by Zachary Knecht
Featured Image: Photo by Weber State Athletics
Weber State SAC Preview
The Weber State Wildcats continue their road trip to sunny California to take on the Sacramento State Hornets. Weber State shared the honor of Big Sky co-preseason favorites with the Hornets and looks to take down their capable conference combatant nearly 700 miles away from home.
The mid-April tournament gives viewers a rematch of the 2022 Big Sky Softball Championship game, where the Wildcats took down Sacramento State 8-0 to secure the crown. The rosters met twice in the Championship Tournament as WSU punched their ticket to the big game with a 9-0 win over the Hornets, but SAC won’t be looking to repeat the same result. This time around, Sacramento State is blazing hot coming into play, with Weber State struggling to come by a win, only taking one game in the past month.
Given the brief conference season, WSU has to right the ship this weekend. All teams get a shot in the tournament, but the Wildcats don’t want to dig a bigger hole than necessary. Weber State started the season with a 1-2 conference record against one of the Big Sky’s premier rosters, and they face another. The Hornets are 5-1 on the season in the Big Sky after showcasing impressive performances against Northern Colorado and Montana.
Battle on Two Fronts
There are very few holes in Sacramento State’s game. They can hit with the best of them, and their pitching can overwhelm any roster. In conference play, the Hornets are ranked second in batting average and runs and first in ERA, throwing three shutouts in six games. On top of this, their fielding is one of the best in the conference, sporting the second-highest fielding percentage.
SAC has two everyday starters hitting with averages above .415. Leandra Coronado leads the way at .500. She doesn’t pose a power threat but makes good contact and gets on base. Lewa Day, on the other hand, has a .417 AVG but will take you out of the yard. Day leads her team in OPS (1.387) and the Big Sky with home runs (4).
The Hornets also have a Cerberus of a pitching staff. Savannah Wahl, Marissa Bertuccio, and Caroline Evans have given their opponents nightmares this season, making up the most dominant pitching staff of the Big Sky right now. With a team ERA of 1.15, Sacramento State has done nothing but frustrate lineups. Wahl (0.64 ERA) and Bertuccio (0.88 ERA) both display sub-one ERAs, with their third option, Evans (1.75 ERA), playing better than most teams’ top options.
Where the Weather is Warm
The Wildcats have to be happy to be away from the cold snowy weather for the weekend. The snow postponed a good chunk of their season, so California sounds like a great destination to play some softball.
Weber State has much to improve on coming into Sacramento. They had a few flashy performances against Portland State from Mika Chong, Katelyn Whiting, and Sarah Ruhl, but their premier producers were not impactful. Fortunately, McKell McCuistion and Lauren Hoe showed promise against a ranked Utah roster.
WSU’s pitching also left a lot to be desired. The Wildcats’ pitching ranks last in ERA (6.00) in the Big Sky and experienced setbacks against the Utes. After a strong start to the season, Amanda Johnson has struggled to get on a good track but remains the workhouse on the rotation. Facing the Hornets is a challenge, but it is an opportunity to retake control of the campaign.
The Wildcats and Hornets have three duels over the weekend which go as follows:
-Friday, April 14, 11 am MST
-Friday, April 14, 1:30 pm MST
-Saturday, April 15, 11 am MST
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