenice Bartee are the only three Hornets to appear and start in all 34 games...Frye has started all 34 games in center field and Bartee has started every game in right...Bartee is 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts this season and 13-for-15 over her career...Nakken has hit safely in 13 of her last 15 games, and is batting .417 (20-48) over that span.