SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Junior Caitlin Brooks tossed an eight-hit shutout and five different Hornets collected RBIs as Sacramento State defeated UC Davis, 5-0, in a non-conference softball game Tuesday afternoon at Shea Stadium.
The game marked the Hornets' home opener as the team improved to 7-6 this season. The win also pushed Sacramento State above the .500 mark for the first time this year, and avenged a 1-0 loss to the Aggies earlier this season in Davis.
"We were excited to play at Shea Stadium in front of our home crowd," Sacramento State first-year head coach Lori Perez said. "I think we were a little nervous, similar to the nerves you get when playing the first game of the season. But we were ready to go, and the girls did a nice job of getting the win."
Brooks wasn't dominant, but was good enough to notch her second shutout of the year. The right-hander scattered eight hits and walked five batters but found a way to lower her season ERA to 0.59 and improve her record to 4-3.
The Aggies got their leadoff batter aboard in six of the seven innings, stranded at least one runner on base in every inning, and finished the game with 12 runners left on the base paths. Brooks feasted on Aggie right fielder Krista Bava, who struck out in each of her three plate appearances while leaving seven runners on base by herself. Aggie batters finished the game just 3-for-19 (.159) with runners on base.
"Caitlin grinded it out today, but trusted her stuff and got it done," Perez said. "She did a nice job of using her defense to get outs. Caitlin is a gamer and comes up with big pitches in big situations, and that happened again today."
Meanwhile, Sacramento State's offense combined for five runs and six hits off four UC Davis pitchers, scoring three times in the third and two more in the sixth inning.
UC Davis starter Marissa Chapa retired the first seven batters she faced before issuing a four-pitch walk to Yesenia Alcala with one out in the third. Paige Castro then doubled Alcala home and Alexa Chattleton followed with a double off the right field wall that missed being a home run by a few feet. After Chattleton stole third, she scored on Shelby Johnston's infield chopper.
In the sixth inning, Paige Martin tripled home Sasha Margulies, and a T.J. Watts single after a Davis pitching change later chased home Martin. Castro was the lone Hornet with a multiple-hit game as she finished 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
"We've been working on RBI situations in practice, just so we are better prepared for those at-bats during games," Perez said. "The work in practice is paying off, and the girls are starting to enjoy being in those types of intense moments."
Chapa (1-2) took the loss for the Aggies, allowing one hit and two runs in 2.1 innings. Alicia Pane (2.2 ip), Dana Cruse (0.1 ip) and Andrea Reynolds (0.2 ip) also pitched for UC Davis.
Sacramento State returns to action later this week where the team will play five games over three days in San Luis Obispo at the Mustang Classic. The Hornets open things on Friday morning against Santa Clara at 9 a.m.
NOTES -- The Hornets committed an error in the first inning, snapping a streak of four straight errorless games…Kortney Solis and Chattleton each had a hit, and have now reached base safely in all 13 games this year…Lois Mattice, who was a longtime athletic trainer for the softball team and is now an administrator in the athletics department, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.