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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 smashes through the opposing defenses to keep season alive

The Hornets trade runs with Montana and Idaho State in the Big Sky Tournament
Brionna Woody
Junior shortstop Gwen Ludwig fielding the ball against Montana at Shea Stadium Friday, April 26, 2024. Ludwig led the Hornets offensively in their first tournament game with four hits and three runs.

Sacramento State softball pulled off their fourth straight win against Montana in their first matchup of the Big Sky Tournament and backed it up the next day with a win against Idaho State on Wednesday, May 8 and Thursday, May 9.

Game 1: Sacramento State 7, Montana 5

The first matchup was much closer of a contest than any of the previous three games, but the Hornets fought hard to end the game 7-5. This win continued their now 11-game win streak against Montana.

The game started with yet another three-run homer from senior third baseman Lewa Day in the bottom of the first.

However, the Hornets weren’t able to hold the lead for long. Montana scored four runs in the top of the third off of a double and two home runs to bring the score up to 4-3.

“We knew Montana would come out with a lot of familiarity with us since we just played them,” Sac State head coach Lori Perez said. “We expected it to be a tough game as the emotions in tournament time are ramped up pretty high.”

RELATED: The seniors of Sac State softball dominate their last series at home

Sac State countered quickly with back to back doubles from senior left fielder Alexis Parish and senior catcher Samantha Parish, that brought in a collective three runs putting them ahead 6-4.

“Leading up to the first game we were all feeling good,” Day said. “We let them get ahead and too close at times. We need to make the gap bigger.”

The fourth and fifth innings were scoreless for both teams, but each team managed to score a run in the sixth. Sac State’s was courtesy of an RBI single from sophomore designated player Andrea Lira.

Game 2: Sacramento State 6, Idaho State 5

Sac State never trailed in all seven innings against Idaho State, but the game was just as back and forth as the game against Montana.

Samantha Parish hit an RBI single in the second and Alexis Parish did the same in the third, but the Bengals countered each time with a solo home run, keeping them tied at two.

In the bottom of the fifth the Hornets loaded the bases with back-to-back singles from Day and Lira, followed by Samantha Parish getting hit by a pitch.

Sophomore catcher Katie Marsh went up to the plate and only needed two pitches to send one over the wall right to where the Weber State team was sitting.

“Having my first home run result in a grand slam and a game winner felt amazing,” Marsh said. “I was really just looking for anything close to hit, and she gave me just that.”

Idaho State almost made up for Marsh’s grand slam by scoring three more runs in the bottom of the sixth, but Sac State barely held them at bay through the final inning of the game. The Hornets won with a final score of 6-5.

“Our regular season games got canceled against Idaho State,” Marsh said. “So playing them for the first time during the tournament had us hyped.”

Seven Hornets were honored by the Big Sky Conference this year including Day, Alexis Parish, senior pitcher Marissa Bertuccio and senior first baseman Caroline Evans who all made the First Team All-Big Sky.

Three more Hornets were honored. Senior shortstop Gwen Ludwig made the Second Team All-Big Sky and freshman second baseman Malissa George and senior right fielder Haley Hanson were honorable mentions.

“I am super proud of each of the players and happy they were recognized for their play on the field,” Perez said. “Our team has worked hard, and as a coach, you wish they all could be recognized.”

Day was also honored as the Big Sky Co-Player of the Year.

“It’s a huge accomplishment for me, it’s my last year and that was definitely a goal I wanted to achieve,” Day said. “But now my energy is focused on the tournament and winning every game to get to the postseason.”

Idaho State and Montana were officially knocked off the bracket in games five and six, which took place right after the Sacramento and Idaho State game on Thursday, May 9.

Sac State will now face off against Northern Colorado, the Big Sky Conference regular season champs, on Friday, May 10, at 10 a.m.

“Us returners are very excited.” Day said. “Our expectations are to continue to play our hearts out and play like there isn’t a game tomorrow.”

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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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