May 26, 2017

Softball breaks out the broom against Portland State

Junior Kailey Olcott celebrates with her teammates after a homerun in game 2 against Portland State at Shea Stadium, Friday, May 6.

The Sacramento State softball team won both games of its Friday doubleheader, beating Portland State by finals of 10-2 and 8-5.

Sac State pitcher Celina Matthias got the ball to kick off the homestand for the Hornets, promptly running into early trouble via two hits in the first. It wouldn’t be the first time Matthias got into trouble on the day, but she kept her composure throughout the day and in both games.

“Pressure situations don’t really affect me as much as other pitchers who might feel rushed to try and get through it. In my situation I try to stay calm, and whatever happens, happens,” Matthias said.

The Hornets got on the board first, grabbing an early 1-0 lead after a two-out RBI double by left fielder Kayla Papez. Sac State doubled the score the next inning, with designated player Sasha Margulies working a nine-pitch at bat before drilling an RBI single to shortstop that the Portland State defender couldn’t handle in time.

“I just knew that today, no matter how ugly it was, I had to make adjustments at the plate,” Margulies said. “I finally felt that I was doing the right things during that at bat. I just figured no matter what she throws me, I wanted to make sure I either fouled it or squared it up, which is what I did.”

Matthias set down the side in the second but allowed two runners to get on in the third, with one of the Viking runners reaching scoring position. Matthias buckled down and got the shutdown inning, though, preserving the early lead.

The Hornets’ bats woke up in the bottom of the fourth, exploding for six runs on five hits with help from two Portland State errors. A lead-off double by Jessica Ravetti got things started, and she came around to score on a Kailey Olcott single up the middle. The Hornets loaded the bases for shortstop Sydney Rasmussen, who lined an RBI single to right to bring in two runs. The defender botched the play, allowing the runner from first to come around to score, and putting Rasmussen at third with one out.

Second baseman Zamari Hinton came up next and drove in her teammate with an RBI single. Hinton, too, would come around to score after stealing second and scoring on a Margulies single.

After being given an 8-0 lead, Matthias allowed a couple of runs to score. An error by the Hornet defense helped set up a bases loaded jam, followed by Matthias walking in a run and hitting a batter to bring in another. But with two outs and the bases loaded, Matthias was able to bear down and get the out to preserve the 8-2 lead.

The Sac State offense added on a run in each of the next innings. Olcott came around to score in the fifth via a wild pitch, also coming up in the bottom of the sixth. With the bases loaded and one out, she hit into a fielder’s choice, bringing home the run and sealing the mercy-rule victory for the Hornets.

The second game of the day saw pitcher Savanna Corr get the nod. She went four full innings and gave up five runs, but only one of those was earned, and she was able to pick up her fourth win of the season with her effort.

A first-inning double followed by a stolen base resulted in Hornet catcher Kortney Solis sailing the ball over the third baseman, allowing the run to come home and give the Vikings the early 1-0 lead.

The Hornets got the run back, though, getting a two-out RBI double by Ravetti to knot the score at 1-1 after one.

The team didn’t wait long for another big inning, though. The Hornets batted around in the second, en route to scoring six runs. Olcott drilled a line drive over the left-center field wall for a lead-off home run. The rest of the runs came with two outs, as Hinton drove in two from a single, and Solis added two more with a double. Papez drew a bases-loaded walk to finish the scoring for the inning.

Corr wiggled out of trouble in the second but was tagged for an RBI double in the third, her only earned run allowed on the day. Portland State started clawing their way back in the fourth, though. After getting the first two outs, an error by Corr helped extend the inning, and after loading the bases, she allowed a three-run double to bring the score to 8-5. She got the next batter out, but her day was over.

Matthias came on in relief and shut the door on the Vikings, allowing just a couple of hits over the final three innings.

The Hornets’ chances of winning the regular season title remain alive, with both their wins and Weber State’s losses today.

“Coming off the last two weekends, we lost five of six, and so your confidence is down and your momentum is down,” said Sac State coach Lori Perez. “So it was extremely important for us to get our mojo back, start swinging the bats, and just feel confident and good.”

Although the team won both games, there was a scare in the top of the seventh when Rasmussen and Hinton collided with each other head-on in an attempt to get to the ball. Rasmussen was able to stay in, but Hinton came out of the game. The Hornets hope she will bounce back quickly enough to be ready for playoffs, which start next week.

Sac State (25-20) finishes the regular season with senior day Saturday at noon against Portland State (14-32). If Sac State wins and Weber State loses to Montana , the Hornets will host the Big Sky Conference Tournament, as they will have claimed first place in the conference.

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