SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Virginia scored six times in the top of the seventh inning, sparked by a three-run double from Kristen Dennis, as the Cavaliers defeated the Hornets in game two, 7-6, of a non-conference softball doubleheader Tuesday afternoon at Shea Stadium.
Dennis threw a two-hit shutout in the first game as Virginia posted a 2-0 victory. With the doubleheader sweep, the Cavaliers improved their record to 17-7 overall. Sacramento State, which has now lost six in a row, dropped to 8-14.
Virginia combined for eight runs in the seventh inning of both games as the Cavaliers broke a 0-0 tie in the first game with two runs. In the nightcap, Virginia erased a five-run deficit in the seventh with its six-run output. Dennis (9-3) picked up the win in both games as the senior allowed three runs (zero earned) and eight hits in a combined 10.1 innings of work.
In the second game, the Hornets posted three runs in both the fourth and sixth innings as they carried a 6-1 lead into the seventh inning. Arlette Sunseri (2-for-4), Jillian Bivert (2-for-4), Yolanda Estrada (3-for-4) and Alison Norman (2-for-4, 2 RBIs) each posted multi-hit games as Sacramento State tied its season high with 12 hits.
In the top of the seventh, Stephanie Calhoun walked to begin the inning before Ruby Rojas followed with a two-run homer to draw Virginia within, 6-3. Hornet starter Gina Steenburgen was pulled in favor of reliever Kirsten Wise after the Rojas blast. Hannah Owings greeted Wise with a single before an error by Hornet second baseman Michelle Bariao allowed Jill Bumler to reach base, putting runners at first and second with no outs. After Wise retired Johanna Kaiser, Valerie Sevilla followed with a single, loading the bases with one out.
After Wise struck out Kelly McCabe for the second out, Heather Field followed with an infield single scoring Bumler. That set up Dennis, who laced a bases-clearing double after fouling off multiple pitches to give the Cavaliers the lead. The final four runs of the inning were all unearned as the Bariao error proved costly. Dennis finished the game 2-for-4 with three RBIs while Field went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Wise (1-2) picked up the loss in relief, allowing four runs (all unearned) and four hits in one inning. Dennis picked up the win, throwing the final 3.1 innings of the contest.
In the opener, Dennis tossed a two-hit shutout as doubles by Erin Coyne and Meghan Cunningham were the only Sacramento State hits of the contest. The Cavaliers scored what proved to be the game-winning run on a successful squeeze bunt from Lauren Dennis scoring Rojas. On the same play, a fielding miscue by Hornet starter Nicole Deatherage allowed Owings to score all the way from second base with the team's second run.
Deatherage (4-2) picked up the loss despite allowing just two runs and seven hits in seven innings. Kelly McCabe, Field and Owings each finished with two hits for Virginia.
Sacramento State returns to action as it hosts the Capital Classic this Thursday-Sunday, March 14-17. The Hornets open up play on Thursday against IUPUI (5 p.m.), and play three more times against Middle Tennessee (9 a.m.), Virginia (1 p.m.) and UNLV (3 p.m.) on Friday.