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SOFTBALL WINS SEASON OPENER, TAKES DOWN UTEP, 3-2

Junior shortstop Yesenia Alcala went 2-for-3, including a two-out, two-run double in the fourth inning

FRESNO, Calif. -- Sophomore right-hander Caitlin Brooks allowed no earned runs over seven innings, and junior Yesenia Alcala provided the game-winning two-run double to help lead Sacramento State to a 3-2 victory over UTEP in the first round of the Fresno State Softball Kickoff Friday afternoon.

The game marked the season opener for both teams as the Hornets will play four more times over the next two days at the tournament. That includes games against Southern Miss and UC Riverside tomorrow, and games against UC Davis and tournament host Fresno State on Sunday.

Brooks, who led the team in starts last season despite being a freshman, scattered eight hits over seven innings while walking three and striking out a career-high nine batters. Brooks threw 150 pitches, and both of UTEP's runs were unearned.

Sacramento State got on the board immediately as Kelli Frye opened the game with a triple, and was later singled home by Emily McCormick. The Hornets tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning when Alcala hit a two-out, two-run double to left field which scored Kayla Papez an Paige Martin. That proved to be the biggest hit of the game as UTEP bounced back with two runs in the fifth inning on a two-out, two-run single from Alanna Leasau sliced the lead to 3-2.

Brooks allowed leadoff hits in both the sixth and seventh innings, but worked her way out of trouble. In the seventh, the Miners opened the inning with consecutive singles before Brooks struck out the next two batters and got Kayla Black to fly out to right field and end the game.

Both teams had other opportunities to score as a combined 19 runners were left on base, including 10 by the Hornets. Sacramento State left at least one runner on base in every inning but the third, which included stranding the bases loaded in the second inning.

The top four hitters in the Hornets' lineup did the majority of the damage, as the quartet of Frye, Alcala, McCormick and Molly Smith combined to go 8-for-15 with a double, triple and three RBIs. Frye had three of those hits, and Alcala and Smith both had two hits. The bottom five batters in Sacramento State's lineup went a combined 1-for-13 with six strikeouts. 

UTEP pitcher Colleen Hohman (0-1) got the loss, allowing four hits, three runs and four walks over three innings. Danielle Pearson threw four innings of shutout relief to keep the Miners close.

Sacramento State will play Southern Miss tomorrow at 9 a.m., followed by a game against UC Riverside at 11:15 a.m. in the second and third rounds of the tournament.

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