SOFTBALL SWEEPS FOUR-GAME SERIES FROM SANTA CLARA, IN POSITION TO MAKE A RUN AT LEAGUE CROWN
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State pitchers Kayla Meeks and Megan Schaefer combined to allow Santa Clara no runs over two games, and Jamie Schloredt had four hits, a home run and two RBIs to lead the Hornets to a doubleheader sweep of the Broncos in a Pacific Coast Softball Conference matchup Sunday afternoon at Shea Stadium.
Meek’s two-hit shutout led the Hornets to a 2-0 victory in the first game, and Schaefer’s three-hit shutout led Sacramento State to a 9-0 victory in the second game. The nightcap was stopped after five innings because the Hornets had enough runs to enforce the eight-run mercy rule. Schloredt, who reached base six times in eight plate appearances during the doubleheader, accounted for both runs in the opener with a home run and RBI-single.
Coupled with yesterday’s doubleheader sweep of Santa Clara, Sacramento State (28-19, 10-6) won all four games in a series the team needed to sweep badly to remain in postseason contention.
The four-game sweep sets up a crazy final weekend (May 3-4) in PCSC action, as four teams all have the opportunity to win the regular season championship and grab the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals. Saint Mary’s swept San Diego this weekend, and now sits all alone in first place with an 11-5 league record. Sacramento State and Loyola Marymount are tied for second with 10-6 marks, and Portland State sits in fourth place with a 9-7 record.
Sacramento State will travel next weekend to San Diego, a team that currently sits in last place in the conference standings with a 3-13 league mark. Loyola Marymount will travel to Saint Mary’s, and Portland State will host Santa Clara. All three matchups are four-game series, and will be the final four games of the regular season for each team. Should Sacramento State finish the season tied atop the conference standings with either Saint Mary’s or Portland State, the Hornets would win the tiebreaker. However, Loyola Marymount owns the tiebreaker over Sacramento State.
The Hornets will seek their first PCSC championship since the league was formed in 2003, and their first NCAA Regional appearance since 1995. Sacramento State has finished second in the league standings each of the last three years.
“This was a huge series, and I was very proud of the team for being disciplined enough to stay focused on one game at a time,” Sacramento State head coach Kathy Strahan said. “I was very happy with our pitching staff. They did a great job of shutting down Santa Clara, and really set the tone for the day.”
In the first game, Meeks (12-8) tossed her third shutout of the season, allowing just two hits and two walks over seven innings while striking out six. She gave up just one hit over the final six innings, and faced only four batters over the minimum. The Hanford, Calif., native threw 97 pitches and allowed just one runner past second base during the entire game.
Schloredt was responsible for driving in both Hornet runs during the game, coming through with a two-out, RBI-single in the third, and launching a first-pitch riseball over the center field wall to lead off the sixth inning. She finished the game 2-for-3 with a run, walk and two RBIs. Meeks also finished 2-for-3 for the Hornets.
Santa Clara starter Jackie Morales (5-20) took the loss for Santa Clara, allowing two runs (one earned) and nine hits over seven innings.
In the second game, Sacramento State jumped all over three Bronco pitchers to the tune of nine runs and 11 hits despite the game lasting just five innings. The Hornets used a six-run third inning to break open a close game, and rode the arm of Schaefer the rest of the way.
Amy Tompkins (2-for-4, one RBI), Schloredt (2-for-3), Jenice Bartee (2-for-3, two RBIs) and Whitney Loomis (2-for-3, three RBIs) each had multiple-hit games for Sacramento State.
A two-out RBI-single by Loomis in the second inning got the Hornets on the board. The team blew the game open with six runs in the third inning, with five of those runs scoring after two outs had been recorded. Highlighting the inning were an RBI-single from Bartee, a two-run triple from Loomis and an RBI-single from Tompkins.
Sacramento State tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning, which were more than enough runs for Schaefer. The freshman right-hander, who improved her record to 4-4, allowed just three hits without a walk in five innings. She also struck out five, and retired the side in order in the first, third and fourth innings.
Meeks went hitless (0-for-3 with an RBI) in the second game, ending her career-high 11-game hitting streak. The 11-game streak was also the longest of the season by a Hornet, surpassing the previous high of nine games, set by Hilary Johnson and Amy Tompkins earlier this year.
Sacramento State and San Diego will play doubleheaders next Saturday and Sunday at noon. The teams have not faced each other this season, and the Hornets have won four of the last five meetings dating back to 2006.
PCSC STANDINGS (conference record only)
Saint Mary’s 11-5
Sacramento State 10-6
Loyola Marymount 10-6
Portland State 9-7
Santa Clara 5-11
San Diego 3-13