March 30, 2011
Contact: Brian McCann
TOLEDO, Ohio - Jessica Burt hit a school-record four home runs in a doubleheader and drove in nine runs, including a school-record seven in the nightcap, to power Cleveland State to a doubleheader sweep of Toledo, 8-0 and 11-2 in five innings on Wednesday at Toledo's Scott Park.
Burt, a senior from LaGrange, Ohio, had a pair of solo home runs in the first game and added a grand slam and two run shot in the nightcap to become the first Viking to hit four home runs in a doubleheader in school history. Her two home runs in each game are the 12th and 13th time in the program's history that a player tied the single game mark with two home runs in a game.
The wins extended CSU's season-best win streak to five straight, improving the Vikings to 17-10 on the year while Toledo slipped to 4-19.
"Jessica was absolutely unconscious at the plate today," CSU head coach Angie Nicholson said. "She started to show some power when she hit a grand slam in the final game of the Wright State series over the weekend, but she was zeroed in on everything Toledo threw today and hit the ball hard.
"That's exactly what we needed. We finally put it together and had the kind of performance that this team is capable of. It wasn't a great day weather-wise, but we were aggressive at the plate and really took it to them offensively."
"This team has the ability to score six to eight runs a game with a dozen or more hits when we are playing well and it is a good sign that we have hit the ball well now in four straight games."
The opener was a slugfest for the Vikings as CSU tied the school record for home runs (4) and total bases (28) in a game. The performance equaled the record for homers set last season against Youngstown State while the standard for total bases came last season in a win over St. Peter's.
After scoring a season high 11 runs in the win over IUPUI on Tuesday, CSU added its second-highest run total this year in the first game while setting a season high with 14 hits.
The Vikings jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the opener when Jessica Burt belted a leadoff home run.
"JB (Burt) really started the game out right for us," Nicholson said. "She has been hitting with power as of late and she jumped all over the pitch and drove it out to left center. It just kind of ignited everybody on the bench."
Toledo appeared to get a rally going in the bottom of the fourth when Erinn Wright singled to open the frame and Lyndsay Tobias ripped a line drive down the right field line that Burt made diving catch on for the first out and then alertly threw to first to double Wright off base.
Burt was at it again in the fifth when she crushed a solo homer to left, her second of the game and fourth of the season, putting the Vikings ahead, 3-0.
Cleveland State took control of the contest in the sixth. Andrea Nagy belted a two-run homer to left with two outs to score Toman, who had singled to open the inning.
The Rockets went to their bullpen, replacing starter Jen Solanics with Shana Szypka and Ashlee Stolarski greeted the reliever with a single through the right side and Caila Ferro followed with an RBI double to right center to put the Vikings ahead, 6-0.
Sito helped her own cause, and in the process, helped the Vikings tie the school for home runs in a game, when she belted a solo homer to right center to lead off the seventh inning. Later in the frame, Nagy drove in CSU's eighth run of the game when she single to left field to score Toman, who had earlier singled.
Sito was spectacular in the circle, allowing just five hits and facing four batters over the minimum to record her sixth shutout of the season. She struck out 11 for her fourth double figure strikeout effort of the year.
The Vikings wasted little time in the nightcap, taking a 1-0 lead in the first when Toman doubled home Ciminelli, who had singled with two outs.
CSU added three runs in the second, the first on a bases loaded walk to Burt to score Nagy, who had doubled. Sito followed with a two-run single to score Stolarski and Ferro to make it a 4-0 game.
Cleveland State blew the game open with five runs in the third to open up a 9-0 lead.
The Vikings loaded the bases with one out on a walk to Gabby Gillilan and singles by Powell and Stolarskie. Ferro was safe on an error by the shortstop, allowing Gillilan to score, and Burt followed with a grand slam to left.
Toledo had its best chance to score in the bottom of the third when Becki Heimbigner, Courtney McCarthy and Wright each singled with one out to load the bases, but Tobias lined a shot down the third base line that Stolarski grabbed and easily stepped on third base to double up McCarthy to end the inning.
Burt finished off her record-setting performance with a two-run homer in the fifth that scored Sheppard and gave CSU an 11-0 lead. It gave the Viking senior her sixth homer of the season and fourth of the day.
The seven RBIs in the second game breaks the school record of six, which was accomplished five times in school history, including once each by teammates Megan Bashak, Sito and Toman. Burt now leads the team with six homers this year and shares the team lead with 19 RBI.
Sito was solid, throwing 11 of the 12 innings in the doubleheader to improve to 14-8 on the year. She gave way to Kala Allred in the fifth inning of the nightcap, who gave up a pair of unearned runs in the fifth to close out the win.
"Tess is really throwing well right now," Nicholson said. "Even though it was miserably cold , she was able to keep her focus and continually just mow down the batters. She got into trouble in the one inning, but that didn't prevent her from throwing hard and finding her locations."
Burt wasn't the only Viking hitting in the twinbill as Burt, Sito and Toman each had four hits in the games with Nagy and Ciminelli adding three hits each.
Cleveland State returns home to continue Horizon League play by hosting Green Bay in a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday (April 2) at Viking Field.