Feb 13, 2019
THE WEEK AHEAD
• Fresh off a 3-2 record at the season-opening NorCal Kickoff at Shea Stadium, Sacramento State will make its first-ever trip to Mexico to compete in the Puerto Vallarta College Challenge.
• In its fourth year of existence, the PV College Challenge was first held in 2015, and again in 2017 and 2018. The games that took place at the 2015 event were the first fastpitch games in NCAA history played outside the United States.
• The Hornets are one of eight teams at this week’s tournament, and will play four times between Friday and Sunday. Of those four games, two will come against nationally ranked opponents.
• Friday, the Hornets open at 8 a.m. PST against 25th-ranked Mississippi State (4-1). On Saturday, the Hornets will face 12th-ranked Arkansas (5-0) at 1 p.m. PST, followed by a matchup with Southern Illinois (3-2) at 4 p.m. PST. Sunday, the Hornets will take on Central Florida (2-2) at 9 a.m. PST.
• All tournament games are played at Nancy Almaraz Stadium. The Hornets have never played Mississippi State or Central Florida, are 3-0 all-time vs. Arkansas, and 0-1 against Southern Illinois.
• Sacramento State has not beaten a nationally ranked opponent since March 24, 2009, when it defeated 12th-ranked Cal at home in eight innings by a 2-1 score. Since that victory, the Hornets have dropped 18 straight games against nationally ranked teams.
• All tournament games are being video streamed for a fee via FloSoftball. Live stats will be available. Multimedia links for all Hornet games can be found on the softball schedule at hornetsports.com.
• Sacramento State’s offense has been impressive the first five games, batting .367 while averaging 7.8 runs per game. In fact, the Hornets rank among the top 30 teams in the nation in seven different offensive categories, including sixth in slugging percentage (.662), 17th in both doubles (2.40) and home runs (1.40) per game, and 24th in batting average.
• Five different Hornet regulars are hitting better than .400, including Katie Vretzos (.563), Nene Alas (.529), Mo Spieth (.462), Shea Graves (.444) and Krystal Aubert (.412).
• Three of the Hornets’ four pitchers have ERAs of 3.00 or lower. That includes staff ace Savanna Corr, who is 2-0 with a 2.23 ERA. She has a pair of shutouts and 14 strikeouts in 15.2 innings.
• Sacramento State has struggled defensively as the team has already committed 13 errors and has a .917 fielding percentage. All 13 of those errors came during a three-game stretch against UC Santa Barbara (4), Santa Clara (3) and CSU Bakersfield (6). The six errors against CSUB were the most in Sacramento State single-game history.
• Aubert was named the Big Sky Player of the Week by College Sports Madness after batting .412 with two doubles, three home runs, nine RBIs, a 1.059 slugging percentage and 1.533 ops.
• Spieth is currently riding a four-game hitting streak. Over that span, she is batting .600 (6-for-10) with six runs, two doubles, two homers, four walks and eight RBIs.
• Vretzos had hit safely in each of the first four games (with three multi-hit games) prior to going 0-for-3 with an RBI in Sunday’s win over Nevada.
• Sacramento State won both the Big Sky Conference regular season and tournament championships a year ago, and was unanimously selected to finish first in this year’s preseason coaches poll.
• Sixth-year head coach Lori Perez oversees a roster that features 14 returners from a year ago, including seven positional starters and two pitchers.