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SOFTBALL SET FOR HUGE 3-GAME SERIES AT WEBER STATE

SOFTBALL SET FOR HUGE 3-GAME SERIES AT WEBER STATE

Full set of game notes (pdf)

SERIES PREVIEW

• Fresh off a three-game sweep of Montana, Sacramento State (25-20, 9-3) gets set for its biggest Big Sky Conference series of the season at Weber State (32-10, 10-1).
• With just six games remaining in the regular season, the Big Sky's top two teams will square off in a three-game series in Ogden, Utah. That includes a Friday doubleheader at 1 p.m. PDT, followed by a single game on Saturday at 11 a.m. PDT.
• All three games will be streamed live on ESPN+.
• Sacramento State trails Weber State by 1.5 games in the conference standings. The Wildcats have played one less conference game than the Hornets because of a rainout against Montana.
• The Wildcats have won at least a share of the Big Sky regular season championship five consecutive years, and are looking to make it six straight.
• In reality, the winner of this series will have the upper hand at winning the regular season title. Weber State would clinch with a sweep, or take a commanding 2.5 game lead with three games to play should it take two of three.
• Should Sacramento State take two of three, it would still remain a half game back in the conference standings, but would be set up well to win the title. That's because the Hornets close the season with three home games against winless Southern Utah while Weber State has to go on the road for three games at third place Portland State.
• The Hornets have won five straight conference games, which includes its three-game home sweep of Montana (9-1/2-1/1-0) last week.
• Weber State, meanwhile, has won 10 of its last 11 conference games, and won its first nine games of the year until last Friday's 7-4 loss at Northern Colorado.
• The Hornets are 11-14 all-time against Weber State, and has dropped five straight in the series. Sacramento State has not defeated the Wildcats since taking two of three in Ogden on March 30-31, 2018. That series victory allowed the Hornets to gain the tiebreaker with Weber State (both teams finished in a tie for first place) and assume the No. 1 seed at the 2018 Big Sky Tournament, a postseason event Sacramento State eventually won.
• The Wildcats are 7-1 at home, and rank 59th in the nation (among 301 NCAA Div. I schools) in the latest NCAA RPI report.
• Sacramento State ranks 125th in the RPI report, and is 9-8 on the road. The Hornets are 4-2 on the road against conference opposition, and have won all four Big Sky series they have played (2-1 at Idaho State, 2-1 vs. Portland State, 2-1 at Northern Colorado, 3-0 vs. Montana).
• Its no secret how the Hornets have won games this season. Marissa Bertuccio has been very reliable in the circle, and Sacramento State provides a whole lot of power offensively.
• Bertuccio has been incredible this season, posting a 17-7 record and 1.97 ERA. She has already been named Big Sky Pitcher of the Week four times (including Tuesday of this week), and is 6-2 with a 1.20 ERA in league play. In fact, Big Sky teams hit just .193 when she is in the circle. In conference play, she leads the league in ERA, wins, complete games (7) and shutouts (4).
• Sacramento State has already set a program record with a Big Sky-best 47 home runs this season. That includes two of the top three powers hitters in the conference in Lexie Webb (1st with 16 homers) and Lewa Day (3rd with 12 homers). Webb is 14th in the nation in homers.
• The Hornets have homered in 31 game this season, and are 20-11 in those contests.
• True freshman shortstop Nikki Barboza continues to lead the Hornets in hitting against conference opposition with a .464 batting average, a mark which ranks fifth in the Big Sky. She has hit safely in seven of the last eight conference games, including four multiple-hit efforts.
• The Hornets are hitting .315 in pinch-hitting roles this season. Caroline Evans is batting .455 (5-for-11) with a .538 on-base percentage and eight RBIs as a pinch hitter, while Milan Machado-Buckley is batting .389 (7-for-18) with a .421 on-base percentage and six RBIs as a pinch hitter.