Sacramento State softball fell in its first game of the double elimination Big Sky Conference tournament against Southern Utah University on Thursday in Pocatello, Idaho. The bats of the Thunderbirds were too much for Hornet pitchers, junior Caitlin Brooks and senior Taylor Stroud, as the Hornets lost 5-2.
Down early, Sac State pulled within one in the bottom of the fifth inning after sophomore designated player Kortney Solis singled. She would advance to third on a stolen base and a pass ball, and later scored on sophomore first baseman Sasha Margulies RBI sacrifice fly.
Junior left fielder Nicole Clark connected on a RBI single that scored senior second baseman Yesenia Alcala after she led the inning off with a double. The single by Clark was the last play of the Thunderbirds’ starting pitcher Ariel Hart, who pitched 4.1 innings in the win on Tuesday.
“They played better than us today,” Hornets head coach Lori Perez said. “They took advantage of situations and performed better than us in the circle as well.”
Unfortunately for the Hornets, that would be all they would score as the pitching of the Thunderbirds was too much as relief pitcher Katie Greenberg recorded a 2.2 inning save.
“The pitchers of Southern Utah forced us to hit weak balls and easier plays for the defense,” Perez said.
The Thunderbirds and Hornets were scoreless in the first two innings, until the third in which Southern Utah had three consecutive two-out hits. The Thunderbirds hit back-to-back home runs by third baseman Kadi Henderson and first baseman Madison Resley.
Perez said that playing in a higher elevation affected the flight of the balls.
“I mean there was a pitch left in the middle of the plate,” Perez said. “The other pitch, Resley squared up her bat to hit it out against us.”
Brooks finished the day with four innings of work, allowing three runs on five hits, three walks and struck out two. Stroud appeared in relief on Tuesday and gave up two runs on two hits in the seventh inning.
With the loss, Sac State will drop to the loser’s bracket and face the University of Northern Colorado on Friday. If the Hornets win, they will face the loser of Idaho State University and Southern Utah in the third game on Friday.
Perez said that it will have to take all three facets of the game to be in her team’s favor to advance to play one more game on Friday.