SACRAMENTO -- Senior right-hander Celina Matthias combined to strike out 17 batters, including 14 in a first-game shutout, as Sacramento State swept a doubleheader over Wagner on Tuesday at Shea Stadium. The Hornets won the first game, 6-0, before taking the nightcap by a 5-3 score.
After Matthias struck out a career-high 14 batters while tossing a two-hit shutout in the first game, she came back later to notch the save in Game 2 by striking out three batters in the seventh inning. The 14 strikeouts in the first game were the most by a Hornet in a single game since Cassie Cervantes struck out 14 vs. Seton Hall on Feb. 16, 2007. For the day, Matthias combined to pitch eight innings, allowing just two hits with one walk and 17 strikeouts. This season, she is now 5-2 with a 1.30 ERA, which includes nine walks and 54 strikeouts over 48.1 innings.
Sacramento State, which was playing for the first time since a doubleheader split vs. Stanford on Feb. 22, improved to 6-7 with the victories. The Hornets do not play again at home until opening a three-game home series vs. Portland State on April 6. Wagner dropped to 2-7 with the losses.
Offensively, leadoff hitter Nene Alas had multiple hits in both games, and finished the day 4-for-7 with three runs, a walk, two stolen bases, a double, triple and a pair of RBIs. Alexxiss Diaz was 3-for-6 and Sydnee Strong hit her first career home run.
Matthias was sensational, tossing a two-hit shutout with just one walk and the 14 strikeouts. She threw 113 pitches (79 strikes), and faced three batters over the minimum. Matthias had eight strikeouts through the first three innings, and at one point between the first and third frames, had struck out seven consecutive batters.
She concluded all seven innings with a strikeout, and struck out every player in the Wagner lineup except leadoff hitter Karen Prihoda. Matthias has now thrown 14 consecutive shutout innings (her last outing was a shutout of Stanford).
While Matthias (5-2) was putting up zeros, Sacramento State scored once in the second inning, two more in the fourth and three in the fifth. The Hornets had nine hits off Wagner starter Morgan Brown (0-4), including two each from Alas, Diaz and Strong. It was Strong that got the scoring started in the second inning after crushing a no doubter over the left field wall for her first career home run.
In the fourth inning, a two-out, two-run triple from Jessica Scott allowed both Strong and pinch runner Jaciana Vasquez to score. Sacramento State took a commanding 6-0 lead with three fifth-inning runs that included a two-run single from Sydney Rasmussen and an RBI-grounder from Strong scoring Mo Spieth.
Alas finished the game 2-for-4 with a run, Diaz was 2-for-3 and Strong was 2-for-3 with a homer, two runs scored and two RBIs. Spieth walked in two of her three plate appearances.
The Hornet offense put up five runs and eight hits, right-hander Savanna Corr (1-4) worked six strong innings, and Matthias worked the seventh for the save. At one point, Corr, who struck out a career-high seven batters, retired 11 in a row between the first and fourth innings.
The Hornets manufactured a run in the first inning after Alas walked to lead off the frame, stole second, was sacrificed to third by Zamari Hinton, and scored on Suzy Brookshire's perfectly executed squeeze bunt. Sacramento State tacked on another in the second when Diaz lined an RBI-single to right which scored Rasmussen.
That 2-0 lead held until Wagner broke through for three runs and four hits in the fifth inning. They also used a Hornet error to their advantage as the third run of the frame was unearned. However, Sacramento State immediatley bounced back with two in the bottom half of the inning. Back-to-back doubles from Marissa Maligad and Alas started the inning, and Alas would eventually score from third on an RBI-single from Hinton.
Sacramento State tacked on an insurance run in the sixth after Alas' two-out triple scored Charizma Guzman from third base. Matthias made the lead stick in the seventh after striking out three batters.
Arielle Koerber (2-2) got the loss for Wagner, allowing eight hits and five runs (three earned) with one strikeout in six innings. Corr pitched six innings, allowing five hits, three runs (two earned), two walks and seven strikeouts.
Alas (2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs) and Maligad (2-for-3 with one run) had multiple-hit games.
Sacramento State will now travel to Alubquerque to take part in the New Mexico Lobo Classic on Friday-Sunday of this week. The Hornets will play five games over three days, including two games against Howard, two against New Mexico, and one vs. Saint Mary's. The Hornets open play Friday at 2:30 p.m. vs. Howard.