SACRAMENTO — Sacramento State and Montana fought through two lengthy rain delays to get one game finished while seeing the other halted due to darkness in a day filled with crazy weather at Shea Stadium. The Hornets won the first game in six-inning mercy rule fashion by a 9-1 score before the second game was halted at 5-5 in the 10th inning because of darkness (Shea Stadium does not have lights).
The two teams began their three-game Big Sky Conference series today, and they were originally slated to play a doubleheader at noon. That start time was pushed back two hours because of inclement weather. Then, in the middle of the first game, the two teams had to brave a 38-minute rain delay.
The halted game, which was stopped after the Hornets' at-bat in the bottom of the ninth, will resume tomorrow at noon with the score tied at 5-5 and Montana coming to bat in the top of the 10th. After that game concludes, the third and final game of the series will be played. At the conclusion of that final game, each member of the 2018 Big Sky title winning team will receive their championship rings.
The victory in Game 1 allowed the Hornets to improve to 19-17 overall and 3-3 in the Big Sky while Montana dropped to 11-24 overall and 1-3 in league play.
In the opener, Sacramento State scored five times in the third, once in the both the fourth and fifth, and twice more in the sixth inning to finish a game that was stopped because of the mercy rule. The Hornets scored nine times on 11 hits, and rode the arm of Savanna Corr, who allowed just two hits and one run with a career-high 11 strikeouts over six innings. Corr had at least one strikeout in every inning, and surpassed her previous career high of 10 strikeouts, set earlier this season at home against Southern Utah.
True freshman Brianna Bowers had a hit in both games, and by the time tomorrow's halted game concludes, she will have a nine-game hitting streak. That ties for the longest hitting streak of the season by a Sacramento State player (Nene Alas also accomplished the feat).
Seven different Hornets had hits in the first game, including multi-hit games from Krystal Aubert, Shea Graves, Kailie Hargis and Sydnee Strong. Hargis had a double and a triple. Aubert clubbed her team-high ninth home run of the season as part of the Hornets' five-run third inning, a two-run shot that scored Suzy Brookshire. Alas added an RBI-single in an inning which saw the Hornets account for five hits while also taking advantage of two Grizzly errors.
An Aubert RBI-single scored the Hornets' fourth inning run, Bowers added an RBI-single in the fifth, and a Strong RBI-single and Katie Vretzos bases-loaded walk accounted for the runs in the sixth. The Vretzos walk ended the game.
Corr, who improved to 13-9, allowed two hits and one run while walking three and striking out 11 batters. She threw 115 pitches, and stranded six Montana runners on base. Colleen Driscoll (5-8) got the loss for the Griz, allowing five runs (three earned) and six hits in 2.2 innings.
In the second game, the two teams combined for seven runs in the first inning. Montana scored three times in the top of the first only to see Sacramento State answer with four in the bottom half of the inning. The Hornets would eventually take a 5-3 lead, but the Grizzlies scored once in the fifth, and once in the seventh, to force extra innings.
The Hornets loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth inning, but Brookshire grounded out as the sun dipped behind an overcast cloud cover making things a little too dark to continue play. When play resumes tomorrow at noon, Corr, who came on in relief in seventh inning, will be in the circle facing Montana's No. 2 hitter Cami Sellers to begin the 10th. Danielle Sperry worked the first six innings for the Hornets.
When play resumes, Alas will be 3-for-4 in the game while Strong is 2-for-4. Those two players have accounted for five of the Hornets' nine hits.