SOFTBALL SWEEPS LOYOLA MARYMOUNT, FINISHES SEASON IN SECOND PLACE
LOS ANGELES – Freshman Emily McCormick combined to go 7-for-8 with three runs, two homers and seven RBIs to lead Sacramento State to a sweep of Loyola Marymount in a Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Smith Field.
The Hornets won the first game, 9-6, before taking the nightcap by a 12-8 score. Coupled with yesterday’s doubleheader sweep of the Lions (22-26, 9-11), Sacramento State won all four games in the year-ending four-game series.
With the victories, Sacramento State finishes its season with a 23-31 overall record and a 13-7 mark in the PCSC. The Hornets also finish the year in second place in the PCSC’s Coastal Division, trailing Saint Mary’s final record of 14-4. The Gaels and San Diego (11-7) were supposed to make up a rained out doubleheader tomorrow, but those games will no longer be played because the Gaels have already clinched the division title. Saint Mary’s will now play Mountain Division winner Portland State in a three-game series next weekend to determine the PCSC champion. The winner will receive the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals.
The rebuilding Hornets, who started at least six underclassmen in every game this season, continued to get better as the year progressed. In fact, the team finished the season winning five straight and seven of its last nine games. That included sweeping a four-game series on Loyola Marymount’s home field for the first time in school history.
In addition, with the second place finish, Sacramento State has now second or higher in the PCSC standings six straight years. The Hornets tallied double figures in hits each of the last five games of the season as well. That included sophomore Marissa Navarro (12), freshman Erin Jones (9) and junior Jillian Canete (8) all finishing the season with lengthy hitting streaks.
During the four-game sweep, Sacramento State combined to hit .421 (51-121) with 34 runs, 10 doubles, eight home runs and 27 RBIs. McCormick couldn’t be stopped, concluding the series with a .750 batting average (12-for-16), five runs scored, three doubles, two home runs, 10 RBIs and a 1.313 slugging percentage. Jones (.571, six runs, two home runs and five RBIs), Navarro (.500, three runs) and freshman Molly Smith (.417, two home runs and three RBIs) also hit better than .400 during the series.
Jones finished the season with a team-high .391 batting average, which is the second best mark ever posted by a Hornet freshman, and her team-best 40 RBIs are also the second highest mark by a first-year player. The .391 average is the fourth best single-season mark in school history, and the 40 RBIs are the third best mark.
Six Sacramento State regulars hit better than .350 against conference competition, comprised of McCormick (.499), Jones (.435), Navarro (.417), Jenice Bartee (.379), Megan Schaefer (.368) and Canete (.362).
In today’s opener, Sacramento State erased an early 5-1 deficit with a six-run second inning and later added two runs of insurance to push across a 9-6 victory. That included back-to-back home runs from Jones and McCormick in the second inning. McCormick finished the game 4-for-4 with four RBIs, as she recorded at least one RBI in three of her four at-bats during the game. That included a two-out, RBI-double in the first inning to get the Hornets on the board.
During the six-run second inning, the Hornets’ first two batters of the frame were retired before the team unleashed with seven straight hitters reaching base safely. That included two runs scoring on a LMU error, a two-run homer from Jones, a solo blast from McCormick and a wild pitch allowing Schaefer to score from third base. McCormick’s two-run single in the sixth wrapped up Sacramento State’s scoring.
Schaefer (10-7) got the win in relief, allowing seven hits and three runs in 5.2 innings. Jacquelyn Serrano started the game, but was pulled with one out in the second inning. Four different LMU pitchers appeared in the game, and Molly Medeiros (8-9) was saddled with the loss, allowing five hits and six runs (one earned) in 1.1 innings.
The Hornets’ Nos. 3-5 hitters of Jones, McCormick and Schaefer combined to go 8-for-10 with four runs, a double, two home runs and six RBIs.
In the nightcap, the two teams combined for 20 runs and 28 hits. Fortunately for the Hornets, they made the most of their 14 hits, scoring 12 runs, their third highest total of the season. That included six runs in the first, two more in the third, one in the fourth and three in the fifth.
For the second straight game, a six-run inning was highlighted by back-to-back home runs. This time it was the first inning, where back-to-back jacks by Bartee and Jones got the Hornets on the board. By the time the inning had ended, 10 batters were sent to the plate and the Hornets had six hits, including an RBI-single from Navarro, an RBI-double from Canete, a wild pitch scoring Navarro and an RBI-single from Kelli Frye.
After LMU scored five times over the next two inning to cut the deficit to 6-5, a two-out, two-run double from Jones gave the Hornets some breathing room and extended the lead to 8-5. Sacramento State would hold at least a two-run advantage the rest of the way as a wild pitch scoring Navarro (fourth inning) and a three-run homer from McCormick (fifth inning) rounded out the Hornets’ scoring.
LMU tried to come back in the seventh, scoring a pair of runs early and loading the bases with two outs. But Amy Charpentier, representing the tying run, grounded out to end the game.
Five different Hornets had multiple-hit games, and six Hornets had at least one RBI, including three each from Jones and McCormick. McCormick finished the game with three hits, while Bartee, Jones, Navarro and Frye each had two.
Shelby Voelz (11-16) worked the first six-plus innings to pick up the win while Schaefer got the final three outs in the seventh.
Sacramento State will now look forward to a 2011 season in which the team will return all but two players from its current roster, including eight starters and the entire pitching staff. Today marked the final games in the careers of Sacramento State seniors Katie Bossenmaier and Bartee.
Bartee finished her career playing in 164 games, including 145 starts at all three outfield positions. She batted .275 for her career with 89 runs (T-6th in school history), 12 home runs (3rd in school history), 19 stolen bases (T-7th in school history) and 24 outfield assists (1st in school history). Bartee, who was a perfect 13-for-13 in stolen base attempts this season, was one of three players to start all 54 games (Frye and Alyssa Nakken were the others) this year.