Hornets Edge Broncos in Softball Doubleheader Saturday

Hornets Edge Broncos in Softball Doubleheader Saturday

SARATOGA, Calif. – In a pair of hotly contested games that couldn't have been any closer, Sacramento State hit a pair of late-inning homeruns that eventually allowed the Hornets a sweep over homestanding Santa Clara Saturday in Saratoga. Game scores were 4-3 and 4-0.

Game One was extremely entertaining, with the lead changing hands twice before an unearned run in the top of the seventh broke a 3-3 tie and gave Sacramento State (16-22; 8-6 PCSC) the edge. Santa Clara (6-26; 2-12 PCSC) jumped out to a 2-0 lead on back-to-back solo drives from Stephanie Fisher and Briana Knight in the top of the first inning.

Knight – the PCSC's top hitter – was making her return to the lineup after missing the last five games with an sprained ankle. After Fisher pulled the second pitch of the game offered to SCU over the right-centerfield fence, Knight hit an opposite-field shot to nearly the identical spot to put the Broncos up 2-0.

It was Knight's team-leading eighth homerun of the season. For Fisher, a freshman from Tracy, Calif., it was the first of her young career.

With Game One tied 2-2 in the sixth, Jamie Wallis made what appeared to be a game-saving catch at the centerfield wall to rob the Hornets of a homerun and keep the game tied. It was one of a number of great plays Wallis made defensively in centerfield throughout the afternoon.

However, later in the inning, Kelly Shepard hit her second solo homerun of the game to push Sac State back in front 3-2. Shepard went 2 for 5 on the day.

In the bottom of the sixth, SCU senior Amanda Edmonson came up with a clutch game-tying single, scoring Kristin Welsh to even the game back up at three. Like Knight, Welsh was also making a return from injury, providing a big boost the Broncos at shortstop and at the plate offensively.

A pair of groundball singles off Bronco starter Jessica Turner put runners on base for Sac State in the top of the seventh and a fielding error plated the eventual winning run, overshadowing another strong outing from Turner, who scattered eight hits and allowed just two earned runs.

In Game Two, SCU senior starting pitcher Jenna Fong was terrific through six-innings. Fong was locked into a pitcher's dual with Sac State's Taylor Stroud, as the game went into the seventh with the Hornets holding a 1-0 lead.

One of Kelli Frye's three hits on the day helped put two insurance runs aboard for Sac State in the seventh. With one-out and two-on, Fong fanned Molly Smith but Emily McCormick followed with a two-out, three-run homerun to leftfield.

Santa Clara rallied to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate with no outs in the bottom of the seventh. Stroud got two key strikeouts to stop the Broncos momentum, retiring the final three batters in order to complete the shutout.

Catherine Surane and Welsh each had three hits for SCU on Saturday. As a team, Santa Clara totaled 14 hits in the two games.

The series will continue with a doubleheader Sunday in Saratoga. A ceremony honoring each team's senior student-athletes will preclude the first pitch, which is scheduled for 12 noon.