June 28, 2017

Sac State softball team eliminated from Big Sky Tournament

Sacramento State junior second baseman Zamari Hinton throws the ball to first base for a double play against UC Santa Barbara on March 28 at Shea Stadium. (Photo by Matthew Dyer)

The Sacramento State softball team scored 26 runs during the Big Sky Tournament but fell twice to Idaho State for the second year in a row Friday in Ogden, Utah.

Each of the nine hitters in the starting lineups had three or more hits in the tournament, but three defensive errors cost Sac State (21-28-1) eight unearned runs during the two losses, ending the Hornets season.

“Unfortunately those defensive miscues were hard to overcome with our offense,” Sac State coach Lori Perez said. “We were disappointed with the results but with such a young team, I felt like we grew a lot this weekend.”

The Hornets faced Idaho State to open the tournament Thursday afternoon and trailed 2-1 until the bottom of the fifth inning when freshman third baseman Mo Spieth doubled in two runs to give Sac State its first lead. The Bengals regained the lead in the next half inning but the Hornets added one more run in the sixth inning to tie the game 4-4.

In the top of the seventh inning, an error by sophomore shortstop Sydney Rasmussen sparked a two-out rally in which the Bengals put together five-straight hits that led to six unearned runs and a 10-4 win in game one.

The opening round loss makes it three years in a row that Sac State has dropped the opening game in the Big Sky Tournament.

In the Hornets second game, they faced Southern Utah Friday morning and took a four-run lead in the first inning after a three-run home run from Spieth and an RBI single from senior catcher Nikki Gialketsis. Sac State went on to score 11 more runs to beat the Thunderbirds by mercy rule 15-0 in five innings.

Senior first baseman Jessica Ravetti had two home runs in the contest, while freshman designated player Traci Shaw added another home run. Five different batters doubled for Sac State as it put up five runs in both the third and fourth innings.

Sacramento State senior pitcher Taylor Tessier throws the ball for a strike against Montana on April 9 at Shea Stadium. (Photo by Raul Hernandez)

Senior pitcher Taylor Tessier pitched a complete-game shutout, struck out six batters, allowed one hit and let only four batters reach base.

After eliminating Southern Utah from the tournament, the Hornets faced the Bengals for the second time Friday evening in an elimination game.

In the third inning, Sac State gained a quick 1-0 lead after Spieth’s RBI single, but Idaho State responded with two runs in the bottom half to take a 2-1 lead. The Bengals scored three more runs in the fourth inning thanks to another Hornets defensive error followed by a walk and two singles.

The Hornets scored a run each in the fifth and sixth inning to make it 5-3, but the Bengals erupted in the bottom of the sixth with four more runs that pushed the lead to 9-3. However, in the top of the seventh, Sac State rallied with four straight singles, a fielder’s choice, a walk and a sacrifice fly for four runs to cut the deficit to two.

Trailing 9-7, Rasmussen grounded out to end the ballgame, ending the Hornets seventh inning rally and their season.

“They found ways to get on base (and) drive the ball,” Perez said. “I was proud that they didn’t roll over despite the big deficit.”

With the two losses to Idaho State in the tournament, Sac State is now 1-6 all-time against the Bengals in its Big Sky postseason history. The loss also marks the third time in four years Idaho State has eliminated the Hornets from the Big Sky Tournament (2014, 2016-17).

The Hornets pitching staff gave up 23 hits to the Bengals in the two postseason games and struggled to keep Big Sky Conference regular season MVP Kacie Burnett off base, as she hit 6-for-8, scoring three runs and hitting four RBIs in the two games.

Ravetti was named to the all-tournament team Sunday morning after she finished with a .500 batting average, two home runs, four RBIs and a slugging percentage of 1.200. Spieth was statistically the best hitter for the Hornets during the tournament as she finished with a .600 batting average, six RBIs, one home run and a .636 on-base percentage.

Shaw, Ravetti (two), Spieth and freshman outfielder Suzy Brookshire each homered in the tournament and the Hornets finished with a .414 batting average over their three games.

“A handful of our impact players had not played in a Big Sky Tournament prior to this one,” Perez said. “The younger players now know what the environment is like and the level of work that is required — that should help us be ready for the big moments next year.”

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Noah Alvarez

Noah Alvarez is a senior at Sacramento State where he is majoring in communication studies. Noah is currently a sports writer for the State Hornet. He joined the student-run organization in fall 2016. Noah is also the Sports Director in charge of broadcasting Hornets' games for KSSU, Sac State's student-run radio station. In 10 years, Noah sees himself working as a college football play-by-play broadcaster for a sports network. He got into sports broadcasting after being a three-sport athlete in high school. Noah can be reached at [email protected]

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