The SF State softball team snapped a four-game losing streak after sweeping the Cal State Stanislaus Warriors in the doubleheader Tuesday. The Gators managed to grab the win with clutch-hitting in the waning moments of both games.
Early errors in game one resulted in two runs for the Warriors in the first inning. However, the lead didn’t last long; a home run by Courtney Gravel brought in two runners to give the Gators a 3-2 lead.
The Warriors struck back in the third inning with a home run from Sarah Locarnini to tie the game. After an impressive offensive show from the Warriors early on, the Gators managed to hold them scoreless in four straight innings. The game remained tied, as the Gators offense also stalled after exploding in the first inning.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the scoring drought came to an end after a walkoff home run by pinch hitter Kelly Mast gave the Gators a slim victory over the Warriors to finish the first game 4-3.
“I just wanted to get a hit, I wasn’t trying to get a home run,” Mast said. “But as soon as I hit it I knew it was gone. It was bomb, I don’t hit that many home runs and that was the first walkoff I’ve ever hit. [It’s] a lot of pressure for myself, but I just try to keep getting hits.”
Mast’s second home run of the season came in at the most critical time of the game to lift the Gators past the Warriors.
“(Mast) is probably the best pinch hitter that we have,” said head coach Cristina Byrne. “She comes up clutch all the time the last two years. She’s been in that role and she loves that role.”
After beating the Warriors in dramatic fashion in game one, the victorious momentum continued for the Gators.
Becky Nakono managed game two with smart pitching to hold the Warriors scoreless in their final matchup of the season.
“(Nakono) did a great job. The one thing we’ve been struggling with is keeping the ball in the ballpark, and walks,” Byrne said. “Those have been two huge points that have been part of our demise. Nakono mixed pitches well, I think she mixed spots well and she did enough to give us the opportunity to win.”
Pitching from Nakono kept the Gators afloat, but the offense failed to produce for six innings. It wasn’t until a sacrifice fly from Lucy Fernandez brought in Kelsey Murakami to give the Gators a 1-0 victory.
“I haven’t been hitting that great lately,” Fernandez said. “But in that moment it was the end of the game, there was a runner in scoring position and all I wanted to do was score her no matter what.”