The Sacramento State softball team (21-18, 6-6) will play its final three games of the regular season this weekend at home against Idaho State (26-20, 12-3). The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m., followed by a single game on Sunday at noon. All three games will be played at Shea Stadium on the Sacramento State campus.
The Hornets need to win just one game this weekend to clinch a spot in the four-team Big Sky Tournament field. The top four teams in the seven-member league qualify for the postseason event, which will take place at the regular season champion's home field on May 9-11. The double-elimination tournament will begin with two games on May 9, followed by three games on May 10, and at least one game on May 11.
Three teams have already clinched a berth into the postseason tournament, comprised of Idaho State (12-3), Portland State (11-4) and Southern Utah (9-6). Should Sacramento State clinch a spot this weekend, it would assume the No. 4 seed and play the No. 1 seed on Thursday, May 9. Regardless of this weekend's outcomes, the Hornets cannot finish any higher than the No. 4 seed.
The two teams chasing Sacramento State for the fourth and final spot in the tournament are Northern Colorado (5-10) and North Dakota (2-7). Both teams need to sweep their three-game series this weekend and see the Hornets lose all three games to Idaho State to qualify. Northern Colorado hosts Weber State (3-12) for three games on May 3-4, while North Dakota hosts Portland State on the same dates. Should Northern Colorado or North Dakota lose a game on Friday, the Hornets would clinch a spot in the tournament before even playing a game this week.
Sacramento State clinches the No. 4 seed in the Big Sky Tournament if...
- Northern Colorado and North Dakota lose one game this week, OR Sacramento State wins one game this week.
Northern Colorado clinches the No. 4 seed in the Big Sky Tournament if....
- The Bears win all three games against Weber State, AND Sacramento State loses all three games against Idaho State.
North Dakota clinches the No. 4 seed in the Big Sky Tournament if....
- North Dakota wins all three games against Portland State, AND Sacramento State loses all three games against Idaho State, AND Northern Colorado loses at least one game.
Not only is the No. 4 seed still up for grabs, but the conference's regular season championship and right to host the Big Sky Tournament is still in question. Idaho State (12-3) currently owns a one game lead in the standings over Portland State (11-4), and the Bengals own the tiebreaker should the two teams finished tied.
Idaho State will host the Big Sky Tournament if....
- The Bengals win 2 or more games this weekend, OR
- The Bengals win 1 game this weekend and Portland State loses at least one game, OR
- The Bengals lose all three games and Portland State loses two games.
Portland State will host the Big Sky Tournament if....
- The Vikings win all three games, and Idaho State loses two games, OR
- The Vikings win two games, and Idaho State loses all three games.
All three games this weekend will be broadcast live via audio stream at www.hornetsports.com by clicking here. Kyle Madson, who is in his fourth year of calling Hornet softball, will handle the announcing duties. In addition, live stats for all home games can be found by clicking here.
HORNETS AGAINST IDAHO STATE
Sacramento State and Idaho State have played just four times in school history with the Hornets winning three of those games. The first meeting came on March 17, 2007, when the Hornets defeated the Bengals, 8-2, at a Capital Classic game that was played at the Sacramento Softball Complex. Idaho State's lone win in the series (5-2 outcome) came at Shea Stadium as part of the PCSC Crossover Tournament in 2011. The two teams played twice last year at the Aggie Stampede in Davis with the Hornets winning, 10-2, in five innings of the first game before coming back a day later to win by a 1-0 score in nine innings.
Shea Stadium - Sacramento, Calif.
Saturday at 1 p.m. (doubleheader); Sunday at noon (single game)
Coverage: Live Audio, Live Stats
Series Record: Hornets Lead, 3-1
Streak: Sacramento State has won the last two meetings
Last Meeting: W, 1-0 (9 innings) in Davis on March 10, 2012
SUNDAY IS SENIOR DAY
Sunday is Senior Day as the Hornets' four seniors, first baseman Molly Smith, second baseman Lauren Blair, third baseman Emily McCormick and center fielder Kelli Frye, will be honored prior to the game for their contributions to the program. All four players are fourth-year seniors while Blair, McCormick and Frye are team tri-captains.
- Molly Smith (Glendale, Ariz.) -- Has appeared in 89 career games, including 71 starts at catcher, first base, second base and designated player…improved her batting average each of the first three years of her career before this season was cut short by a knee injury suffered against Northern Colorado on March 23…a two-time all-academic selection, she will graduate later this month.
- Lauren Blair (Visalia, Calif.) -- Has appeared in 77 career games…has started nine of the last 11 games at either second base or designated player, and has responded with the first two home runs of her career…that includes a grand slam in a win at Southern Utah three weeks ago…is a three-time NFCA Scholar-Athlete Award winner, and a three-time all-academic selection…will graduate later this month.
- Kelli Frye (Corona, Calif.) -- Has appeared in 169 career games, including 165 starts in center field…a career .308 hitter and a two-time all-conference selection, Frye ranks among the program's all-time top 10 players in runs, triples and stolen bases…this season, she is batting .331 and leads the Hornets in runs, hits, triples, stolen bases and outfield assists…hitting .386 against conference opposition, ranks among the nation's leaders in triples, and has a team-best 14 multiple-hit games…on pace to graduate in the fall.
- Emily McCormick (Hesperia, Calif.) -- Will be playing in her 175th career game on Saturday, including 171st start…a three-time all-conference selection, she is a career .325 hitter with 79 runs, 41 doubles, 18 home runs and 103 RBIs…in Sacramento State's career record book, McCormick ranks first all-time in doubles, second in RBIs, third in home runs, sixth in batting average and eighth in hits…has started 111 straight games dating back to the 2011 season…on pace to graduate in the fall.