SACRAMENTO — Sacramento State had a 1-0 lead in the final inning against Cal, but the Golden Bears scored once in the seventh to tie, and twice more in the ninth to defeat the Hornets, 3-1, on Wednesday evening at Shea Stadium.
Hornet senior right-hander Savanna Corr was dominant throughout, holding Cal hitless the first four innings, and taking a one-hit shutout into the seventh. In a game that looked like Sacramento State was the superior team, the Hornets outhit the Bears, 8-4, and only two Cal players had hits during the game. Unfortunately for Sacramento State, one of those players was No. 6 hitter Karlee Sparacino who was 3-for-4 with a run and accounted for all three of Cal's RBIs.
That included a Sparacino RBI-double in the seventh to tie, and a two-run homer in the ninth inning that proved to be the game-winning hit.
With the victory, Cal has now won 13 of its last 15 games to improve to 20-9. The Golden Bears have defeated the Hornets on 13 straight occasions dating back to the last Hornet win in the series in 2009. Sacramento State, which also lost in extra innings to Cal a year ago at Shea Stadium, dropped to 15-13. Today's game marked the final tuneup for the Hornets before Big Sky Conference play begins later this week at home.
Sacramento State was playing the seventh game of a season-long 10-game homestand, which includes the conference-opening series against Southern Utah. The two teams will play a three-game series, beginning on Friday with a doubleheader at noon followed by a single game on Saturday at noon.
The Hornets opened the scoring in the fourth inning of today's game after Nene Alas led off with a single, and later stolen second base. With two outs, Krystal Aubert laced a single up the middle which allowed Alas to score easily, giving Sacramento State a 1-0 lead.
The Hornets could have tacked onto their lead as three straight one-out singles in the fifth inning by Jessica Scott, Shea Graves and Alas loaded the bases. However, Cal reliever Zoe Conley struck out two consecutive Hornet batters on full counts to end the threat.
Meanwhile, Corr was cruising along, having given up just one Cal single through the first six innings. However, the Bears took advantage of what turned out to be a big Hornet error to begin the seventh. After a walk, Sparacino drove a ball into the right-center field gap allowing Jordan Fines to score the game-tying run. After the run scored, Cal had runners at second and third with nobody out, but Corr struck out three straight batters to preserve the 1-1 tie.
Neither team threatened to score until the top of the ninth when Makena Smith singled up the middle, and Sparacino followed with a towering drive that sailed just over the right field fence for a two-run bomb and a 3-1 Cal lead.
Conley then set down the Sacramento State side in order in the bottom half of the inning to get the win. Conley (6-5) allowed just three hits with two strikeouts in 4.2 innings. Corr (11-8) was the hard-luck losing pitcher, allowing just four hits and three runs (two earned) with six strikeouts in nine innings.
The game featured numerous defensive gems, including a diving catch by Sydnee Strong, and a sliding catch from Suzy Brookshire. Cal also had two diving catches in the outfield.
Sacramento State had multiple-hit games from Alas, Aubert and Vretzos as each went 2-for-4. Scott and Graves also had hits for the Hornets.