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SOFTBALL KNOCKS OFF FRESNO STATE, BEGINS SEASON 2-1
Senior Alyssa Nakken had what proved to be the game-winning RBI-single in the ninth inning
FRESNO, Calif. -- The Sacramento State softball team beat undefeated Fresno State, 2-1, in nine innings in the third round of the Fresno State Softball Kickoff at Bulldog Diamond Saturday evening.
It marked the first victory at Fresno State in 16 tries, a streak that dated back to May 1, 1990 when the Hornets beat the Bulldogs, 3-2, in their inaugural season at the Div. I level. Fresno State (3-1) is currently receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA top 25 poll.
Sacramento State received solid pitching from freshman Caitlin Brooks, who threw one-hit ball over the first three innings. She was relieved in a scoreless game by sophomore Taylor Stroud in the fourth inning who went the rest of the way, allowing only three hits and one earned run in six innings.
The Hornets (2-1) got on the board first in the top of the fourth when senior Alyssa Nakken opened the frame with a double to left center. After a Devin Caldwell fly out, Nakken reached third on a wild pitch. Emily McCormick’s single through the left side plated Nakken to give the Hornets a 1-0 lead. That lead would last until the bottom of the fifth. After a four-pitch walk to open the Fresno half, Stroud eventually gave up a one-out RBI single to Kaitlin Griffin. Fresno State would load the bases on a Brenna Moss bunt single, but Stroud got out of the jam on a lineout double play to first baseman Nakken.
Each team didn’t allow a base runner in the sixth or seventh innings, and the international tiebreaker rule took effect to begin the eighth, but neither team could muster a hit in the inning. In the top of the ninth, with Kelli Frye occupying second base to start the inning, Shannon Kaufman sacrificed Frye over to third base. Nakken then ripped a single up the middle off starting pitcher Michelle Moses scoring Frye and giving the Hornets a 2-1 lead.
Stroud would intentionally walk Moses to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Bulldogs runners at first and second with no outs. Cleanup hitter Stesha Brazil lined out to left field for the first out followed by a fly ball out to center field. Andrea Ortega, who had scored the lone Bulldog run, lined a ball back at Stroud who reached low to deflect the ball, picked it up and threw to first for the clinching out.
The Hornets were led at the plate by Nakken (2-for-4, RBI) and McCormick (2-for-3, RBI). Marissa Navarro finished 1-for-3 with a double. The Bulldogs received a strong outing on the mound from Michelle Moses, who went the distance allowing five hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out nine with no walks.
For Sacramento State, Stroud (2-0) got the win, allowing three hits and a run over the final six innings. Stroud has earned both Hornet wins this year, and has a miniscule 0.54 ERA in a team-high 13.0 innings.
Sacramento State returns to action tomorrow morning for its final two games of the tournament where the team will play North Dakota State (9 a.m.) and UC Riverside (11:30 a.m.). The Hornets split their first two games of the tournament yesterday, beating UC Riverside, and losing to Long Beach State.
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