Sac State softball splits first two games with Southern Utah despite third-inning grand slam from Blair

Clifton Jones

Sacramento State softball split a pair of games against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds in Cedar City, Utah by winning the first game 8-0 in five innings, and losing the second game 3-1. 

With the bases full late in the third inning Sac State’s senior second baseman Lauren Blair’s hit her first grand slam as a Hornet which scored four of the six runs that came across in the third inning. 

“Lauren’s grand slam was a huge home run because it took the wind out of the sails for Southern Utah,” Strahan said.

Blair’s grand slam was the second home run not only of the season, but also of her career. The Hornets scored two more times in the fourth and fifth innings, pushing the score to 8-0. 

Blair said that she couldn’t have hit that home run without the help of her hitting coach, Cara Hoyt. 

“Coach Hoyt told me to step up in the box and I was able to make a slight adjustment on my swing,” Blair said. “Sometimes the smallest changes pay off in big ways.”

The Hornets were also to score the other two runs after the Thunderbirds surrendered two walks to seniors’ center fielder Kelli Frye and third baseman Emily McCormick. Both McCormick and Frye later scored on a single by sophomore outfielder Paige Martin in the third inning.

Sophomore Caitlin Brooks pitched with the lead for the third time this season. Brooks had some trouble in the first and third innings, but she was able to get out of the jams thanks to her defense. 

She finished the day allowing no runs on two hits, walking two batters and striking out eight Thunderbirds. 

The Thunderbirds forced six errors in the first game which gave Sac State the confidence in the third inning when the Hornets broke the game wide open by scoring six unanswered runs. 

The defense for the Thunderbirds in the first game rubbed off on the Hornets. In the second game, the Hornets forced four errors, all coming from both junior shortstop Yesenia Alcala and freshman first baseman Alyssa Vanderdrink. 

The four errors by the Hornets directly resulted in all three of Southern Utah’s runs being scored in the fifth inning. 

Although the Hornets had their chances in the second game to score more than the one run in the first inning, they could not put anything together. Sac State had runners in scoring position in all but one inning. 

“We couldn’t put anything together because we were taking called third strikes with the bases loaded and not putting the ball in play,” Strahan said. “We can’t do that if we want to win a championship.” 

Sac State will finish out the three game series against the Thunderbirds tomorrow at 11 a.m.


Clifton can be reached on Twitter at @jonesSHsports