SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Sacramento State junior Caitlin Brooks allowed one unearned run while walking none and striking out a season-high 10 batters as the Hornets defeated Santa Clara, 3-1, in the first round of the Bronco Softball Classic.
Brooks went the distance and threw 101 pitches as she limited Bronco hitters to just five hits, four of which were singles. The outcome could have just as easily been a five-hit shutout if not for a Hornet error that allowed an unearned run to score in the bottom of the seventh inning. In her last three appearances, Brooks has struck out a combined 26 batters while walking none.
Alexa Chattleton, Nicole Clark and Kortney Solis each had RBI-singles in the top of the seventh inning to break open what had been a scoreless tie through six innings.
With the victory, the Hornets (3-4) have won three of their last four games after beginning the season 0-3. Sacramento State will play twice tomorrow against both San Diego (12:30 p.m.) and Iowa State (3 p.m.), and on Sunday against San Diego at 3 p.m. With the loss, Santa Clara, which is the tournament host, dropped to 0-7.
Both teams combined for no runs and eight hits through six innings, and it looked like the Hornets were going to have trouble scoring runs for Brooks again. In her first three starts of the season, Brooks had received just two runs of offensive support from her teammates, and by the end of tonight's sixth inning, Sacramento State had scored two times in 25.1 innings when Brooks was in the circle.
However, that all changed in the top of the seventh inning when the Hornets strung together three runs on three hits and a walk. After the first out of the inning was recorded. Yesenia Alcala doubled and pinch hitter T.J. Watts followed with a walk to put runners at first and second. Chattleton then had an RBI-single up the middle on a 3-2 pitch to drive home Alcala from second. Clark later singled to left field driving in Watts, and Solis' sacrifice fly drove home Chattleton from third.
Santa Clara put runners at the corners with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Brooks limited the damage by getting Greenamarie Bonilla to ground out and striking out pinch hitter Jenna Krummen to end the game.
Brooks, who could just as easily be 4-0 this season, picked up her first win while improving to 1-3. She also lowered her season ERA to 0.80, and the right-hander now has 31 strikeouts compared to just six walks in 26.1 innings.
The hit for Chattleton extended her hitting streak to a career-high six games while both Solis and Paige Martin extended their hitting streaks to four games. Chattleton and Solis have both reached base safely via hit or walk in all seven games this season.