ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Playing in mid-30s degree temperatures with 20 mile per hour wins, Sacramento State outlasted the cold and host New Mexico, 15-12, in the fifth and final round of the Lobo Softball Classic. The game was stopped after five innings because of cold and rain, which at times, turn to slight snow flurries during the frigid affair.
With the victory, Sacramento State concluded the three-day, five-game tournament with a 4-1 record, which included two wins over Howard and two victories over New Mexico. The only loss came yesterday afternoon to Saint Mary's by a 3-2 score.
The Hornet offense broke out of a brief slump during the tournament, pounding opponent pitching to the tune of a .366 batting average (52-for-142) with 50 runs, 18 extra base hits, 43 RBIs, a .556 slugging percentage, .456 on-base percentage and a 1.012 ops. Sacramento State was also 11-for-11 in stolen base opportunities and scored at least seven runs in four of the five games. That included 17 vs. Howard on Saturday, and 15 more against New Mexico in today's game.
Sacramento State has now won seven of its last nine games while improving its season record to 10-8. Sacramento State went 6-1 during the week, which included a home doubleheader sweep of Wagner on Tuesday.
In today's win, Sacramento State scored seven times in the first inning, only to see New Mexico score eight in the second to take an 8-7 lead. The Hornets responded by scoring eight unanswered runs which included one run in the third, two in the fourth, and five times in the fifth. New Mexico then countered with four runs in the bottom of the fifth. In fact, the Lobos got the first seven runners aboard in the fifth inning, and had four runs in with the bases loaded and no outs before Celina Matthias got a line-out double play and a strike out to end the frame. After that last out, the umpires and both teams decided to call the game because of playing conditions that were getting progressively worse with the inclement weather.
Six different Hornets scored at least two runs in the game, including Mo Spieth (3), Suzy Brookshire (3), Nene Alas (2), Zamari Hinton (2), Sydney Rasmussen (2) and Alexxiss Diaz (2). In addition, seven of Sacramento State's nine starters had at least one RBI, led by Spieth (4), Diaz (3), Sydnee Strong (2) and Jessica Scott (2).
During the seven-run first inning, Spieth cranked a three-run homer, Scott had a two-run double and Marissa Maligad added a sacrifice fly. After the Lobos scored eight times (only two earned) via four hits and a Hornet error, Sacramento State found itself down, 8-7, after the second inning. The Hornets tied the game in the third on a Diaz home run to lead off the inning, and took the lead with two fourth-inning runs via Lobo error allowing Brookshire to score and a Diaz sacrifice fly.
The Hornets scored five times in the fifth to take a commanding 15-8 lead via bases-loaded walks to Spieth and Sydney Rasmussen, an RBI-groundout from Diaz, and a two-run single from Strong. Those five runs proved to be big insurance as New Mexico mounted its comeback in the bottom half of the inning.
Neither of the six pitchers that threw in today's game were effective as the conditions made it hard to grip the ball properly. The Hornets used three pitchers and New Mexico used three pitchers. It was Danielle Sperry (2-1) that got the win, throwing 2.1 innings. Savanna Corr started and pitched 1.2 innings, and Matthias entered the game during the fifth inning to preserve the win.
Alas, Hinton, Spieth and Diaz all had multiple-hit games for Sacramento State.
The Hornets return to action for a pair of games at Nevada on Wednesday at 1 p.m. The weather conditions in Reno on Wednesday won't be much better than Albuquerque as temperatures are projected to be in the mid 40s with rain. Sacramento State will then co-host the NorCal Challenge with UC Davis on Friday through Sunday of next week. UC Davis will host each of the tournament games on Friday and Sunday while the Hornets will host games on Saturday. Sacramento State opens the tournament against Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday at 9:30 a.m. at UC Davis' field.