by Zachary Knecht
Featured Image: Photo by Weber State Athletics
Weber State SAC Recap
The Weber State Wildcats have a bumpy ride home after dropping two of three contests against the Sacramento State Hornets. Though the weather was sunny, the trip was gloomy for WSU in a hotly battled tournament versus potentially the most fearsome opponent in the Big Sky.
The Wildcats leave another tournament taking only one game, dropping to 2-4 in conference play. After Weber State’s dominance in last season’s Big Sky tournament, this type of struggle early on was unexpected, but their schedule clears up moving forward after facing a couple of premier opponents.
Friday, April 14
Weber State at Sacramento State 0-1
The first duel between the Wildcats and Hornets was a pitching masterclass. Amanda Johnson and Marissa Bertuccio went head-to-head, pitching the entire outing for either side. A combined nine hits and three walks were allowed in the game, the only run seeping through being unearned. Unfortunately, the unearned run was enough to hand Johnson (5-12) the loss.
This game came down to a frustrating fourth inning. The Wildcats were up in the top half of the inning, with Lauren Hoe shooting a double to right center field in Weber State’s first at-bat. With no outs, Katelyn Whiting laid down a sacrifice bunt to get a runner on third. WSU couldn’t take advantage of the momentum, grounding out twice and leaving Lauren Hoe stranded on third base.
The bottom half of the inning continued the frustration for the Wildcats. Johnson recorded the first out of the inning from a grounder to third but then the chaos ensued. After working a full count, Carley Morfrey reached an error from Johnson before Kennedy Echols came in to pinch-run for her. No big deal, just one base runner. Johnson got the next batter to foul out, keeping a runner at first with two outs, and a single would get runners on first and second. With hope to get out of the inning, a detrimental fielding error from McKell McCuistion scored the lone run of the game, and the Wildcats left with the loss. Weber State didn’t take advantage of their opportunities, and one-too-many mistakes cost them.
Saturday, April 15
Weber State at Sacramento State 3-2
After a heartbreaking loss, the Wildcats came into Saturday with short-term memory, jumping out early against the Hornets. Lauren Hoe continued her production through the weekend, driving in two runs on a single to right-center field in the first inning. A Gianna Memoli single added a third run for WSU to give them a 3-0 lead after the second inning.
Sacramento State would try to rally back in the bottom of the third but fall just short. A slew of walks and hits put the Wildcats in a precarious position, but Jayci Finch worked out of the inning. Finch (2-1) had an impressive performance, throwing for 4.1 innings while giving up two runs on six hits, three walks, and striking out three. Brooke Hatfield earned her first save of the season, allowing two hits and one walk in 2.2 innings of work.
Saturday, April 15
Weber State at Sacramento State 1-5
Unfortunately for Weber State, the momentum ended there. A rematch between Johnson and Bertuccio was slated to be another low-scoring affair, but the Hornets managed better offensively. Sacramento State tacked on three earned runs – one unearned – on eight hits and two walks against the Wildcats’ ace. A couple of rallies were all the Hornets needed to edge the rubber match against WSU, who only managed a single run in the fourth inning.
Johnson (5-13) was given another loss, while Bertuccio (13-6) dominated Weber State’s offense once again. Sacramento State’s first option went 14 innings of one-run softball against the Wildcats. Madison Peterson came in for 1.1 innings of work, allowing one hit, one walk, and one unearned run.
What’s to Come
The Wildcats may have a chance to breathe with their next tournament against Northern Colorado next weekend. Any series poses a challenge, but Weber State looks for a more favorable matchup after having one of the most difficult non-conference schedules in the country, then facing the Big Sky’s top two rosters – excluding their own.
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