The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor
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

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

Hornets walk off with three wins over Montana
Brionna Woody
Senior third baseman Lewa Day swinging against Montana in her last series at home Friday, April 26, 2024. Day broke the Big Sky Conference record for career home runs in game two against Montana.

Sacramento State softball ended their regular season with an epic three game series sweep of the Montana Grizzlies, starting with a doubleheader on Friday, April 26 and their Senior Day game on Saturday, April 27.

Game 1: Sacramento State 9, Montana 0

It did not take long for the Hornets to hit their stride in game one of the series.

Sac State’s defense shut Montana down with a double play in the top of the first and their offense kept up the momentum to blast through the Grizzlies’ defense in the bottom of the inning.

After sitting out the last five games due to injury, senior third baseman Lewa Day provided a two-run homer for Sac State’s first hit of the game, setting the tone for the entire series. Their third run was scored by sophomore designated player Andrea Lira in the second inning off of a throwing error.

“I felt great,” Day said. “I hated sitting on the sidelines and watching, so coming back I was ready to go.”

Even in the third inning, with no runs scored, the Hornets loaded up the bases and pushed Montana into a pitching change.

Runs four and five were earned in the fourth inning off a RBI double from Lira, with the bases loaded. A wild pitch cleared the way for senior left fielder Alexis Parish to score after senior catcher Samantha Parish walked, reloading the bases.

After another no-hit half inning, junior shortstop Gwen Ludwig opened the bottom of the fifth with a bunt off the first pitch to reach first. Freshman first baseman Malissa George joined her on base shortly after with a single to center field.. With two runners on, Day hit a walk-off home run that capped the game at five innings.

“I know the girls were really in the right headspace, and we had a great practice coming in,” Sac State head coach Lori Perez said. “I’m just really proud of their efforts and I think it’s good momentum moving forward.”

RELATED: Sac State softball’s bats go quiet until the final game of the series

Game 2: Sacramento State 5, Montana 4

Day opened game two with another two-run homer in the first inning, leading Montana to intentionally walk her in her next three plate appearances.

“It puts my team in a better position,” Day said. “It does suck cause I want to hit, but at the end of the day, it’s respect and I’m getting on base, so you can’t be angry about that.”

With their strongest slugger barred from hitting, Lira stepped up to score the third run of the game, with her first career home run in the second inning.

“As soon as I hit it I knew the ball was deep, but I didn’t think it was going out and so, I was running as hard as I could,” Lira said.

Despite a nearly identical start to game one, Montana pulled themselves together in the third inning and scored their first run of the series. The next inning and a half were a stalemate until the top of the fifth, when Montana scored two runs off a fielding error and a third off an RBI single putting them in the lead 4-3.

Alexis Parish said that after she struck out in the fifth inning, she didn’t want it to happen again.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Hornets had one out on the board with Day and George in scoring position. Alexis Parish stepped up to the plate and knocked one back into center field for a two-run, walk-off RBI double to end the game 5-4.

“All my teammates were cheering for me and it just felt really good to just connect and finally get it out of the infield,” Alexis Parish said.


Game 3: Sacramento State 3, Montana 0


The Hornets celebrated nine seniors before Saturday’s game, including a few that made a great impact in their time at Sac State.

Day has broken two school records in her final season for the most career RBIs and home runs in Sac State history.

Day also currently holds the Big Sky Conference record for most career home runs with 59. She earned Big Sky Player of the Week three times this season and currently holds first place for slugging percentage at .780.

“She’s just a hard worker and obviously super strong,” Perez said. “Her dad reminded me today that he said that by the time she’s done she’ll have a number on the wall and I think she’s for sure earned that. I couldn’t be prouder of her.”

Senior pitcher Marissa Bertuccio ended the regular season with a 13-7 overall record. She leads the Big Sky Conference with a 1.78 earned run average and sits in second place for strikeouts with 112. Bertuccio has been named Big Sky Pitcher of the Week twice this year.

Senior right fielder Haley Hanson broke the Sac State record for career stolen bases at 43 and was honored as Big Sky Player of the Week once earlier in the season.

“The first time I ever recruited her, I saw the film, and I thought the film was on fast forward,” Perez said. “She just has the gift of just exploding off the base.”

Alexis Parish leads Sac State with a .388 batting average placing herself top five in the Big Sky and top ten for total hits. Her sister, Samantha Parish currently sits in the Big Sky top five for fielding percentage and putouts.

After the high energy of the doubleheader the day before, game three was tame in comparison.

The first two runs were once again scored in the first inning, this time off an RBI single from Day, directly followed by an RBI sacrifice fly by junior first baseman Caroline Evans.

George hit another RBI single in the bottom of the second to send Hanson home for the last run scored for the rest of the game.

Montana’s only hit all game was in the seventh inning, but they got on base twice earlier in the game off fielding errors. After their initial three runs, Sac State only earned two more hits, both teams showcased impressive defense the whole game.

“Everything was working for us,” Alexis Parish said. “We were loud. We were all in it for each other and we were really united and when we do that and we connect, we are unstoppable.”

Winning these three games boosted Sac State up a few places in the Big Sky Conference standings. The Hornets ended the regular season with the same record as Idaho State,

“Right now we’re on a hot streak,” Lira said. “I think, going into the conference, we can definitely win it and go to the tournament. I feel really confident in everyone and if everyone’s on we’ve definitely got a chance.”

Sac State will face off against Montana once again, this time in Pocatello, Idaho for the first round of the Big Sky Tournament on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The State Hornet
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Sacramento State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
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.
Donate to The State Hornet
Our Goal

Comments (0)

View our comment policy here.
All The State Hornet Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *