SOFTBALL SWEEPS SANTA CLARA, BUT IS ELIMINATED FROM CONFERENCE TITLE CONTENTION
SARATOGA, Calif. -- Freshman Desiree Beltran combined for two home runs and seven RBIs, and Jenice Bartee, Alicia Noriega and Whitney Loomis each had four hits to lead Sacramento State to a sweep of Santa Clara in a Pacific Coast Softball Conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon at the West Valley College softball field.
The Hornets, who combined for 15 runs and 22 hits in two games, won the first game, 8-1, before taking the nightcap by the score of 7-2. Beltran’s two home runs gives her seven this season, which is the best Sacramento State single-season mark for a freshman in school history. The seven home runs surpasses the previous freshman record of six, set by teammate Jamie Schloredt in 2006.
With the victories, Sacramento State (26-23, 12-6) is now three games above the .500 mark for the first time all season. However, the Hornets, who have won six straight conference games, saw their hopes of winning a second consecutive PCSC championship come to an end. That’s because Portland State swept a doubleheader from Loyola Marymount today in Los Angeles, clinching the conference championship in the process.
Portland State (14-4) is now two games ahead of second-place Sacramento State (12-6) with just two games remaining for both teams as tomorrow is the final day of the regular season. Portland State, however, owns the tiebreaker over Sacramento State after winning three of four games in the teams’ head-to-head matchups earlier this season. By virtue of winning the PCSC championship, the Vikings will earn the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals. Sacramento State’s season will come to an end with tomorrow’s doubleheader at Santa Clara (6-47, 1-17).
The Hornets’ late-season push at attempting to earn their second consecutive league title came a little too late, as the series in Portland a couple weeks ago proved costly. The Hornets losing three four at Portland State (April 18-19) marks the only conference series that Sacramento State will lose all season.
In the first game, Noriega had a career-high four hits as the freshman went 4-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs and clubbed her first home run of the season. In fact, Noriega had nearly half of Sacramento State’s nine hits as no other Hornet had a multiple-hit game. After falling behind in the second inning, 1-0, Sacramento State scored five times in the third, once more in the sixth and twice in the seventh to put the game away.
Highlighting the Hornets’ five-run third inning was a grand slam off the bat of Beltran. One out later, senior Izmena Cabrera hit a solo home run to cap the Hornets’ scoring in the third inning.
Noriega’s solo homer in the sixth inning gave the Hornets a 6-1 lead and the team added two more insurance runs in the seventh on an RBI-single from Loomis and an RBI-double from Noriega. Sophomore Megan Schaefer (15-7) picked up the win for Sacramento State, allowing just one run and five hits while walking none and striking out six over seven innings. Kaitlyn Rauschnot (1-26) got the loss for Santa Clara, allowing three hits and five runs over three innings.
In the second game, Sacramento State scored two runs in both the first and second innings, and three more in the fourth to put the game away early. The Hornets pounded out 13 hits in the contest, including three each from Bartee (3-for-3, three runs), Beltran (3-for-3, three RBIs) and Loomis (3-for-4, one RBI).
Highlighting the Hornets’ scoring during the game was a first-inning sacrifice fly from Schloredt, an RBI-single from Beltran in the second, a two-run homer from Beltran in the fourth, and an RBI-double from Loomis in the fourth.
Freshman Shelby Voelz (7-8) picked up the win for Sacramento State, allowing four hits and two runs while striking out seven over seven innings. Jenna Fong (4-18) took the loss for Santa Clara, allowing seven runs (five earned) and 10 hits over 3.2 innings.
Both teams close their respective seasons tomorrow with another doubleheader beginning at noon.