SOFTBALL COMBINES FOR 17 RUNS AND 23 HITS, BUT SPLITS DOUBLEHEADER WITH SAN DIEGO
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Senior Rachel Miles (4-7), sophomore Jacquelyn Serrano (3-5) and freshmen Alyssa Nakken (3-5) and Desiree Beltran (3-6) each combined for at least three hits to lead Sacramento State to a split with San Diego in a Pacific Coast Softball Conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium.
San Diego won the first game, 7-6, before Sacramento State tallied a season-best 16 hits and posted an 11-2, five-inning mercy rule victory in the nightcap. The doubleheader marked the PCSC opener for both teams as Sacramento State is looking to defend its conference title from a year ago.
With the split, Sacramento State (15-18, 1-1) has now won five of its last six games and improved to 8-3 at home this season. Dating back to last season, Sacramento State has now won nine of its last 10 conference games. San Diego moved its record to 10-23 overall and 1-1.
Ten different Hornets had at least one hit today as Sacramento State’s offense combined for 17 runs and 23 hits while batting .411 (23-for-56). That included senior Izmena Cabrera, who picked up hits in both games to extend her hitting streak to 16 games, the third longest in Sacramento State history. If Cabrera gets at least one hit in both games of tomorrow’s doubleheader against the Toreros (noon start time), she would tie Lindy Winkler (18 straight games in 2006) for the longest hitting streak in school history.
Despite playing just once in the last 12 games because of a hamstring injury, Nakken returned today and showed no rust, hitting the ball hard in nearly every at-bat
After a sloppy first game that saw the Hornets commit three errors leading to four unearned runs for San Diego, Sacramento State bounced back with a second-game performance that included every starter having at least one hit before the end of the third inning. The team’s 11 runs and 16 hits were both season highs despite the team getting just four innings of at-bats because the eight-run mercy rule went into effect after San Diego was retired in the top of the fifth.
“I was happy the way we bounced back in the second game and hit the ball hard, taking a little pressure off our pitching and defense,” Sacramento State head coach Kathy Strahan said. “We need to do a better job of being consistent in all aspects of the game, and that will be very key during these five weeks of the conference season.”
In the second game, Sacramento State scored five times in the first inning, twice more in the second and four in the third to build an 11-2 lead. Senior Whitney Loomis (2-for-3, two runs), Miles (2-for-4, two runs), Beltran (3-for-3, two runs, a double, triple and three RBIs), Nakken (2-for-3, two runs and two RBIs), senior Jamie Schloredt (2-for-2 with a run and an RBI) and Serrano (2-for-3 with an RBI) all had multiple-hit games for the Hornets.
Sacramento State faced three different San Diego pitchers in the second game and neither of the three lasted more than 1.2 innings. Serrano entered the first game in the fourth inning for freshman Alicia Noriega, who was taken out of the game for precautionary reasons after colliding hard with San Diego shortstop Cathy Wineinger on a stolen base attempt. Serrano ended up getting hits in three of her five at-bats spanning a game and a half.
Junior Brittani Clifford (4-6) got the second game win, allowing four hits and two runs while striking out three over 5.0 innings. San Diego’s Katie Jo Nelson took the loss, allowing nine hits and seven runs (four earned) in 1.2 innings.
In a sloppy first game that won’t win any awards for defense, both team combined for 13 runs, 16 hits and seven errors. In fact, San Diego committed three of its four errors in the seventh inning, nearly allowing the Hornets to come back from a 7-3 deficit.
Sacramento State scored once in each of the first, second and third innings off San Diego starter Jennifer Ellenbeck to build a 3-2 lead. Highlighting the Hornets’ scoring were RBI-singles from both Cabrera and Noriega.
The Toreros then scored single runs in the fourth and sixth innings, and three more in the seventh to take a commanding 7-3 lead. Three Hornet errors helped the San Diego cause, as four of the seven runs scored off Sacramento State starter Megan Schaefer were unearned.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Hornets nearly overcame a four-run deficit as the team had three runs and two hits while taking advantage of three Torero errors. In fact, after the Hornets scored their third run on a San Diego throwing error by second baseman Taylor Lawrence, Sacramento State had the tying run at second base with just one out. However, Ellenbeck was able to strike out both Schloredt and Cabrera to end the game.
Ellenbeck (5-11) got the win, allowing seven hits and six runs (two earned) while walking two and striking out 11 Hornets. Schaefer lost for the first time since March 1, allowing nine hits and seven runs (three earned) over 7.0 innings. Schaefer had won each of her last four decisions prior to today’s loss.
These same two teams return to the field tomorrow at noon for another doubleheader as they finish off their four-game series.