Softball loses pair of games at Fresno State Softball Kick-Off

Jeremiah Martinez

Sacramento State dropped both games Friday against rival UC Davis and the No. 23 ranked California Golden Bears at the Fresno State Softball Kick-Off. The losses dropped the Hornets’ record to 2-3.

The Hornets’ first defeat of the tournament came by a score of 6-2 against the Aggies.

Committing four errors and allowing base runners were factors in the loss to the Aggies.

The Aggies took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Kelly Zboralske was hit by pitch with the bases loaded, scoring Christa Castello. Amy Nunez then scored on a passed ball, giving her team a 2-0 lead.

The Hornets were able to tie up the game in the bottom of the second when Shelby Johnston hit an RBI triple to score pinch runner Makenzie Wayadande. One batter later, senior catcher Paris Prado lined out to left field, delivering a sacrifice fly to allow Johnston to score the tying run.

After the Hornets tied the game, they were unable to score, leaving runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, fifth and seventh innings. The team went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and 1-for-7 with runners on base.

“I was disappointed by the lack of offense today,” said Hornets coach Lori Perez. “Overall we got better today in certain areas, but we need to get our defense taken care of.”

The tie was broken by the Aggies when Katie Robertson hit a two-run double in the top of the third, scoring Zbroralske and Christina Guidry. The Aggies added two unearned runs on an error that allowed Alexis Carney and Castillo to score.

UC Davis reliever Leah Munden received the win, allowing two hits while walking two batters with one strikeout in four innings pitched.

Caitlin Brooks started the game for the Hornets and struggled, allowing base runners for the second consecutive game. The reigning Big Sky Pitcher of the Year walked five batters while giving up four earned runs and two hits in three innings pitched. The senior received her first loss of the season.

In her first two starts of the season, Brooks has an ERA of 9.00 with 10 walks and five strikeouts, but has only allowed three hits in a total of 4 2/3 innings pitched.

Reliever Kaitlyn Yerby came into the game during the top of the fourth after Brooks struggled in the first three innings. After an impressive game last weekend against Northwestern State, she allowed five hits, two unearned runs and one walk without recording a strikeout.

After the defeat by Davis, the Hornets had to face the Golden Bears, who were ranked 23rd nationally in the / USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 heading into the contest.

Cal shut out the Hornets by a score of 6-0.

Cheyenne Cordes carried the Golden Bears’ offense with two hits and four RBIs. Cordes doubled in the bottom of the first and hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth. In the bottom of the sixth, Cal added two more runs with Jazmyn Jackson’s two-run single.

Sophomore pitcher Katie Sutherland-Finch tossed a complete game for the Golden Bears, allowing only three hits and recording four strikeouts.

Paige Castro, Kayla Papez and Alexa Chattleton had the only hits by the Hornets.

Junior right-hander Jennifer Hartman received her second loss of the season, allowing six earned runs, five walks and seven hits while recording only two strikeouts in five innings.

In three starts on the season, Hartman has a 6.30 ERA, 11 walks and has allowed 15 hits.

An early trend for the Hornets this season has been the struggles of the starting pitchers. Through five games of the season the starters have issued 21 walks and have hit five batters through 14 2/3 innings. Hartman was the first starting pitcher of the season to get through five innings.

“We have been allowing too many walks and base runners and we need to play defense better,” Perez said.

Freshman Celina Matthias retired the side in order, throwing only five pitches after relieving Hartman. She was again effective in relief after a strong performance last weekend against Loyola Marymount University in her collegiate debut.

The Hornets will play another doubleheader Saturday in Fresno, playing Santa Clara at 11:15 a.m. and UC Riverside at 3:45 p.m. On Sunday, Sac State will play a second straight game against UC Riverside to wrap up play in Fresno.

Perez said Kaitlyn Yerby will start one of the two games on Saturday.