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SOFTBALL OPENS PCSC PLAY WITH SWEEP OF SANTA CLARA ON THINK PINK DAY
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sacramento State’s offense combined for five home runs and 16 runs over two games as the Hornets opened Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) play with a doubleheader sweep of Santa Clara Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium. Sacramento State won the first game, 10-3, before returning to take the nightcap by a 6-2 score.
The Hornets battered Bronco pitching today to the tune of a .404 batting average (23-for-57) along with three doubles, five home runs, 14 RBIs and a .719 slugging percentage. In fact, five different Hornets hit home runs including Emily McCormick (2nd of the season), Jenice Bartee (1st), Alyssa Nakken (5th), Jillian Canete (1st) and Erin Jones (5th). Sacramento State had entered the game with 11 home runs all season until accumulating five today.
On a day when Sacramento State players wore pink uniforms to promote breast cancer awareness, and cancer survivor Molly Ximenez threw out the ceremonial first pitch, seven different Hornets had at least two hits during the doubleheader. That included McCormick, who went 6-for-8 with three runs and four RBIs. Bartee went 3-for-5 with four runs, two RBIs and two stolen bases, and Kelli Frye had four hits and scored three runs.
Not to be outdone, Hornet starting pitchers Megan Schaefer and Shelby Voelz were both impressive in picking up complete-game victories. The two combined for 14 strikeouts and held Santa Clara hitters to just a .152 batting average.
“The breast cancer awareness theme was very uplifting to everyone, and our players took the field with a lot of energy,” Sacramento State head coach Kathy Strahan said. “That energy carried over all day long and we really played well. It was nice to see the offense get rolling, and it really helped to have Megan (Schaefer) back in the circle.”
With the victories, Sacramento State wins consecutive games for the first time this season and improved to 12-24 overall and 2-0 in the PCSC. The Hornets, who have finished second place or higher in the conference each of the last five years, have now won 10 straight PCSC games dating back to last season.
In addition, Sacramento State improved to 44-20 against Santa Clara since joining the Div. I ranks in 1990, and has won 11 straight meetings between the two teams dating back to 2007.
Santa Clara dropped to 8-17 and 0-2 with the losses. Amazingly, all 25 of the Broncos’ games this season have been played away from home.
These same two teams return to the field for another doubleheader tomorrow at noon to complete the four-game series.
In today’s opener, McCormick had a monster game, finishing a triple short of the cycle. She went 4-for-4 with two runs, a double, home run and four RBIs. Her three-run shot in the second inning was a line drive off the foul pole that gave the Hornets an 8-3 lead.
The four-hit game for McCormick was the most by a Hornet in a single game this year, and she has now posted a team-high four RBIs on two occasions this season. In fact, the Hesperia, Calif., native now has 12 RBIs in the last seven games.
The Hornets scored five times in the top of the first inning, highlighted by Canete’s first home run in a Sacramento State uniform. With Bartee and Jones on base, Canete blasted the first pitch she saw over the center field fence. Earlier in the inning, the Hornets used bunts with runners at third base to score on separate occasions. The first came on a bunt single from McCormick to score Nakken, and the second came on a perfect squeeze bunt by Bartee, which allowed McCormick to score.
The Hornets tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning, including a solo homer from Nakken, her team-high tying fifth round tripper of the season.
In her first start in three weeks (concussion), Schaefer (4-3) went the distance for the win. The right-hander allowed four hits and three runs (two earned) while walking one and striking out four. She allowed just one hit after the second inning, and retired 10 consecutive batters spanning the second through the fifth inning. Santa Clara starter Kaitlyn Rauschnot (3-10) took the loss, and did not make it out of the second inning.
Sacramento State’s Nos. 1-3 hitters of Nakken (2-for-4), Frye (2-for-3) and McCormick combined to go 8-for-11 in the game with six runs, two home runs, two doubles and five RBIs.
The 6-2 victory in the nightcap was highlighted by back-to-back home runs off the bats of Jones and Bartee. In fact the home runs came on back-to-back pitches and were both hit out to center field. The first was a three-run shot by Jones that broke open what had been a close game. Bartee followed with her monster shot that easily cleared the high wall in center and gave the Hornets a 6-1 lead.
That was more than enough run support for Voelz (6-13), who struck out a career-high 10 batters while tossing 117 pitches. The right-hander from Vancouver, Wash., allowed just three hits and two runs (one earned) over seven innings.
Santa Clara starter Riley McKay (1-3) got the loss, allowing 12 hits and six runs (five earned) with no strikeouts over six innings. In fact, Bronco pitchers combined to strike out just one Sacramento State hitter during the entire day.
For Sacramento State, Frye, McCormick, Bartee and Marissa Navarro all had multiple-hit games in the nightcap.
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