SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sophomore Caitlin Brooks threw a two-hit shutout while striking out a career-high 11 batters to help lead Sacramento State to a 7-0 victory over Weber State in the rubber game of a Big Sky Conference series Saturday afternoon at Shea Stadium.
Before the game began, the Hornets and Wildcats completed their 15-inning marathon that began yesterday and was halted in the middle of the 15th because of darkness. Weber State scored three runs in the top of the 15th last night to take a 6-3 lead, and the Hornets scored a run in the bottom half of the inning today to close the gap to 6-4. Sacramento State had the tying runners on base, but could not score again.
The Hornets won two of the three games against Weber State, which included a 3-0 victory yesterday. In fact, Brooks threw two shutouts in the series, tossing a one-hitter yesterday followed by a two-hitter today. In 14.0 innings against Weber State over the last two days, the right-hander allowed just three hits while walking one and striking out 19 batters. Weber State hit just .065 against Brooks, and she combined to face just nine batters over the minimum in those two games.
The Hornets moved their record to 20-16 overall and 5-4 in the Big Sky while Weber State is now 8-32 overall and 3-9 in the conference. Sacramento State has nine conference games remaining on the regular season schedule, including a three-game series next week at North Dakota.
In today's game, Sacramento State scored once in the first inning, four runs in the third, and once in both the fifth and sixth innings to complete the 7-0 victory. Kelli Frye (2-for-4 with a run and an RBI), Kortney Solis (2-for-2 with a run) and Nicole Clark (2-for-3 with two RBIs) all had multiple-hit games for Sacramento State. All but two starters scored a run for the Hornets, and all but two players had at least one hit as Sacramento State pounded out 11 hits.
Brooks faced just three batters over the minimum, and her 11 strikeouts surpassed her previous career best of 10, which she had already accomplished three times this year. Weber State had runners at first and third base with no outs because of two Hornet errors in the third inning, but Brooks worked her way out of that jam. Only two Wildcat runners advanced past first base the entire day. She threw 96 pitches, an impressive tally considering she had 11 strikeouts. Brooks is now 12-5 with a 1.24 ERA this year, including 4-1 with a 1.15 ERA against Big Sky competition.
The Hornets' four-run third inning was highlighted by RBI-singles from Riley Price and Paris Prado, as well as a two-run single from Clark. An RBI-single from Frye and an RBI-double from Kayla Papez accounted for Sacramento State's runs in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively.
The 15-inning game turned out to be the longest in Sacramento State's Div. I era (1990-pres.), and lasted four hours and 39 minutes. A total of 444 pitches were thrown by five different pitchers, and both teams were scoreless nine consecutive innings from the sixth inning to the 14th frame.
Frye finished the game 4-for-8 while Alyssa Vanderdrink and Paige Martin each had three hits. Sacramento State left 17 runners on base and Weber State stranded 13 runners. The Wildcats scored three unearned runs in the top of the 15th inning and held on to get the win.
In that bottom of the 15th inning, Papez had an RBI-single that set up runners at first and second base with two outs. That brought up Emily McCormick who lined a 1-2 pitch to center fielder London Clarke to end the game.
Morgan Allaband (4-18) got the win in relief, allowing five hits and one unearned run in 4.0 innings. Taylor Stroud (4-7) got the loss for Sacramento State, allowing seven hits and three unearned runs in 10.0 innings of relief. Jennifer Hartman worked the first 4.2 innings, and Kaitlyn Yerby retired the final batter of 15th inning for the Hornets.