SOFTBALL CONCLUDES MUSTANG CLASSIC WITH VICTORY OVER UC RIVERSIDE
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Sacramento Sate scored once in the fifth and two more in the sixth while receiving seven solid innings from starter Megan Schaefer to defeat UC Riverside, 3-2, in the fifth and final game of the Mustang Softball Classic Sunday afternoon at Bob Janssen Field.
With the victory, the Hornets conclude the three-day, five-game tournament with a 2-3 record, having also defeated Utah State yesterday. Sacramento State (5-12) picked up its fifth victory of the season as the team will finally play its home opener this Wednesday, March 11, against UC Davis.
With the loss, UC Riverside, which defeated Sacramento State yesterday during tournament play, fell to 6-15 overall.
Both Hornet victories during the tournament occurred when Schaefer started in the circle, as she improved her record to 4-3 and has now won three of her last four decisions. In fact, when Schaefer starts at pitcher for the Hornets this season, the team is 4-3. In games when she doesn’t start, Sacramento State is 1-9.
Today, Schaefer, who lowered her season ERA to 2.78, worked 7.0 strong innings, limiting the Highlanders to two runs and seven hits while striking out six and walking just one batter. It didn’t come easy as UC Riverside left at least one runner on base in every inning but the sixth, and Schaefer had to survive a seventh inning in which the Highlanders had the tying and winning runs on base before the final out was recorded.
The game was scoreless through four innings, before UC Riverside broke the tie with one run in the top of the fifth. Sacramento State bounced right back with a run in the bottom of the inning after senior Whitney Loomis’ two-out double scored Jenice Bartee from second base. The Hornets tacked on two more in the sixth on an RBI-single from senior Rachel Miles and a Highlander error later in the inning which allowed Miles to score.
With the Hornets leading, 3-1, Schaefer got the first two outs of the seventh inning. However, a triple from Kameryn Hebenton and subsequent wild pitch allowed the Highlanders to close within, 3-2. Taylor Thomas then walked and Brittany Kenney was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second, but Schaefer got cleanup hitter Joanella Mendoza to ground out and end the game.
The Hornets had just four hits in the contest, as Loomis, Miles, Schaefer and Bartee each had one hit apiece. Stephanie Marshall took the loss in relief for UC Riverside, giving up both runs in the bottom of the sixth. Amy Lwin worked the first five innings for the Highlanders.
After playing its first 17 games away from home, Wednesday’s doubleheader against UC Davis begins a stretch in which the Hornets will play 17 of their next 22 games inside the friendly confines. That includes a 15-game homestand that lasts from March 19-April 11.