GAME NOTES: SOFTBALL SET FOR FIRST NCAA TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE SINCE 2008

GAME NOTES: SOFTBALL SET FOR FIRST NCAA TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE SINCE 2008

Full set of game notes (25 pages) - pdf
Los Angeles Regional Central
NCAA Interactive Bracket
NCAA Printable Bracket

REGIONAL PREVIEW

• For the fourth time since joining the Div. I ranks in 1990, and just the second time in 23 years, Sacramento State (31-18, 14-7 Big Sky Conference) will compete at the NCAA Tournament.
• The Hornets qualified for the NCAA's postseason event after winning the Big Sky Tournament last weekend. Sacramento State also won the conference's regular season title. Since the conference began sponsoring softball in 2013, the Hornets had never won a Big Sky regular season or tourney title.
• Sacramento State will travel to the Los Angeles Regional, and will open on Friday at UCLA (50-4), which is ranked second in the nation and the No. 3 overall seed at the tournament. The Hornets and Bruins will play Friday night at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. This will mark the first time Sacramento State softball has ever played on an ESPN network.
• The double elimination regional will run through Sunday with the winner of the Hornets-Bruins game playing on Saturday at 2 p.m. The losing team will play Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
• The other two teams at the four-team Los Angeles Regional are Cal State Fullerton (33-23) and 22nd-ranked Texas State (42-14). Those two teams will play Friday night at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN3.
• The Regional championship game will take place on Sunday at 4 p.m., and if another game is necesary, that will take place Sunday at 6:30 p.m. All six or seven games at the Regional will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks.
• Every Los Angeles Regional game will take place at Easton Stadium on the UCLA campus.
• The Hornets will enter the tournament as winners of four straight, and nine of the last 12 games.
• Sacramento State clinched the Big Sky's regular season title on the final day of the regular season (May 5), and will host next year's conference tournament. This year's Big Sky Tournament was played in Ogden, Utah, after Weber State won last year's regular season title.
• This year's conference championship was just the second for Sacramento State in the program's Div. I era (1990-pres.) as the team won the 2008 Pacific Coast Softball Conference title. Overall, the Hornets have won 10 conference championships in program history (1967-pres.).
• Sacramento State has one national championship under its belt, winning the AIAW Div. II national title during the 1981 season. The 1989 team was the NCAA Div. II Runner-ups. The 1989 season was also the last for the program at the Div. II level as the team made the jump to Div. I in 1990.
• The Hornets are 73-41 (.640 winning percentage) in Big Sky play with three second-place finishes in the league standings before finally getting over the hump this season.
• The Hornets are the owners of three winning streaks of at least five games long this season, and the team is 13 games above the .500 mark for the first time since the 2008 squad had a 32-19 record.

MULTIMEDIA OPTIONS

• Every game of the Los Angeles Regional will be televised or streamed live on one of the ESPN family of networks. The Hornets' first game on Friday at UCLA at 8 p.m. will be televised live on ESPN2. It yet to be determined which ESPN network will pick up the Hornets' games on Saturday and Sunday.
• All multimedia options can be found next to the games on the softball schedule at hornetsports.com.

HORNETS AT THE NCAA DIV. I TOURNAMENT

• Sacramento State has never won an NCAA Div. I Tournament game, going 0-2 in 1993, 0-2 in 1995, and 0-2 in 2008. Overall, the Hornets are 0-6 at the NCAA's Div. I postseason event.
• The 1993 team finished the season 36-21, and was sent to the West Regional in Berkeley where it dropped a pair of 1-0 decisions to Long Beach State (in nine innings) and Cal.
• The 1995 squad finished with a 40-15 record and a No. 8 ranking in the final top 25 poll, but lost at home to both Iowa (3-0) and Cal (2-1) in its Regional.
• In the Hornets' most recent showing at the Big Dance, the Hornets were shipped to the Fresno Regional in 2008, where they lost to Fresno State, 11-0, and to San Diego State, 7-1.
• In six NCAA Regional games, Sacramento State has yet to score more than one run.

