Wildcats come up short against Sonoma State

Pitcher Cheyenne Sandoval pitches Saturday against the Cal State Sonoma Seawolves. Photo credit: Grant Mahan

The Chico State softball team had a tough time hitting against one of the best pitchers in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, Sonoma State’s Amanda Llorena. Only one Wildcat was able to scratch the plate, losing both games of the twin bill to the Seawolves 4-0 and 9-1.

The Wildcats held a ceremony before the game to honor three seniors, Alex Molina, Kayla Barber and Scotie Walker. Molina got the start in the first game and ran into trouble in the top of the second inning, where Alison Strycula hit an RBI triple down the right field line.

“Yesterday we brought fight, brought some intent to our play,” Barber said. “And today we just kind of showed up.”

Holli Brown of Sonoma State then hit a sacrifice fly to score Strycula to move the score to 2-0. The Wildcats tried to claw back into the game in the bottom of the third with two on and one out, but got two fly balls to end the inning.

Llorena did not allow another baserunner the rest of the first game, striking out nine in the process to get the win.

“We left too many people on base today, so we have to be able to push those runs across the plate,” coach Angel Shamblin said. “When you have nine hits and you only score one run, that means we left a lot of people on base.”

In the second game of the doubleheader, it was more of the same from Sonoma State as Llorena started again. Cheyanne Sandoval got the start for the Wildcats and was roughed up for five runs.

One of the lone bright spots on Saturday for the ‘Cats was Alli Cook who was 4 for 6 on the day raising her batting average to a team-leading .372.

The Seawolves belted out 15 hits in the second of the doubleheader while scoring nine. The losses for the Wildcats put the team at 23-23 and 15-15 in conference play for a fifth place stalemate with Cal State San Bernardino. It also puts Sonoma State in sole possession of the fourth and final playoff spot in the CCAA.

Chico State will compete in their last series of the regular season this Friday at Cal State East Bay beginning at 1 p.m. in a big series that could decide what’s in store for the playoffs.

“The reality of it is,” Shamblin said. “We need to take it one day at a time, one pitch at a time and stay in the moment.”

Chance Keenan can be reached at [email protected] or @chancelikelance on Twitter.