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NAVARROâ€™S WALK-OFF HOME RUN LEADS SOFTBALL TO SWEEP OF SANTA CLARA
Marissa Navarro hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Hornets a win in the second game
SARATOGA, Calif. -- Junior Marissa Navarro crushed the first pitch she saw in the bottom of the eighth inning for a three-run walk-off homer to deliver a 5-2 victory over Santa Clara in the second game of a Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) doubleheader Sunday afternoon at West Valley College.
Sacramento State received five solid innings from senior Megan Schaefer to win the first game by a 4-1 score. Per conference rules, the Hornets were the designated home team for both games today despite the doubleheader being played on Santa Clara’s home field.
With the victories, the Hornets (18-22, 10-6) swept the four-game series from Santa Clara (6-28, 2-14), and have now won seven of their last eight games.
However, despite the sweep, Sacramento State was officially eliminated today from conference championship contention as San Diego won both its games against Saint Mary’s. The Toreros sit in first place with a 14-2 league record with four games remaining in the season, Loyola Marymount is second with a 12-4 record, and the Hornets sit in third. San Diego travels to Loyola Marymount for a four-game series next weekend while the Hornets travel to Cal State Bakersfield to close the season. Sacramento State will look to continue a trend that has seen the team finish second place or higher in the league standings six straight years.
In today’s nightcap, Navarro’s team-high tying fourth home run of the season easily cleared the left-center field wall and ended a game which lasted two hours and one minute. Shannon Kaufman opened the inning with a single, and one out later, moved to third base on a double from Emily McCormick. That set up Navarro’s heroics as she crushed the first pitch she saw from Santa Clara pitcher Jessica Turner.
Hornet starter Shelby Voelz, who picked up a save in the first game, went all eight innings to earn the victory. Voelz (3-4) worked her way out of trouble many times during the game, stranding the bases loaded in the first and seventh innings. In fact, the Broncos stranded 11 runners on base. Voelz worked her way out of a bases loaded, one-out situation in the seventh by getting consecutive ground balls to end the frame.
After the Broncos scored a pair of runs in the first inning, the Hornets tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth after McCormick homered to left field and Martin’s RBI-single later in the inning scored Devin Caldwell. Sacramento State trailed in three of this weekend’s games against Santa Clara before coming back to win each time.
Voelz allowed nine hits, two runs and five walks while striking out a season-high eight batters. The right-hander needed 162 pitches to notch her third win. Turner (1-18) allowed eight hits and five runs over 7.1 innings.
McCormick went 3-for-4 with two runs, a double, a home run and an RBI. Martin went 2-for-3, and finished the doubleheader a combined 4-for-6 with a pair of RBIs.
In the opener, Sacramento State pitchers Schaefer (5.0 innings) and Voelz (2.0 innings) combined to limit the Broncos to one run and six hits over seven innings. Schaefer (7-6) got the win, allowing one run and six hits while striking out two, and Voelz allowed no hits and two strikeouts in two innings to notch her second save. Against conference competition this season, Schaefer is now 3-0 with a 1.02 ERA.
The Hornets scored once in the second inning, once more in the fourth and twice in the fifth. Both Caldwell and Martin went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. An RBI-triple from Martin in the fourth inning gave the Hornets a 2-1 lead and proved to be the game-winning hit.
Sacramento State’s two runs in the fifth came on an RBI-single from Caldwell and a Bronco error which allowed McCormick to score from third base.
Santa Clara’s Jenna Fong (5-9) got the loss after allowing seven hits and four runs (two earned) over six innings.
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