AGAINST UCLA

• Sacramento State is 5-21 all-time against 11-time national champion UCLA.
• One of those wins came against a UCLA squad that was ranked No. 1 in the nation. On Feb. 17, 2000, the Hornets beat the top-ranked Bruins, 2-1, at the Campbell/Cartier Tournament in Poway, Calif.
• In that game, current Sacramento State head coach Lori Perez was the starting third baseman for the Hornets. In fact, it was Perez that recorded assists on all three outs in the seventh inning to preserve the win. All three plays were ground balls hit her way that she threw to first base.
• The two teams have played just twice since the Hornet upset, with UCLA posting victories in 2006 and 2011. The teams' last meeting was a 5-3 Bruin victory on March 11, 2011, in Long Beach.
• The Hornets are 1-9 when playing at UCLA with the lone win (1-0 in 13 innings) coming in 1979.

HORNET NOTABLES

• Sacramento State swept each of the major conference awards, accounting for the Big Sky MVP (sophomore Suzy Brookshire), Big Sky Pitcher of the Year (senior Celina Matthias) and head coach Lori Perez was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year.
• In all, seven Hornets received some form or all-league mention, including first teamers Brookshire, Matthias and second baseman Zamari Hinton, second teamers were third baseman Marissa Maligad and outfielder Nene Alas, while shortstop Sydney Rasmussen and first baseman Mo Spieth were both named honorable mention all-league.
• Brookshire became just the second player in Big Sky history to be named both the conference's regular season and tournament MVPs, joining Weber State's Aubrey Whitmer who did it in 2016. A sophomore, Brookshire is just the second underclassman in Big Sky history to be named regular season MVP.
• Brookshire has a program-record 17 home runs this season, surpassing the previous school record of 15, a mark she set last year as a freshman. In addition, her 50 RBIs this season are three shy of tying the school record of 53, a mark that was set by Izmena Cabrera in 2008.
• One of the greatest pitchers in program history, right-hander Celina Matthias is 20-9 with five saves and a 1.95 ERA with 203 strikeouts in 204.1 innings. She has accounted for the win or the save in 25 of the Hornets' 31 victories. She has pitched in 40 of the team's 51 games with 26 starts, 22 complete games, six shutouts and a .208 opponents batting average.
• Matthias is one of just two Hornets during the Div. I era to win 20 games on more than one occasion (she was 20-13 in 2016). The other Hornet to do it: three-time All-American Susie Bugliarello (1995, 1997).
• Matthias is 58-43 with a 2.98 ERA during her career, and her 58 victories are third most in the Div. I era.
• Hinton is currently batting .405, and leads the nation with one strikeout every 84.0 at-bats. Incredibly, she has struck out twice in 168 at-bats, including going the first 140 at-bats of the year without striking out.
• Hinton is currently riding a 13-game hitting streak, and tied the school record with a 21-game hitting streak earlier this year. She is attempting to become the fifth Hornets in the program's Div. I era to hit .400.
• The Hornets' entire infield and outfield have started all 49 games this season, including first baseman Mo Spieth, second baseman Zamari Hinton, shortstop Sydney Rasmussen, third baseman Marissa Maligad, left fielder Suzy Brookshire, center fielder Sydnee Strong and right fielder Nene Alas. Catcher Jessica Scott has started 48 of the 49 games.
• Four Hornets were named all-tournament at the Big Sky Tournament, including tourney MVP Brookshire as well as Maligad, Matthias and Strong. It was Strong that got the Hornets off to a good start with a grand slam in the first inning of the Hornets' tourney opener against Montana.
• Among the Big Sky's eight teams, the Hornets rank first in team ERA (2.78), and second in both batting average (.286) and fielding percentage (.969).
• The Hornets have done a good job getting the jump on opponents, badly outscoring the opposition in both the first (46-20) and second (39-16) innings.