OGDEN, Utah — Sacramento State and Weber State opened their three-game series by splitting a doubleheader with both games finishing in 4-3 outcomes on Friday afternoon at Wildcat Field. The Hornets won the first game with a run in the seventh inning, and the Wildcats won the nightcap with a run in the bottom of the seventh.
With the split, the Hornets moved their record to 16-11 overall and 2-3 in the Big Sky Conference while Weber State is now 15-15 overall and 3-2 in the league. The two teams will resume their three-game series tomorrow for a single game at 11 a.m. PDT.
In a series between two evenly matched teams, both games were very close down to the final out. In the first game, with the score tied at 3-3 in the top of the seventh, it was a two-out, RBI-single from Sydnee Strong scoring Mo Spieth with what proved to be the game-winning run. In the nightcap, a two-out, RBI-single from Marissa Maligad tied the game at 3-3 in the seventh, but Molly Horne's walkoff sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the inning ended the game.
Weber State, last year's Big Sky regular season champion, was selected to finish second in the conference's preseason coaches poll while Sacramento State was selected third.
The Hornets' Sydney Rasmussen, Mo Spieth, Zamari Hinton and Sydnee Strong each combined for three hits during the doubleheader, and Sacramento State got good pitching efforts from both Celina Matthias (7.0 ip, 5 h, 2 er, 3 k) and Savanna Corr (6.2 ip, 5 h, 3 er, 4 k). Hinton had a hit in both games, improving her hitting streak to a career-high tying 15 games, which is also tied for the fourth longest in Sacramento State's Div. I era (1990-pres.). Suzy Brookshire (14 games) and Nene Alas (eight games) saw their hitting streaks come to an end after going hitless in the opener.
Sacramento State took an early 3-0 lead only to see Weber State score once in the bottom of the second and twice more in the fifth to tie the score at 3-3. That set up a seventh inning in which Spieth led off with a walk, was sacrificed to second by Rasmussen, and eventually scored on Strong's two-out RBI-single. That proved to be the game-winning hit as Weber State had a runner to first base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Matthias got Rae Gall to fly out and the end the game.
Two-out hits to drive in runs were a common theme for Sacramento State as the Hornets' first inning run came on a Rasmussen two-out single to score Suzy Brookshire. In the second inning, Spieth lined a two-out, two-run single to center scoring both Malissa Maligad and Hinton.
The two teams combined to strand 19 runners on base as 11 walks were issued between the two pitching staffs. Sacramento State stranded 10 runners, which included leaving the bases loaded in both the first and second innings, and two more in the fifth. Weber State stranded nine runners, including a pair of runners in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Matthias (9-4) got the win, allowing five hits, three runs (two earned) with three strikeouts in seven innings. Matthias threw 140 pitches in the complete-game effort and won her 47th career game. The fourth-year senior is three victories shy of becoming just the third Sacramento State pitcher in the program's Div. I era to win 50 games, a list that is comprised of former All-Americans Susie Bugliarello and Tami Blunt.
For Weber State, Kate Donaldson (5-5) got the loss, allowing just three hits and one unearned run in 5.1 innings.
Hinton (2-for-4 with a run scored), Rasmussen (2-for-2 with an RBI) and Spieth (2-for-3 with a run and two RBIs) all had multiple-hit games.
Like the first game, the Hornets jumped to an early 1-0 lead with a first inning run. This time, it was a successful squeeze bunt by Brookshire allowing Alas to score from third base. However, Weber State would scored three unanswered runs with two in the third and one in the fifth. The fifth-inning run was unearned as a pair of Hornet errors led directly to the Wildcat score.
Sacramento State got a run back in the sixth when Brookshire crushed an opposite field solo home run to cut the deficit to 3-2. In the top of the seventh, Rasmussen led off the inning with a single. One out later, she advanced to second after Strong singled to center field. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Maligad lined a 1-0 pitch to left-center that plated Rasmussen. Sacramento State still had runners at the corners, but Kirtlyn Bohling came on in relief and got the final out of the inning.
The Wildcats got a leadoff single from Takesha Saltern in the bottom of the seventh. Saltern would advance to second on a ground ball out, and moved to third on an Ashlyn Visser single. That set the stage for Horne who hit a 1-2 pitch deep enough to center field allowing Saltern to score from third base.
Despite facing just one batter and throwing just six pitches, Bohling (6-5) got the victory. Corr (3-6) took the loss, allowing five hits and four runs (three earned) with four strikeouts in 6.2 innings.
Strong (2-for-3) was the only Hornet with a multiple-hit game, and each of the Hornets' first five batters of the lineup had one hit apiece.
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