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March 3, 2014

SOFTBALL TO PLAY HOME OPENER TUESDAY VS. UC DAVIS

Big Sky Conference standings

After 12 games, Sacramento State (6-6) will finally open its home portion of the schedule on Tuesday when the team hosts UC Davis (7-15) for a single game at 1:30 p.m. The Hornets then return later in the week when the team travels to San Luis Obispo to take part in the three-day, five-game Mustang Classic on Friday through Sunday.

Tuesday will mark the first of 12 games the Hornets will play at Shea Stadium during the month, including a season-long eight-game homestand that runs from March 15-22. Thus far, the Hornets are 1-3 on the road, and 5-3 in neutral site games.

Sacramento State will be looking to win its home opener for the sixth time in eight years. Since joining the Div. I ranks in 1990, the Hornets are 17-7 in their home openers.

The Hornets traveled to UC Davis on Feb. 12 in a game the Aggies won, 1-0. That game marked the season opener for Sacramento State, and the lone run in that contest was scored in the fourth inning on a muffed defensive play. The Hornets are 61-35 all-time against UC Davis in a series which dates back to 1974.

Later this week at the Mustang Classic, the Hornets will play Santa Clara and Stony Brook on Friday, host Cal Poly and Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday, and Cal Poly again on Sunday. The Hornets are 70-21 all-time against Santa Clara, including 26 straight victories over the Broncos. Sacramento State is 19-20 all-time against Cal Poly, and the meetings with Stony Brook and Fairleigh Dickinson will be the first in school history.

MULTIMEDIA OPTIONS
All 15 home games this season will be broadcast live via audio stream at www.hornetsports.com by clicking here. Andrew Tomsky will handle the play-by-play duties on Tuesday, and KSSU student radio will handle the announcing for the other 14 home games. In addition, live stats for all home games can be found by clicking here.

vs. UC Davis (7-15 this year)
Tuesday, March 4, at 1:30 p.m.
Sacramento, Calif. - Shea Stadium
Coverage: Live Stats, Live Audio
Series Record: Sacramento State Leads, 61-35
Current Streak Against The Aggies: Lost 1
Last Meeting: L, 1-0, in Davis (2/12/14)

vs. Santa Clara (1-11 this year)
Friday, March 7, at 9 a.m.
San Luis Obispo - Bob Janssen Field
Coverage: Live Stats
Series Record: Sacramento State Leads, 70-21
Current Streak Against The Broncos: Won 26 in a row
Last Meeting: W, 3-1, in Santa Clara (2/21/14)

vs. Stony Brook (3-7 this year)
Friday, March 7, at 11:30 a.m.
San Luis Obispo - Bob Janssen Field
Coverage: Live Stats
Series Record: First Meeting

vs. Cal Poly (7-9 this year)
Saturday, March 8, at 4:30 p.m.;  Sunday, March 9 at 2 p.m.
San Luis Obispo - Bob Janssen Field
Coverage: Live Stats, Video and Audio
Series Record: Cal Poly Leads, 20-19
Current Streak Against The Mustangs: Lost 1
Last Meeting: L, 2-1, in San Luis Obispo (3/9/13)

vs. Fairleigh Dickinson (0-0 this year)
Saturday, March 8, at 7 p.m.
San Luis Obispo - Bob Janssen Field
Coverage: Live Stats
Series Record: First Meeting

HORNET BRIEFS

LAST WEEK
Sacramento State went 1-1 last week at what was supposed to be a four-game tournament for the Hornets at the Gael Classic in Moraga. On Saturday, the Hornets fell to Saint Mary's, 4-2, before defeating Boise State, 3-1. On Sunday, Sacramento State got extremely unlucky as the Hornets were leading Boise State, 9-2, in the second inning before heavy rains hit the Moraga area hard, cancelling the game. A game has to go five innings to become official, so the Hornets don't get a win and the stats from that game do not count. The team's game later in the day against Saint Mary's was cancelled as well.

PITCHING PROWESS
Sacramento State pitching easily leads the Big Sky Conference in ERA (2.29) and opponents batting average (.241). Junior Caitlin Brooks (0.69) and senior Taylor Stroud (2.74) rank first and third, respectively, in the league in ERA. Both pitchers are limiting the opposition to batting averages of .225 or lower, and have combined to start 10 of the Hornets' 12 games thus far.

