SOFTBALL PLAYS FINAL HOME GAMES THIS WEEK AGAINST LOYOLA MARYMOUNT
Freshman Shannon Kaufman is batting .560 (14-for-25) during her current eight-game hitting streak
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State softball team will play its final home games of the season this week when the team hosts Loyola Marymount for a four-game Pacific Coast Softball Conference series this Friday and Saturday (April 22-23).
The Hornets will bring an 11-21 overall record and a 3-5 conference mark into this week’s games. Loyola Marymount, which is coming off a four-game road sweep of Santa Clara, is 23-21 overall and 7-1 in league. With 12 games remaining in conference play, Loyola Marymount and San Diego sit atop the PCSC’s Coastal Division while Sacramento State and Saint Mary’s are four games back in a tie for third place.
By the time this week’s games conclude, the Hornets will have played their first 12 conference games of the season at home, and wrap up league play with eight straight road contests (April 30-May 1 at Santa Clara; May 7-8 at Cal State Bakersfield). Sacramento State dropped three of four games to San Diego to open the conference year, and split four games last weekend against Saint Mary’s.
Despite being four games back of first place, the Hornets can make some headway in the league standings the next few weeks. A successful week against LMU will obviously help, but Sacramento State will also wrap up the year against two teams - Santa Clara and Cal State Bakersfield - that are a combined 4-12 in conference play thus far.
Loyola Marymount has won nine of its last 11 games, which includes a narrow 5-4 loss to sixth-ranked UCLA on April 6. Dating back even further, the Lions have won 15 of their last 20 games after beginning the season with an 8-16 record. Loyola Marymount’s strength is its potent offense which leads the PCSC in virtually every offensive statistical category. That includes batting average (.294), runs (212), doubles (44), home runs (41), RBIs (189), slugging percentage (.435) and on-base percentage (.373). Shortstop Sam Fischer (.338, 10 home runs) and designated player Kelly Sarginson (.323, 13 home runs) have combined for 23 of the team’s 41 homers.
Sacramento State got off to nice start last weekend, sweeping Saturday’s doubleheader against Saint Mary’s. However, the Hornets dropped two the following day, including a 3-2 loss in the second game of Sunday that saw Saint Mary’s come back after being down to its last strike. Normally a very good team at home, Sacramento State is 6-10 at Shea Stadium this season. That includes a 3-7 record on their current 14-game homestand.
Prior to Saturday’s doubleheader, Hornet seniors Megan Schaefer, Jacquelyn Serrano, Ashlee Adkins and Jillian Canete will be honored for their contributions to the program.
All four games of this week’s series will have multimedia options, including live audio and live stats.
AGAINST LOYOLA MARYMOUNT: Sacramento State is 15-21 all-time against Loyola Marymount, but the Hornets have won the last seven games between the two teams. That includes sweeping four games from the Lions in Los Angeles in last season’s finale for both teams. Since PCSC play began in 2003, the Hornets are 13-19 against the Lions, including a 7-9 mark when playing at Shea Stadium.
- Junior shortstop Jessica Abelia began the year in a severe slump, going hitless in her first 30 at-bats. The most baffling part about the slump was that it came one season after Abelia hit .320. The Elk Grove native, who hit a right-handed the first 46 games of her Hornet career, decided to make the switch to a left-handed slap hitter last weekend against Saint Mary’s. The switch worked well as Abelia not only picked up her first hit of the season, but finished the weekend hitting .417 (5-for-12) with three runs, a walk and a .462 on-base percentage.
- Freshman left fielder Shannon Kaufman is currently riding a team-best eight-game hitting streak. During the hitting streak, she is hitting a robust .560 (14-for-25) with three runs scored and a pair of stolen bases. Overall, she is now batting a team-best .344, including a .560 average against league competition. The .560 average is easily the best mark in the PCSC, and is 77 points better than any other player in the conference’s Coastal Division. Kaufman leads the Hornets with 10 multiple-hit games, and five of those multis have come during her current hitting streak.
- Fourth-year senior right-hander and team co-captain Megan Schaefer enters her final set of home games in what has been a very impressive career thus far. A two-time all-conference selection, she ranks among Sacramento State’s career top 10 pitching marks in five different categories, including sixth in innings, wins and starts, and ninth in complete games and strikeouts. For her career, she is 35-25 with a 2.56 ERA, and has struck out 225 batters in 432.2 innings. Schaefer has been named PCSC Pitcher of the Week on six occasions during her career and is a two-time PCSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll recipient. Despite battling injury all season, Schaefer has a very respectable 2.58 ERA this year, which includes a 0.55 ERA in three league games thus far.
- Sacramento State has started at least six underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) in every game this year. That includes routinely starting four freshmen. Left fielder Shannon Kaufman (30 starts), right fielder Paige Martin (26 starts), second baseman Devin Caldwell (31 starts) and right-hander Taylor Stroud (13 starts in the circle) have each seen substantial playing time throughout the season. Freshman Yesenia Alcala has started 17 games at shortstop this year, but has not played the last five games.
- Saturday, April 23, will be the Hornets’ final home games of the season, marking the earliest the team has played a home finale since joining the Div. I ranks in 1990. The previous mark was April 25, played against Fresno State in 1990.
- After appearing in the No. 1 spot of the Hornets’ lineup the first 28 games of the season, first baseman Alyssa Nakken was shifted to the sixth spot in last weekend’s four-game series against Saint Mary’s. Shannon Kaufman assumed the leadoff spot in the lineup and responded by going 8-for-14 with a walk during the four-game set.
- Freshman right-hander Taylor Stroud’s no-hitter two weeks ago against San Diego marked the first no-hitter thrown by a Hornet since Cassie Cervantes accomplished the feat against Portland State (4-0 win) on May 6, 2006. The Hornets added another no-hitter in a mercy-rule shortened combined no-hitter last Saturday against Saint Mary’s. Megan Schaefer threw the first four innings while Shelby Voelz worked the last inning to record the team’s first combined no-hitter since the program joined the Div. I ranks in 1990.
- Eight of the Hornets’ last 11 games have been decided by three runs or less. Sacramento State is 3-5 in those games.