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April 25, 2014

SOFTBALL SWEEPS WEBER STATE, NOW 12-4 IN CONFERENCE PLAY

OGDEN, Utah -- Paris Prado combined for four hits, Alexa Chattleton had three hits and three RBIs and pitchers Caitlin Brooks and Taylor Stroud both picked up complete-game wins to lead Sacramento State to a doubleheader sweep of Big Sky Conference foe Weber State Friday afternoon at the Wildcat Softball Complex.

The Hornets won the opener, 11-1, in a six-inning mercy rule shortened game before erasing a 3-0 deficit to win the nightcap by a 4-3 score.

With the sweep, Sacramento State improved to 24-19 overall and 12-4 in the Big Sky while Weber State dropped 20-23 and 2-9 in the conference. The two teams are scheduled to play the third game of the series tomorrow at 11 a.m. PDT, but heavy rains are in the forecast in Ogden, Utah, leaving the game in doubt. Should the game get canceled, it would not be made up and the Hornets will finish the regular season with the 12-4 conference record.

Sacramento State, which already clinched a spot in the four-team Big Sky Tournament on May 8-10, continues to strengthen its chancing at winning the league's regular season title. The Hornets are locked in a battle for the top spot in the conference with Southern Utah (9-2) and Idaho State (9-3), and both those teams have six league games remaining on the schedule. Southern Utah begins a three-game series at Idaho State tomorrow. The winner of the conference's regular season title will host the Big Sky Tournament.

Coupled with last weekend's three-game series sweep of Portland State, the Hornets have now won five straight conference games. The team is a season-best five games above the .500 mark overall, and is playing its best ball of the season at the right time.

GAME 1

Every batter in the lineup reached base via hit or walk, and seven of the lineup's nine batters had hits. In fact, the two players that didn't record a hit combined to reach base five times, comprised of Sasha Margulies (0-for-1 with three walks and two runs) and Kortney Solis (0-for-2 with two walks and two runs).

Paige Castro, Alexis Martinez, Alexa Chattleton and Paris Prado all had two hits, and both Martinez and Chattleton had three RBIs. Sacramento State, which scored seven runs in the second inning, already had 10 hits by the end of the second and finished the game with 11 runs on 11 hits.

During that seven-run second inning, the Hornets sent 12 batters to the plate and tallied eight hits. Prado, who led off the inning, had two hits in the frame, and Paige Martin (RBI-double), Castro (RBI-single), Martinez (2-run single), Chattleton (RBI-single) and Yesenia Alcala (2-run single) each drove in runs. Sacramento State has now scored 48 runs in the second inning this year, easily the most of any inning.

Sacramento State entered the top of the sixth inning with an 8-1 lead, and tacked on three more in the inning to enforce the mercy rule. During the frame, Margulies drew a bases-loaded walk for the Hornets' first run and Chattleton added a two-run triple.

Brooks (9-5) won her third straight start, allowing four hits and one run while striking out five batters over six innings. She walked three and hit three batters, but was able to work out of a couple jams while throwing 140 pitches. For Weber State, Kylee Colvin (4-5) took the loss, allowing four runs and six hits in 1.2 innings. Jasmine Ioane worked the final 4.1 innings, allowing five hits and seven runs (four earned).

GAME 2

The Hornets trailed, 3-0, after two innings, but scored twice in the third and tacked on single runs in the fifth and sixth to complete the comeback. It marked just the fourth time this season Sacramento State has won after the opponent scored the game's first run (4-14).

The comeback would not have been possible without the pitching of Stroud who rebounded from a shaky first and second inning. In fact, during those first two frames, she yielded three runs and five hits, including a two-run homer to Mylee Davis. However, Stroud was dominant the final five innings of the game, allowing just two singles and one runner to get past first base over that span. She didn't allow a hit the final three innings and retired the side in order in both the fifth and seventh innings.

The comeback began in the third when Solis went the opposite way, crushing a two-run double to left field which scored both Castro and Nicole Clark. The Hornets got the equalizer in the fifth when Martin led off the inning by depositing a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall for her team-high third home run of the season.

Sacramento State went ahead in the sixth inning as Chattleton drew a one-out walk on a 3-2 pitch. Prado then followed an infield single to put runners at first and second base. After Chattleton advanced to third on a her team-high 12th stolen base of the season, Alcala laid down a perfect squeeze bunt which plated Chattleton and proved to be the game-winning run.

Stroud improved to 7-6, allowing three runs and seven hits while walking two and striking out seven. She threw 122 pitches in securing her 11th complete game of the season. MaCauley Flint (9-8) took the loss, allowing four runs (three earned) and seven hits over seven innings.

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