Cal State Chico rallies to earn split
Despite struggling in first contest, Cats get offense rolling late
CHICO, Calif. – Cal State Chico – which scored 57 runs in last weekend’s road series against Humboldt State – was the victim in game 1 of its doubleheader against the Cal State Stanislaus, with the Warriors blanking the Wildcats 2-0. The ’Cats then mounted a 10-hit attack in a 9-2 victory to earn a split of the series-opening twinbill at University Softball Field.
Chico State, ranked No. 3 in the nation, moved to 13-4 on the season and 7-3 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). The doubleheader split improved Cal State Stanislaus’ overall record to 7-18 and 2-8 in CCAA play.
Diana Payan, Britt Wright, Hailey Stockman and Taylor Hanamaikai each had two hits on the day for the Wildcats, with Jackie Munoz and Emily McEnaney delivering two-run doubles to lead the ’Cat attack. Chico State pitchers turned in solid efforts Friday, allowing just two earned runs and eight hits over the two contests.
Game 1 of Friday’s double dip was a good old-fashioned pitcher’s duel between Cal State Chico’s Sam Baker and Brittani Weatherford of Cal State Stanislaus. The Warriors got on the board right away, with Sarah Locarnini scoring on a two-out single by Vanessa Del Toro in the top of the first inning. Weatherford retired the first six ’Cat batters she faced, and in the top of the third inning Stanislaus went up 2-0 on a two-out RBI single by Jordan Flora.
Chico State mounted only one legitimate threat against Weatherford, and it came in the bottom of the fifth inning. Stockman led off with a single and went to second when Payan drew a walk. But the Warriors withstood the rally, as Weatherford fanned Rachel Failla, and following a sacrifice bunt to put the potential tying runs in scoring position, struck out Munoz to end the inning.
The Wildcats got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, as Sam Quadt led off the frame with a single. But again Weatherford was up to the challenge, retiring Stockman, Payan and McEnaney to lock down the 2-0 victory. Baker went the distance for Chico State, striking out eight, but took the loss to fall to 5-2 on the year. Weatherford scattered four hits in tossing her second shutout of the season to improve to 4-6 overall.
The ’Cats roared out to a 3-0 first inning lead in the nightcap, scoring on a bases-loaded hit by pitch, a wild pitch and a Cassidy Olson sacrifice fly. Chico State pitcher Jessica McDermott kept Stanislaus off the scoreboard for the first four innings, and in the bottom of the fourth went up 5-0 when Munoz delivered a double down the left field line to plate Failla and Hanamaikai.
The Warriors broke through for a pair of unearned runs in the top of the fifth, but Kayla McConnell came on in relief and, with two runners in scoring position, got Kaitlin Goulart to line out to right to end the inning. Chico State essentially put the game away in the bottom of the fifth, scoring on a throwing error before McEnaney doubled to straightaway center field, plating Failla and Kelli Keefe to make it an 8-2 contest.
The Wildcats finished the day’s scoring in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Payan’s line single to right field brought home Quadt. McConnell retired Stanislaus in order in the top of the seventh to secure the 9-2 win and doubleheader split. McDermott (4-1) got credit for the win, with McConnell picking up her second save of the season. Warriors’ starter Natalie Rendon took the loss to fall to 2-7 on the year.