PORTLAND, Ore. — Caitlin Brooks tossed a two-hit shutout and Kortney Solis had a three-run homer to help lead Sacramento State to an 8-0 mercy-rule shortened victory over Portland State in the second game of a Big Sky Conference softball doubleheader Friday afternoon at Erv Lind Stadium.
The Vikings got a six-hit shutout from Anna Bertrand to win the first game by a 1-0 score.
With the split, Sacramento State moved its record to 21-17 overall and 6-5 in the Big Sky while Portland State is now 18-27 and 10-4 in the conference. The two teams will conclude the three-game series tomorrow at noon.
With just four games remaining in the regular season, Idaho State (11-3) took over sole possession of first place in the league standings, while Portland State (10-4), Southern Utah (9-5) and Sacramento State (6-5) round out the top four in the seven-member league. The top four teams qualify for the Big Sky Tournament, which will take place May 9-11 at the site of the regular-season champion.
Sacramento State scored once in the first and fifth innings, and six more times in the sixth as the game was shortened to six innings because of the eight-run mercy rule. The eight runs of support was more than enough for Brooks, who improved her record to 13-5 while tossing her seventh shutout of the season. The right-hander threw just 83 pitches, faced five batters over the minimum and allowed two hits while walking one and striking out three. In addition, opponents are now hitting just .150 against Brooks this season.
Kelli Frye, Alyssa Vanderdrink, Emily McCormick and Nicole Clark all had two hits while Solis crushed her third home run of the season.
The Hornets got on the board in the first inning after Lauren Blair's bases-loaded walk, and added another in the fifth when pinch runner Makenzie Wayadande stole home. In the sixth, Sacramento State scored six times on four hits, and sent nine batters to the plate.
Highlighting the inning was an RBI-single from Frye, a bases-loaded walk to Vanderdrink, a sacrifice fly from McCormick and Solis' three-run homer. Solis' shot to right-center gave the Hornet the eight-run lead and allowed the game to be stopped an inning earlier than normal because of the mercy rule.
Picking up the loss for the Vikings was Raya Johnson (2-6), who allowed seven runs and nine hits in 5.1 innings.
The Hornets outhit Portland State, 6-2, and let a tremendous performance from pitcher Taylor Stroud go to waste as Sacramento State lost by a 1-0 score. The Hornets had multiple opportunities to score, but went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position while stranding six runners on base.
Bertrand, who escaped trouble in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings, finished the day by allowing just six hits while walking none and striking out 11 batters. She improved her record to 14-14 while throwing exactly 100 pitches. Sacramento State had runners in scoring position in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings, but failed to score on each occasion. Meanwhile, Bertrand got sharper during the later stages of the game, retiring each of the last seven batters she faced.
Stroud (4-8) was the hard-luck losing pitcher as she allowed just two hits and one run while walking two and striking out three batters over six innings. Both of PSU's hits came in the fourth inning when Becca Bliss led off the inning with a single, and later scored on a one-out, RBI-double from Brit Henderson.
Frye finished the game 2-for-3 while Blair, Solis, Vanderdrink and Kayla Papez each had hits. Coupled with her two hits in the nightcap, Frye combined to go 4-for-7 during the doubleheader with two runs scored and an RBI.