SOFTBALL ENTERS FINAL HOMESTAND THIS WEEK
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Thursday, April 29
Santa Clara at Sacramento State - 3 p.m.
Saturday, May 1
Cal State Bakersfield at Sacramento State (DH) - Noon
Sunday, May 2
Cal State Bakersfield at Sacramento State (DH) - Noon
Get live audio and live stats via hornetsports.com for every game this week
THIS WEEK’S PREVIEW
After dropping three of four games last weekend at Saint Mary’s, the Sacramento State softball squad (16-29, 6-5) embarks upon an important week...with just two weeks remaining in the regular season, Sacramento State finds itself in third place in the PCSC Coastal Division standings, 2.5 games behind first-place Loyola Marymount (9-3) and 1.5 games back of second-place Saint Mary’s (7-3)...additionally, the Gaels own the tiebreaker over the Hornets should the two teams finish the season with the same record....the winner of Coastal Division will host the winner of the PCSC’s Mountain Division in a three-game series (May 14-15), with the winner receiving an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament...Sacramento State has nine games remaining on the regular season schedule, with each of the final five home games coming this week...the first of which takes place on Thursday when the Hornets play a makeup game against Santa Clara (9-25, 1-10) at 3 p.m...Sacramento State concludes its week with a four-game series this weekend against Cal State Bakersfield (19-29, 6-6)...the two teams will play doubleheaders on both Saturday and Sunday beginning at noon...Hornet senior captains Jenice Bartee and Katie Bossenmaier will be honored for their contributions to the program prior to Sunday’s doubleheader...if the Hornets want to remain in playoff contention, the team will likely have to win at least four of its five games this week to realistically remain in the hunt...Sacramento State can help its own cause during the final week of the regular season when the Hornets travel to Loyola Marymount (May 8-9) for a four-game series...LMU plays four games at San Diego this weekend while Saint Mary’s plays four games at Santa Clara...in a major rebuilding phase and playing the majority of the season without its best player (sophomore shortstop Desiree Beltran), including an assortment of injuries affecting other top players, Sacramento State routinely starts at least eight underclassmen...after dropping the final three games at Saint Mary’s, the Hornets’ current three-game losing streak is the team’s longest since the beginning of March...Sacramento State has finished in second place or higher in the PCSC standings each of the last five years, a streak which appears to be in jeopardy...the Hornets are also on the verge of finishing with an overall record below .500 for just the second time in eight years...the team has never finished with a record below .500 in PCSC play since joining the conference in 2003...the win on Saturday against Saint Mary’s was head coach Kathy Strahan’s 500th in a Sacramento State uniform...she is now 500-468-2 in 18 years at Sacramento State, and 747-713-3 in 27 years as a collegiate head coach.
• RAKING McCORMICK - Over the last 16 games, no Hornet has been more dangerous offensively than freshman infielder Emily McCormick. During that 16-game span, she is batting .415 (22-for-53) with 11 runs, six doubles, three home runs, 15 RBIs and a .698 slugging percentage. McCormick leads the team in each of those categories during the span, and has raised her batting average 113 points. She is currently hitting .305 overall, and a team-best .447 against PCSC competition. That .447 average is the fourth best mark in the conference.
• INJURIES TAKING A TOLL - Injuries early in the season to the Hornets’ Nos. 2 and 3 hitters in the lineup, second baseman Jessica Abelia and shortstop Desiree Beltran, respectively, have taken a toll on this year’s team. Beltran, who was a first team all-Pacific Region selection last year, has missed 32 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. Abelia was hitting .320 before fracturing her hand after getting hit by a pitch on March 20 vs. Utah State, and has missed 19 games. The team’s top pitcher, Megan Schaefer, also missed at least eight starts because of a concussion, but has been healthy and pitching again the last three weeks.
• LINEUP SHUFFLE - Due, in part, to the many new faces on this year’s team and injuries, head coach Kathy Strahan has used 35 different starting lineups through the first 45 games. And only one 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 37 times. Jenice Bartee has hit in seven different spots in the lineup this year while Molly Smith and Marissa Navarro have been used in six spots.
• RAISING THE BAR-TEE - One of two seniors, and the only fourth-year senior on this season’s squad, right fielder Jenice Bartee’s impressive career is nearing its end. One of the best defensive outfielders in school history, she has a school-record 10 outfield assists this season, and a school-record 22 outfield assists during her career. In addition, she is one of only two position players on the Hornets without an error this season and has just six during her entire career. What makes the 10 assists this season even more remarkable is she has thrown out nine batters at first base after fielding a ball that went through the right side of the infield (9-3 putout). She has appeared in 155 games, including 136 starts, and has a career batting average of .267 with 78 runs, 10 homers and 46 RBIs. She is also 17-for-19 in stolen base attempts, including a perfect 11-for-11 this season.