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BELMONT – It wasn’t a complete smooth going, but the outcome could not have been better. Humboldt State started the inaugural campaign under new head coach Shelli Sarchett with a season opening sweep.
The Lumberjacks need a game-tying two-run Tiffany Hollingsworth home run and two more eighth innings tallies to take the opener, 4-3, from the Argonauts of Notre Dame de Namur. HSU did not let the late game to chance with three early scores on the way to a 5-1 victory to complete the sweep in the first two career head coaching games for Sarchett.
“It was great, but nerve-wracking. The girls wanted to win today not only for me, but for Humboldt State and the program,” said the winning coach of her first official games at the helm. “The girls made my first win very interesting. It is great to see how the girls go out every day, work hard and apply all that we teach them.”
The Jacks (2-0) made the first game more interesting than they had to make it. The No. 4-rated club left 10 runners on base over the first six turns at bat and trailed 2-0.
Following a Hannah Williams one out single, Hollingsworth made her first collegiate game as memorable for herself as it was for her head coach. The freshman second baseman slugged a two-run home run to tie, 2-2, and send the game to extra frames. In the eighth, HSU plated two more runs including Tonya Walker’s run-scoring triple. The home team could manage only one score in the home part of the inning for the 4-3 final.
“It was a good way to start the season. The first game really showed the character of the team being down. For a freshman to step up with a big hit and to score two in the eighth, it really warms your heart to start (the season) that way,” added Sarchett.
As a team, HSU’s offense showed the beginnings of what it accomplished last spring. The club pounded out 17 hits, six extra base hits and three home runs for the day while drawing 14 walks.
Hollingsworth accounted for three of the HSU hits in seven at bats including the two-run home run and a double in game one. She added a third RBI with a game two sacrifice fly.
Walker proved to like her new leadoff spot with a five for six day, three walks and two stolen bases. The senior went four for five with the extra frame triple in the first contest, before a single and three free passes in the second game.
Andrea Chavez belted a solo shot and Julie Pena a two-run homer and run-producing single in the second game.
Sarah Fox had the other extra base hit with a game one double of her two hits and Alison McKibbon singled in each game.
In the circle, Katie Obbema picked up her first win covering the eight innings of the opener with three strikeouts.
Madison Williams had a solid pitching debut by allowing only three hits and one run over six innings for the game two win. Liz Perez finished the game with a scoreless seventh as she fanned one.
Beginning the late game, Walker walked, sacrificed to second and scored on a Pena single for a 1-0 lead.
Pena blasted her two-run home run in the top of the third to score Hannah Williams for a 3-0 score.
Chavez connected for a solo homer and Hollingsworth completed the day’s scoring with a sac fly in the top of the sixth in 5-1 victory.
“In the first game, we were anxious and overly excited, but they came through when it counted,” pointed out Sarchett. “Things came a little easier for them in the second game as we jumped right on top and firing right off the bat.”
The Jacks will try to keep their first-year head coach winning with the next set of games on Wednesday. HSU will face Academy of Art in a noon doubleheader.
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