Softball advances in tournament with wins over Southern Utah, Idaho State

Jeremiah Martinez

After dropping their game against Weber State University earlier in the day, Sacramento State softball was victorious against Southern Utah University and Idaho State University on Friday, allowing the Hornets to continue play for a chance to win their first Big Sky Conference Tournament on Saturday.

In an 8-0 win against Southern Utah, Hornets pitcher Caitlin Brooks threw a three-hit shutout as the women were facing elimination in the tournament.

It was her fourth shutout of the season, and she tossed eight strikeouts over five innings as the Thunderbirds couldn’t get anything going against the Big Sky Conference Pitcher of the Year.

The game was stopped after the fifth inning due to the NCAA eight-run mercy rule.

The Hornets’ batters didn’t waste time scoring, as they tallied three runs in the first inning.

After scoring two runs in the second inning, Sac State added three more runs in the fourth with a Paige Martin solo home run, Zamari Hinton scoring on an error and an Alexis Martinez RBI single that would score Sasha Margulies.

Notable performers in the game were Martin (2-for-3), Hinton (3-for-4) and Margulies (2-for-3).

In the game against Idaho State, the Hornets won 10-6 against their conference rival, who swept them during a regular-season series at Shea Stadium on April 17-18.

It proved to be another strong offensive performance from the Hornets’ lineup, as they recorded 15 hits in the victory.

During a five-run first inning, Martin hammered a 3-1 pitch to open up the game with a home run.

Martin has homered in three consecutive games, which brought her to 14 career home runs.

Her 14 home runs rank fifth best in the program’s Division I era (1990 through present). She is also the third player in school history to homer in three consecutive games.

After Martin’s solo home run, Alexa Chattleton followed with a long ball of her own, a three-run shot to extend the lead to 4-0.

A Paige Castro RBI groundout then extended the Hornets’ lead to 5-0, before lightning brought the game to a weather delay in the bottom of the first inning,

After the 30-minute delay, the bottom of the first inning continued with Idaho State scoring five runs on four hits to tie the game.

The Hornets wouldn’t stop scoring, as the women went on a two-out rally with a Martinez three-run homer to give them an 8-5 lead.

In the bottom of the second inning, Idaho State’s Vicky Galasso hit a solo shot to cut the lead to 8-6, giving Idaho State their final run of the game.

Shortly after Galasso’s home run, the game was delayed again as hail began to fall, but play resumed later in the day.

After the Hornets’ scored one run in each of the fifth and the seventh innings, the lead grew to 10-6, which was the final score as Brooks won her 15th game of the season, a career high.

Brooks wasn’t as dominant in her second outing of the day, allowing six earned runs on nine hits and giving up four walks.

The Hornets will have a chance to win their first Big Sky title Saturday against Weber State, with the first game starting at noon. If they win that game, a second game will be played at 3 p.m. to decide the champion.

Weber State only needs to win once to claim the conference title.

The winner of the tournament receives an automatic berth into the 64-team NCAA tournament, which will start Friday, May 15.