FRESNO, Calif. -- Sacramento State right-hander Caitlin Brooks allowed just one run and four hits, and center fielder Kelli Frye threw out a runner at the plate in the seventh inning to highlight the Hornets' 2-1 victory over UC Davis in the fourth round of the Fresno State Softball Kickoff. Later in the day, the Hornets dropped a 3-2 decision to tournament host Fresno State in the fifth and final round.
With today's split, Sacramento State completes the season-opening, three-day tournament with a 3-2 record. All five of the Hornets' games during the tournament were decided by a single run, including 3-2 victories over both UTEP and Southern Miss, and a 2-1 loss to UC Riverside.
Four Sacramento State players finished the tournament hitting better .300, comprised of Alexis Martinez (.444), Kelli Frye (.389), Emily McCormick (.313) and Yesenia Alcala (.308). Brooks was 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA in two starts, and pitchers Kaitlyn Yerby (2.00) and Taylor Stroud (2.15) both had low ERA's.
In the Hornets' first game of the day, Brooks threw 103 pitches while allowing four hits and one run over seven innings. The sophomore gave up just one hit through the first six innings of the game until running into trouble in the seventh. With the Hornets leading, 2-0, UC Davis (3-2) opened the final inning with three consecutive hits.
A Christina Guidry single began the inning, followed by an RBI-double from Krista Bava which drove home Guidry for the Aggies' first run. Pinch hitter Janelle Gustiff then singled up the middle, and UC Davis elected to try and score the runner from second base despite there being no outs in the inning. That's when Frye made perhaps the play of the early season for Sacramento State, throwing a strike to home plate to gun down Bava attempting to score.
Brooks then retired the next two batters harmlessly, including a strikeout of pinch hitter Kimberly Pena to end the game. Brooks has now gone the distance and been victorious in both her starts this year, combining to allow just 12 hits and one earned run in 14.0 innings while striking out 16 batters in the process. Today, she walked two and struck out seven.
Making her second start of the season at designated player, Martinez provided all the offense, driving in both Hornet runs. The first came in the opening inning when her two-out single scored Frye from second base. In the fourth inning, the freshman drove the first pitch from Aggie starter Leah Munden over the left field wall to give the Hornets a 2-0 lead. Frye (2-for-3) and Martinez (2-for-3 with a run and two RBIs) combined for four of Sacramento State's five hits in the game.
Munden (0-1) got the loss for the Aggies, allowing three hits and two runs in 3.2 innings.
Against Fresno State (4-1), no team led by more than a single run the entire way as the Bulldogs pushed home an unearned run in the sixth inning that provided the game-winning tally. Uncharacteristically, Sacramento State committed four errors during the game, and it was a throwing error in the sixth inning that proved the costliest miscue.
After the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, the Hornets responded in the top of the third with a solo homer from McCormick. The Bulldogs then scored a run on a wild pitch in the fourth inning before McCormick's two-out, RBI-single in the fifth scored Frye from second base to tie the score at 2-2. However, Fresno State put runners at first and third base with one out in the sixth inning before a throwing error allowed Maria Sio to score.
The Hornets got a leadoff single from Kayla Papez to start the seventh inning, but that was the extent of the threat. Jillian Compton (3-1) got the win for the Bulldogs, allowing seven hits and two runs over seven innings. Stroud (1-1) picked up the loss, allowing seven hits and three runs (two earned) over six innings.
McCormick finished the game 3-for-3 with a run and two RBIs for the Hornets.
Sacramento State returns to action next week for three games, including the home opener against Pacific on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. The Hornets will also play a doubleheader on the road at Saint Mary's on Saturday, beginning at noon.