Weber State University advanced to the Big Sky Conference Championship after beating Sacramento State University 9–0 on May 12.
“This is exactly what we prepared for our whole season,” Wildcat pitcher Mariah Ramirez said. “I’m just so proud of this team.”
A battle between the 2021 and 2022 Big Sky pitchers of the year ensued as both Ramirez and Sacramento State’s Marissa Bertuccio held the game scoreless at the start.
Hornets Lewa Day and Alexis Parish were left stranded at the end of their half of the first inning. Ramirez didn’t let another player on base for the rest of the game, pitching perfectly after the first inning.
“I just treat it as any other game,” Ramirez said. “It’s the key to pitching for me. It’s just making sure I trust myself and I trust my team that they’re going to be behind me.”
Despite not reaching base in the first inning, the Wildcats took the lead in the second. Outfielder Marissa Cerda was brought in as a pinch runner for infielder McKell McCuistion, who singled to right field. Catcher Lauren Hoe stepped up to the plate next, also singling.
Cerda was brought home by Katelyn Whiting’s single while a sacrificial fly from infielder Makayla Donahoo brought Lauren Hoe home. Weber State led 2–0 coming into the third inning.
After grounding out during her first at bat, infielder Faith Hoe homered to right field to start off the Wildcat’s half of the third inning. Pitcher Arissa Henderson, outfielder Chloe Camarero and McCuistion followed up the homer by all getting on base. As Weber State extended their lead to 5–0, the Hornets brought in Kelsey Alcantara to replace Bertuccio.
After the pitching change, infielder Emily Ruhl grounded out to second base, which allowed McCuistion to score. A Whiting single then brought Lauren Hoe home.
With Donahoo on second base and Whiting on third, outfielder Mia Rushton doubled to left field, allowing Whiting to secure the team’s 8th point, giving Weber State the opportunity to run-rule the Hornets. A sacrificial fly by Faith Hoe brought Donahoo home for the last points of the inning.
Neither team scored during the rest of the game as Ramirez struck out Sacramento State’s Caroline Evans swinging during the fifth inning for the final play of the game.
After losing in the first round of the tournament during the 2021 season, the Wildcats have reached the Big Sky conference championship, playing only 10-innings.
“It’s very special,” Weber State’s coach Mary Kay Amicone said. “It’s [losing in the first round] a pain that drives you, and they experienced a pain.”
The Wildcats’ opponent for the championship match has not been determined. Weber State will play at Wildcat Softball Field on May 14 at 12 p.m.