The Sacramento State softball team (16-12) plays five times this week, including a home doubleheader on Wednesday against Nevada (21-15) and a three-game series on the road against Big Sky Conference foe Southern Utah (9-23).
Wednesday's doubleheader will mark the final non-conference and midweek games of the season for Sacramento State. In fact, each of the team's last 15 games of the regular season will come against Big Sky opposition, beginning with this weekend's three-game set at Southern Utah.
Wednesday will also conclude a two and a half week stretch that will have seen Sacramento State play 11 of 12 games at home. Once the Nevada doubleheader concludes, the Hornets will have just six remaining home games on the regular season schedule (three-game series with Weber State on April 12-13; three-game series against Idaho State on May 4-5).
The Hornets, who were idle from conference play last weekend, currently sit in second place in the Big Sky standings with a 2-1 record. They trail Portland State (5-1), and sit ahead of Northern Colorado (3-3), Southern Utah (3-3), North Dakota (2-4), Weber State (2-4) and Idaho State (1-2). Of the seven teams in the league, one will get a bye week during each of the seven weeks during conference play.
Sacramento State already played Nevada earlier this year at the Mustang Classic in San Luis Obispo, and posted a 9-7 win in a game that featured a combined 16 runs and 21 hits. The Hornets put up seven runs in the second inning only to see Nevada tie the game two innings later before Sacramento State scored the final two runs of the game.
The Hornets have not played Southern Utah since a 5-4 loss on Feb. 17, 2007, at a tournament in Las Vegas. The Hornets had won each of the first 17 meetings in the series between the two teams prior to that loss.
Both games on Wednesday 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 NEVADA
Shea Stadium - Sacramento, Calif.
Wednesday, Apr. 3, at 1 p.m. (Doubleheader)
Coverage: Live Audio, Live Stats
Series Record: Hornets Lead, 18-14
Streak: Hornets have won three straight
Last Meeting: W, 9-7, in San Luis Obispo (3/8/13)
HORNETS AGAINST SOUTHERN UTAH
Kathryn Berg Field - Cedar City, Utah
Friday at 11 a.m. PDT (doubleheader); Saturday at 11 a.m. PDT (single game)
Coverage: Live Stats
Series Record: Hornets Lead, 17-1
Streak: Southern Utah won the last meeting
Last Meeting: L, 5-4, in Las Vegas (2/17/07)
PITCHING STAFF DOMINANCE: Sacramento State's pitching staff currently has a 2.18 ERA, which is easily the best mark in the Big Sky Conference, and now the 41st best mark in the nation. The staff has allowed two runs or less in 16 of the 28 games thus far, including shutouts in three of the last eight games. Opponents are hitting just .213 off Sacramento State pitching.
HAVING A ROUGH TIME ON THE HOME FIELD: Notoriously a strong team at home, Sacramento State has not had that same success at Shea Stadium in 2013. The Hornets are 5-7, and have dropped three of their last four games on the home field. In 12 games at Shea, the Hornet offense has combined for a .210 batting average, .281 slugging percentage and .284 on-base percentage. Away from home, the offense is batting .282 with a .367 slugging percentage and .353 on-base percentage. The team has combined for just 17 RBIs in 12 home games (1.4 per game), compared to 56 RBIs in 16 games away from home (3.5 per game).
PITCHING DOMINATES THE BIG SKY WEEKLY AWARD: Through the first eight weeks of the season, Sacramento State pitchers have accounted for five Big Sky Pitcher of the Week awards. Caitlin Brooks already has earned the award four times, and Jennifer Hartman earned the award on one occasion.
LAYING IT DOWN: Sacramento State has already laid down 37 successful sacrifice bunts this year, which are 19 more than the next closest Big Sky team (Weber State and Northern Colorado with 18). The Hornets have dropped down at least one successful sacrifice in all but six games this season, which includes no sacrifices in each of their last three games.
HOLDING LEADS: Sacramento State is 11-2 when scoring first, 8-1 when leading after four innings, 10-0 when leading after five innings, and 8-0 when leading after six innings. In addition, the Hornets are 16-2 when outhitting the opposition.
OFFENSE STREAKING IN A BAD WAY: Sacramento State's offense has now failed to score more than three runs in 11 straight games, the longest streak since going 15 straight games from Feb. 9-March 11, 2005.
