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STROUD, SHEPARD AND McCORMICK LEAD SOFTBALL TO SWEEP OF SANTA CLARA
Sophomore Kelly Shepard blasted the first two home runs of her collegiate career today
SARAGOTA, Calif. -- Sacramento State’s Kelly Shepard pounded two home runs, Emily McCormick hit a three-run blast, and right-hander Taylor Stroud tossed a five-hit shutout in the nightcap to lead the Hornets to a Pacific Coast Softball Conference doubleheader sweep of Santa Clara Saturday afternoon at West Valley College.
Shepard hit the first two home runs of her collegiate career to power the Hornets to a 4-3 victory in the first game, and McCormick’s three-run blast provided insurance in the seventh inning of the team’s 4-0 victory in the second game. In that 4-0 win, Stroud allowed just one runner past second base while tossing her fourth shutout of the season.
With the sweep, Sacramento State (16-22, 8-6) takes the first two games of the four-game series with Santa Clara (6-26, 2-12) as these same two teams will play another doubleheader tomorrow. With just six games remaining in the season, the Hornets find themselves all alone in the third place in the league standings, four games back of first-place San Diego (12-2) and two games behind second-place Loyola Marymount (10-4).
In the opener, Santa Clara jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning after Stephanie Fisher and Briana Knight hit back-to-back home runs with one out in the inning. Bronco starter Jessica Turner held the Hornets scoreless the first four innings before Sacramento State scored twice in the fifth inning, once more in the sixth and once in the seventh.
Shepard led off the fifth inning with a blast that sailed over the center field fence on a 1-2 pitch. The Hornets tied the game later in the inning when Shannon Kaufman singled home Alyssa Nakken. Shepard came through again in the sixth inning, this time depositing a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall that gave the Hornets a brief 3-2 lead.
The Broncos would tie the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI-single by Amanda Edmondson. That hit chased Hornet starter Megan Schaefer, and junior Shelby Voelz took over in relief. Voelz (2-4) would eventually work the final 1.2 innings of the game while striking out three batters to pick up her second victory of the season. The Hornets’ win was made possible by a two-out, seventh-inning error by Bronco first baseman Kelly Scribner that allowed Kaufman to score what proved to be the game-winning run from second base.
Voelz allowed a pair of runners to reach base in the bottom of the seventh, but got Catherine Surane to ground out ending the game. Turner (1-17) went the distance in the loss, allowing eight hits and four runs (two earned) while walking one batter. Kaufman finished the game 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI while Shepard went 2-for-3 with the two solo home runs.
One week after throwing a two-hit shutout against conference rival Loyola Marymount, Stroud (8-10) nearly duplicated the feat today against Santa Clara. The freshman right-hander allowed just five singles while walking three and striking out over seven innings. She had little trouble until a seventh inning which saw the Broncos load the bases with no outs. However, Stroud struck out back-to-back hitters and then got Krista Jensen to fly out and end the game. Stroud needed 126 pitches to complete the shutout and faced seven batters over the minimum.
The Hornets got on the board with a run in the first inning after Jessica Abelia scored on a wild pitch. Sacramento State didn’t generate much offense until the seventh when Nakken and Kelli Frye began the inning with singles. Both runners were eventually pushed up a base, and, with two outs, McCormick blasted a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall to provide Stroud with more than enough cushion.
For McCormick, it was her third home run of the season and second in the last five games. She finished the game 2-for-4 with a run and three RBIs while Devin Caldwell (2-for-2) and Frye (2-for-3) also accounted for Hornet multiple-hit games.
Santa Clara’s Jenna Fong (5-8) got the loss, allowing eight hits and four runs while striking out three over seven innings. The Broncos’ Nos. 1-4 hitters combined to go 1-for-11 against Stroud.
The Hornet defense was flawless in both games to today’s doubleheader and the team is now 8-6 when committing no errors in a game.
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