PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico — Sacramento state had a 5-1 lead in the second, and a 5-4 lead in the sixth, but could not hold on as Central Florida defeated the Hornets, 6-5, in the fourth and final round of the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge on Sunday morning at Nancy Alvarez Field.
Sacramento State finished the tournament with an 0-4 record, and two of those games came against nationally ranked opponents. On Friday, Sacramento State lost to 25th-ranked Mississippi State prior to falling to 11th-ranked Arkansas and Southern Illinois on Saturday. Overall, the Hornets' record is now 3-6 as they started the season last week with a 3-2 record at the NorCal Kickoff.
In today's game, Sacramento State jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the top of the second inning. Mo Spieth got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the first, followed by a four-run second inning that featured a Shea Graves RBI-single and a three-run homer from Suzy Brookshire. For Brookshire, it was her first round tripper of the season and 34th home run of her career. She is now just one home run shy of tying Jamie Schloredt (2006-09) for the most career homers in program history.
However, shutdown innings were an issue for Sacramento State as the Hornets scored in six different innings during the tournament and the opposition scored the very next half inning each time. That included today when Central Florida scored a run in the first to tie things at 1-1, and twice in the second to cut the deficit to 5-3.
The Hornets were held scoreless the final five innings of the game and had plenty of opportunities to score. The Hornets stranded eight runners on base, and had base runners aboard in all seven innings. Meanwhile, the Knights kept chipping away, scoring once in the fifth inning and twice more in the sixth to take the lead. The big blows in the sixth inning were an RBI-double from Takiya London to tie, and a wild pitch with two outs scoring allowing Kyra Klarkowski to score what proved to be the game-winning run.
Sacramento State committed three errors in today's game, leading to a pair of unearned runs. The Hornets allowed nine unearned runs to score during the four-game tournament, including five in yesterday's loss to Arkansas.
Jensen Main worked the first two innings, before Savanna Corr pitched the final four innings in relief. It was Corr (2-3) that got the loss. Central Florida's Alea White (2-3) got the loss, allowing five runs (one earned) and six hits in seven innings.
Five of the Hornets' top six players in the lineup had at least one hit, including Mo Spieth who finished 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Brookshire was 1-for-3 with a walk, homer and three RBIs, and Graves went 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI. Nene Alas was 1-for-2 with a walk, stolen base and two runs scored, and Katie Vretzos went 1-for-4. Both Alas and Vretzos are currently batting .414 while Spieth is hitting .360.
Sacramento State will play again next week when the team hosts a three-game series against Loyola Marymount. The Hornets and Lions will play a doubleheader on Saturday at noon, and a single game on Sunday at 11 a.m.
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