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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Sac State softball plays ring around the bases against Northern Colorado

Clutch hitting and pitching carries the Hornets to two wins
Senior+left+fielder+Alexis+Parish+batting+against+Santa+Clara+Friday%2C+March+5%2C+2024.+Alexis+Parish+was+seven+for+ten+in+their+three+game+series+against+Northern+Colorado.
Brionna Woody
Senior left fielder Alexis Parish batting against Santa Clara Friday, March 5, 2024. Alexis Parish was seven for ten in their three game series against Northern Colorado.

It was the top of the sixth inning in the second game of Sacramento State softball’s doubleheader on Friday, March 29, against Northern Colorado. The Hornets were down 4-2 and needed a clutch hit to close the gap.

Freshman pinch hitter Malissa George came up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs on the board. Soon, the count was two and two. George had fouled off the last two pitches; she knew she needed a hit.

“We were down and needed to score a couple runs,” George said. “I was just trying to put a good at bat together, I worked the count and got a good pitch to swing on.”

When she swung at pitch number seven, she launched it all the way over the center field wall for a grand slam, sending senior first baseman Samantha Parish, senior center fielder Kennedy Echols and senior left fielder Alexis Parish home.

As each player reached home they joined the crowd of Hornets behind the plate to cheer George on as she rounded each base, scoring their sixth run and putting Sac State ahead 6-4 to win the game.

“It was super cool,” George said. “For sure a memorable moment that I’ll remember forever.”

George’s grand slam was not the only reason the Hornets had to celebrate. Sac State swept Friday’s doubleheader to clinch their first Big Sky Conference series win, going 2-1 against Northern Colorado. Their overall record is now 21-13.

RELATED: Sac State softball orders up a 4 for 4 in last two tournaments

“For our first series, I was happy with how we performed,” Sac State head coach Lori Perez said. “Our pitching was solid, our defense stepped up in key situations and our hitters battled every at bat.”

The Hornets’ first game on Friday was close, with Sac State only scoring one run in the top of the fifth thanks to an RBI triple from Echols. Senior pitcher Marissa Bertuccio held her own against the Bears’ offense with 11 strikeouts and only two allowed hits, which earned her recognition as Big Sky Pitcher of the Week.

“That first game we played was a really close game,” Alexis Parish said. “We came into it knowing it was going to be a pitchers duel and it was going to be whoever got that run across and that was us.”

The second game of Friday’s doubleheader did not start well for the Hornets. Northern Colorado scored four runs in the third inning, leaving Sac State with a lot of ground to make up. But they definitely did not back down from the challenge.

Before George’s game winning grand slam, Samantha Parish hit an RBI double in the fourth inning and another one, this time a single in the sixth, bringing in two runs to shorten the gap that George mercilessly closed just two at bats later.

“Malissa has done a great job this season,” Perez said. “She plays like she has no fear and loves being in big moments when the game is on the line. As she grows in our program, I see her becoming more of a leader on our team and will be a threat every time she comes to the plate.”

After the success of the doubleheader, Sac State lost Saturday’s game 1-3 despite putting up just as many hits as Northern Colorado.

Their one run was due to the efforts of junior first baseman Caroline Evans, who hit a solo home run in the fifth inning, making her the third Hornet to hit a home run this season.

“If we executed on RBI situations more, I believe we would have won all three,” Perez said. “However, I am proud we took the series while on the road.”

The Hornets will play Idaho State again in Pocatello, Idaho on Friday, April. 5 at 12:30 p.m.

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Rinn Lee
Rinn Lee, Sports Staffer
(she/her) Rinn Lee is in her second semester as a sports staffer at The State Hornet. She loves baseball, soccer and covered Sac State women's soccer in fall 2023. She is a second year journalism major and hopes to go into sports journalism.
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