#1 Kayla Papez - Has started all but three games at second base this year…is 4-for-26 (.154) at the plate in her last 11 games…defensively, has just one error in her last 12 games…in the seventh inning or later, she is batting .750 (6-for-8) with three RBIs…hitting .357 (5-for-14) with runners in scoring position.
#2 Paige Martin - One of three players to start all 28 games…has reached base safely via hit and/or walk in 25 of her last 27 games…team leader and third in the Big Sky with a .376 batting average…also the team leader in hits (32), slugging percentage (.459) and on-base percentage (.459)…hitting a team-high .533 (16-for-30) with runners in scoring position, and .500 (17-for-34) with two outs.
#7 Makenzie Wayadande - Has a team-high 10 starts at designated player…is 1-for-20 over the last nine games, dropping her batting average from .556 down to its current mark of .207.
#8 Kaitlyn Yerby - In three relief appearances, she has allowed just three hits and no runs in a combined 9.0 innings of work…in three starts, she has a 5.11 ERA…currently has a streak of nine straight innings without allowing a run.
#9 Kortney Solis - Is the team's fourth leading hitter with a .267 batting average…has started all but two games at catcher…has not committed an error since the eighth game of the season…reached base safely in a team-high 16 straight games earlier this season.
#10 Jennifer Hartman - Is 4-3 with a 2.77 ERA, and opponents have hit just .220 against her pitching…has allowed two runs or less in six of her eight appearances this year, including an eight-inning shutout against Kansas, which is the nation's top hitting team…opponents are hitting just .209 against Hartman with runners in scoring position…has induced 49 ground ball outs in 132 opponent at-bats.
#12 Emily McCormick - One of three players to start all 28 games this year…hitting .270 with team highs in doubles (7) and RBIs (12)…is 1-for-12 over the last four games, dropping her average from .299 to .270…a career .320 hitter, the fourth-year senior is tied for the Sacramento State Div. I-era (1990-pres.) lead in doubles (38), second in RBIs (99), third in home runs (18), sixth in batting average and seventh in assists (351).
#14 Taylor Stroud - Is 3-4 with a 3.45 ERA…has 10 appearances, including five starts (four complete game) and five relief appearances…has allowed just three home runs in 44.2 innings pitched…has induced 67 ground ball outs and 36 fly ball outs…during her three-year career, she is 25-24 with a 2.67 ERA.
#18 Kelli Frye - Sacramento State is 11-3 when she scores at least one run…all 27 of her starts have come in center field…ranks second on the team with a .310 batting average…leads the team in runs scored (15) and stolen bases (4)…in fact, she has all four of the Hornets' stolen bases this season…has yet to commit an error this year, which includes four outfield assists.
#22 Alyssa Vanderdrink - Has started 22 games at first base…is batting .250 with two home runs and nine RBIs…the two home runs matches a team best…her nine RBIs are the third best mark on the squad.
#23 Yesenia Alcala - One of three players to start all 28 games, making each of those starts at shortstop…is 1-for-20 over the last seven games, dropping her batting average to a season-low .214…has a Big Sky-best 11 sacrifices, and her average of 0.39 sacrifices per game is the eighth best mark in the nation…has an impressive .959 fielding percentage as a shortstop, including just one error in the last 12 games.
#24 Alexa Chattleton - Has started 21 games in left field and one start in center field…has great range in the outfield, and has yet to commit an error in 36 total chances…offensively, she is 1-for-16 spanning the last 10 games.
#25 Caitlin Brooks - The team MVP thus far, Brooks has been brilliant, posting a 9-4 record and a 1.18 ERA…that includes allowing fifth-ranked Cal just one run and two hits while striking out 10 batters over seven innings on Saturday…among the nation's leaders, she is eighth in hits allowed per seven innings (3.7) and 15th in ERA…opponents are hitting just .153 against Brooks, and she has allowed one run or less in six of her last seven appearances…in 13 starts, she has 12 complete games, three shutouts and a 3.9-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (85 strikeouts, 22 walks).
NOTES -- Sophomore Riley Price has started each of the last three games at designated player…senior Molly Smith injured her knee on March 23 against Northern Colorado, and will miss the remainder of the season…the Hornets have now lost two players for the season to knee injuries, including freshman Alexis Martinez, who was batting .294 at the time of her injury.