BROOKS' DOMINANCE
Junior Caitlin Brooks, who earned Big Sky Pitcher of the Week honors last Tuesday for the sixth time in her career, has won each of her last three starts. In addition, she has thrown complete games and allowed one earned run or less in all six of her starts this season. Brooks also has a 3.7-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (41 strikeouts, 11 walks). The right-hander had a streak of 17 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run (spanning four appearances) come to an end when she allowed a run to Boise State in the third inning of Saturday's win. Sacramento State had given Brooks just two runs of offensive support during her first three starts, but has scored 13 runs with Brooks in the circle over her last three starts.

DEFENSE PICKING UP
After a rough start to the season in which the Hornets committed 14 errors during the first eight games, Sacramento State has now gone errorless in four straight games. That's a streak of 110 consecutive plays in the field without committing an error. The Hornets have raised their fielding 22 percentage points over that four-game span to its current mark of .957.

GETTING ON BASE
Sacramento State's .362 on-base percentage is the second best mark in the Big Sky Conference. The Hornets have walked 31 times, and have been hit by pitches 14 times while collecting 90 hits in 325 at-bats. Four regulars in the Sacramento State lineup have on-base percentages of at least .400, comprised of Kortney Solis (.500), Alexa Chattleton (.444), Paige Martin (.410) and Sasha Margulies (.400).

STRANDING RUNNERS
Sacramento State has left 96 runners on base this season, or an average of 8.0 per game. That includes stranding at least 10 runners in three different games. The team has had a tough time hitting with runners on base, batting just .232 (45-for-194) in those situations. The Hornets' top two hitters with runners on base thus far have been Shelby Johnson (.417) and Alexis Martinez (.375).

THE .300 CLUB
Seven different Hornets with at least 19 at-bats this year are all hitting above .300, comprised of catcher Kortney Solis (.364), outfielder Shelby Johnston (.333), first baseman Sasha Margulies (.323), outfielder Nicole Clark (.316), middle infielder Paige Castro (.310), catcher Paris Prado (.308) and third baseman Alexis Martinez (.303).

THIEVERY
Through six games, Sacramento State had zero stolen bases in one attempt. In the last six games, however, the team is 6-for-6 in stolen base opportunities. Alexa Chattleton and Paige Castro each have a pair of stolen bases.

SACRIFICES IN SMALL SUPPLY
After averaging better than one sacrifice per game last season, the Hornets have laid down just five sacrifices through 12 games. Clark has two of those four sacrifices.

DOUBLE TROUBLE
Sacramento State has already accumulated 19 doubles this season, or 1.6 per game. That's 10 more doubles than the opposition, and the 19 two-baggers are the second best mark in the Big Sky. Six different Hornets have at least two doubles this season, led by Paris Prado's four, and three for Sasha Margulies.

HOME RUN DROUGHT OVER
True freshman Shelby Johnston's solo home run in the fifth inning of Saturday's loss to Saint Mary's snapped a string of 287 at-bats the Hornets had gone without a round tripper. That home run remains Sacramento State's only four bagger of the year. The opposition hasn't been much better with the long ball as Hornet pitching has yielded just three home runs this year.

REACHING BASE IN EVERY GAME
Outfielder Alexa Chattleton and catcher Kortney Solis have reached base safely (via hit or walk) in all 12 games this year, and Paige Martin has reached base safely in 11 straight games. Solis, Chattleton and Martin each have the best on-base percentages on the team, respectively.

MAKING THE BIG PITCHES
Opponents are batting just .119 (5-for-42) with runners on base against fourth-year senior right-hander Taylor Stroud.

SCORE THREE RUNS OR ELSE
Sacramento State is 6-0 when scoring three runs or better, and 0-6 when scoring under that amount.

OFFENSE GOING GOOD
After combining for just three runs and 15 hits during the first three games of the season, Sacramento State's offense has been much better over the last nine games. During that nine-game stretch, the team is batting .302 (75-for-248) with 13 doubles, 35 RBIs and a .382 on-base percentage. The pitching staff has recorded a 2.21 ERA over that span, including a .252 opponents batting average.

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