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SOFTBALL IMPROVES WIN STREAK TO FOUR WITH SWEEP OF WISCONSIN
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Junior Izmena Cabrera combined for four hits and five RBIs over two games, and freshman pitcher Megan Schaefer was two outs shy of a no-hitter to lead Sacramento State to a softball doubleheader sweep of Wisconsin on Wednesday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The Hornets won the first game, 8-6, before taking the nightcap by the score of 5-1.
With the victories, Sacramento State (16-11) improved its winning streak to four games, including six of the last seven. In addition, today’s doubleheader snapped a string of 21 consecutive games the Hornets played away from their home stadium. Wisconsin dropped to 7-19 with the losses.
“Things are really coming together nicely for the team, and we are currently playing at a high level,” Sacramento State head coach Kathy Strahan said. “The team is having fun, the players have bought into our system and they are really executing the game plan perfectly right now.”
Sacramento State’s potent offense, which now boasts a .303 team batting average, has scored at least four runs in seven of the last eight games.
Cabrera combined for an .800 batting average (4-for-5) with two runs, one double, one home run, one intentional walk and five RBIs over two games. Over her last four games, she is hitting .769 (10-for-13) with two doubles, two home runs, six RBIs and 18 total bases. Schaefer was the story in the second game as she threw 6.1 hitless innings until a solo home run from Alexis Garcia spoiled the no-hit bid. Still, the right-hander allowed just one hit and one run over seven innings while striking out five. Besides the home run, she did not allow a Wisconsin runner past first base during the entire game, and retired 11 batters in a row at one point.
In the first game, Sacramento State pounded out eight runs and 12 hits as five different Hornets had multiple-hit games. Cabrera made the biggest impact, finishing the game 3-for-3 with a single, double, home run and game-high four RBIs. She accounted for the Hornets’ first three runs with a RBI-double in the first inning and a two-run homer in the third that easily cleared the left-center field wall.
Sacramento State scored in every inning but the second, including one in the first, two in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings, and once more in the sixth. The team did not need its at-bat in the seventh.
After Wisconsin closed to within, 3-2, in the fourth, Rachel Miles came through in the bottom of the inning with a two-out, two-run single to give the Hornets a 5-2 lead. Sacramento State tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI-singles from Whitney Loomis and Cabrera. The Hornets added an insurance run in the sixth on an RBI-grounder from Hilary Johnson that scored Teri Ann Caoagan.
The Hornets needed every run they could muster as Wisconsin nearly erased an 8-2 deficit in the top of the seventh. The Badgers pushed across four runs in the inning, and had the tying runner at the plate on two occasions, but Hornet reliever Brittani Clifford retired both Ricci Robben and Lynn Anderson to end the game. Clifford picked up her fourth save of the season in the process, allowing just one hit after taking over for starter Kayla Meeks during the seventh.
Meeks (7-4) lasted six-plus innings to garner the win, and the right-hander has now won five of her last six decisions. Letty Olivarez got the loss for Wisconsin, allowing seven runs (five earned) and 10 hits over 4.1 innings of work. Joining Cabrera with multiple-hit games for the Hornets were Amy Tompkins (2-for-4, three runs), Loomis (2-for-3, one RBI), Jenice Bartee (2-for-3 with a run) and Johnson (2-for-4 with a run and an RBI).
In the nightcap, Sacramento State scored early with two runs in the first on a two-run fielding error by Wisconsin outfielder Ricci Robben which allowed both Cabrera and Loomis to score. The Hornets added three more in the second inning on RBI-singles from Tompkins and Cabrera, and a sacrifice fly from Jamie Schloredt.
That was all the run support Schaefer would need as the freshman faced just three batters over the minimum. She improved her record to 3-2 with the victory and lowered her team-best ERA to 2.48.
Leah Vanevenhoven (2-9) got the loss, allowing one hit and three runs (one earned) over one-plus inning of work.
For Sacramento State, Johnson finished the doubleheader 4-for-6 and extended her hitting streak to seven games. During that seven-game stretch, she is batting .545 (12-for-22) with five runs and three RBIs.
Sacramento State returns to action later this week for another home doubleheader against Pacific on Friday, March 21, at 1 p.m. Today’s doubleheader began a stretch that will see the Hornets play nine of their next 15 games at home.
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