SOFTBALL POUNDS OUT 21 RUNS AND 28 HITS, CLOSES SEASON WITH SWEEP OF CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD
Alyssa Nakken had a monster day, combining for five hits, three runs, two doubles, a home run and eight RBIs.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Sacramento State’s offense combined to hit .519 (28-for-54) with five home runs and 21 RBIs over two games as the Hornets swept a Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) doubleheader from Cal State Bakersfield Sunday afternoon at the Roadrunner Softball Complex. The Hornets won the first game in a mercy-rule shortened contest, 12-3, before taking the nightcap by a 9-3 score.
With the victories, Sacramento State concludes the season with a 20-24 overall record and a 12-8 mark in the PCSC. The Hornets won nine of their final 12 games of the year, and finish the season third place in the PCSC’s Coastal Division. It marked the first time in seven years that Sacramento State did not finish second place or higher in the conference standings.
Loyola Marymount (16-4) swept San Diego (14-6) this weekend to capture the Coastal Division title. The Lions will play a three-game series next weekend at Mountain Division winner Portland State for the conference championship and an automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals.
Sacramento State got swept yesterday against Cal State Bakersfield (17-35, 5-15), and the Hornets returned the favor in a day which saw the team combine for 21 runs, 28 hits and five home runs. Prior to today, Sacramento State had recorded just 14 home runs through the first 42 games of the season.
Five different Hornet starters combined to hit .500 or better during the doubleheader, including a monster day from junior first baseman Alyssa Nakken. The Woodland, Calif., native went 5-for-6 with three runs, a walk, two doubles, a home run and eight RBIs. Jessica Abelia went 5-for-6 with four runs, Kelli Frye had four hits and four runs, Paige Martin hit .600 with a home run and four RBIs and Emily McCormick had two home runs and four RBIs during the day.
In today’s opener, the Hornets scored at least two runs in all four innings they had an at-bat. Sacramento State was the designated home team in both games today per conference rules, and the team didn’t need its at-bat in the fifth inning as the eight-run mercy rule was already in effect because of the nine-run lead.
Sacramento State posted season highs in runs (12), hits (15), RBIs (12), home runs (3) and total bases (28). All one but one Hornet starter had at least one hit and scored at least one run while Nakken, Frye and Devin Caldwell each had three hits. Nakken had an RBI-single in the second, a two-run homer in the third and a two-run single in the fourth to tally a career-high five RBIs. The five RBIs were also the most by a Hornet in a single game this season.
Cal State Bakersfield jumped out to a 3-0 lead off Hornet starter Shelby Voelz in the top of the first inning. However, Sacramento State immediately responded with four runs in the bottom half, highlighted by a three-run bomb from McCormick. The Hornets tacked on two more in the second, four in the third inning and two more in the fourth. The Hornets hit a pair of round trippers in the third, including the two-run shot by Nakken and a homer to left field by Jillian Canete. It marked the second straight day Canete hit a long ball.
Voelz got the win, allowing two hits and three runs while walking three and striking out two. After allowing three runs in the first inning, Voelz allowed just one hit over the final four innings to earn the win. Cal State Bakersfield starter Sarah Hoag (6-9) got the loss, allowing 12 hits and 10 runs in 2.1 innings.
In the nightcap, the Hornets erased an early 1-0 deficit by scoring four times in the first inning, twice in the second inning and three times in the sixth. All but two starters had at least one hit while Nakken (3), Martin (3) and Ashlee Adkins (2) combined for eight of the Hornets’ nine RBIs.
Highlighting Sacramento State’s four-run first inning were back-to-back homers from Martin and McCormick. Martin’s home run was a three-run shot that scored Nakken and Marissa Navarro. In the second inning, Nakken’s two-run double scored both Abelia and Shannon Kaufman. An RBI-double from Nakken and a two-run single from Adkins pushed across the Hornets’ final runs in the sixth inning.
Voelz (5-4) picked up her second win of the day, throwing 4.2 innings of relief while allowing four hits and one run. Jacquelyn Serrano went the first 2.1 innings of the game, but departed in favor of Voelz after loading the bases with one out in the third. Cal State Bakersfield’s Alyssa Walker (4-10) took the loss, allowing 13 hits and nine runs (eight earned) in six innings.
Sacramento State completes a 2011 season in which the team started at least six underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) in every game. In fact, the Hornets will return every positional starter, and two of the team’s four pitchers next year. Seniors Megan Schaefer, Serrano, Canete and Adkins played their final games in a Sacramento State uniform today. Schaefer, who was unavailable this weekend because of a wrist injury, finished the season 3-0 with a 1.02 ERA against conference competition.
Among the Hornets’ returning starters, five finished the year hitting at least .289. That includes Caldwell (.328), Kaufman (.317), McCormick (.313), Nakken (.290) and Martin (.289). Caldwell hit safely in 12 of her final 16 games of the season while hitting a robust .411 against PCSC pitching. Six starters hit better than .300 in league play, and the Hornets finished with a .301 team batting average against conference opposition.
In the circle, three pitchers finished with sub-3.00 ERA’s, including Schaefer (7-6, 2.16 ERA), Taylor Stroud (8-11, 2.52 ERA) and Voelz (5-4, 2.78 ERA). Stroud, who is a freshman, led the team with 12 complete games, four shutouts, 130.2 innings pitched, 67 strikeouts and a .248 opponents batting average.