Pitching hampers Hornets in softball’s 7-11 loss to Southern Utah

State Hornet Staff

Despite producing 12 hits, Sacramento State softball’s offensive effort was not enough and the women were defeated by the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds 11-7 in a Big Sky Conference matchup on Saturday.

This loss drops their conference record to 7-2. Also, the Hornets are currently in a three-way tie for first place with Idaho State and Weber State. Sac State is 17-19 overall.

The Hornets held a 4-2 lead in the top of the second inning with clutch hits by senior shortstop Paige Castro and junior first baseman Sasha Margulies, but the Thunderbirds bounced back, scoring seven runs to take a 9-4 lead in the bottom half of the inning.

“We didn’t execute the way we needed to,” said Hornets’ coach Lori Perez. “They were able to capitalize [on our mistakes] and that was definitely a difference maker for the end result of the game.”

Freshman pitcher Celina Matthias struggled early and exited the game in the second inning after allowing eight earned runs on six hits. It was a tough series for the right-hander, who allowed a total of 18 earned runs in a total of 6 2/3 innings.

In the bottom of the second inning, the Thunderbirds had six consecutive base runners on with no outs. After the Hornets’ Matthias gave up a two-run double to Jordan Theurer, Sac State’s Kaitlyn Yerby relieved the right-hander with one out in the second inning.

Yerby (1-1) would be credited with the loss at the end of the game and allowed two earned runs in her second appearance of the series.

When asked about Matthias’ struggles Perez said the freshman will rebound from her tough outings this weekend.

“Being a pitcher is a tough life. You’re going to have some knocks, especially [if you’re a] freshman,” she said. “[It’s about] learning what it takes to compete in this level and making adjustments to batters. She’ll rebound from it. I have no doubt. It was a tough weekend all around.”

Sac State wouldn’t score until the top of the fourth, tallying three runs in the inning to cut their deficit to 7-9. The women scored all three runs with two outs in the inning, with senior Alexa Chattleton and sophomore Alexis Martinez providing timely hits for the Hornets.

The fourth inning was the last time the Hornets scored and Southern Utah scored one run in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings.

Notable offensive performances for the Hornets were from freshman second baseman Zamari Hinton (2-for-3), junior catcher Kourtney Solis (2-for-3), and Margulies (2-for-4).

In the series, the Hornets’ bats averaged 5.6 runs and 8.6 hits per game, but the pitching staff allowed an average of 8.6 runs and 10.6 hits, going 1-2 to lose the overall matchup.

“I thought our offense did a good job all weekend battling, making adjustments and keeping us in the ballgame,” Perez said. “I was really proud of what they did, [but] you have to be able to stop the other team from scoring and allow your offense some time to work.”

The Hornets will look to rebound against causeway rival UC Davis in a nonconference game at Shea Stadium on Wednesday at 4 p.m.