|Spartans Power Past Saint Mary’s, Idaho State|
San Jose, Calif. - Eight extra-base hits and 19 runs powered San Jose State University past Saint Mary's (CA), 10-2, and Idaho State, 9-1, in the final day of the Santa Clara Bronco Invitationalsoftball tournament at SJSU Field.
The Spartans, winners of their last five games, swept the tournament after wins on February 22, against Fresno State and CSU Northridge.
It was the first time since 2010 that San Jose State won back-to-back games in five innings (Feb. 27 against Northern Colorado and February 28 against Weber State).
"It is seldom that you get all three facets of the game (pitching, hitting and defense) played that well," head coach Peter Turner said. "We made double plays, got out of tough innings, and never let either team get ignited."
Against Saint Mary's (1-7), the Spartans' two-out rally in the second inning set the day's tone. After a pop up and a strike out, Michelle Cox got things started with a single to left field that drove in Jessica Garcia and Devin Caldwell. After both Markesha Collins and Vanessa House walked, the bases were loaded. Cheryl Freitas's double down the left field line cleared the bases. Jessie Hufstetler matched Freitas's two-base hit with one of her own to plate Freitas and give San Jose State the 6-0 lead.
San Jose State did not slow down in the next inning. Casey Watt's first career hit was good for two bases and brought in Devin Caldwell. After Cox walked, House's single to left field allowed Watt and BranDee Garcia to score.
The Spartans continued to show its resolve under pressure in the fourth. With two outs, Marissa Toy, pinch running for Annica Wolfe, scored on a throwing error by the Gaels' shortstop for the final 10-2 score.
Amanda Pridmore (5-5) had her second double-digit strike out performance of the season with 10. In her two games pitched in the Invitational, she did not give up any extra base hits, the first time she has done so in back-to-back complete games this season.
In the Spartans' afternoon matinee, the Idaho State Bengals (5-7) had an early 1-0 lead. Katelyn Marquez led off the game with a single to right field. After stealing second, Hailey Breakwell's double to left field drove Marquez in.
But the Spartans knotted the score in the bottom of the inning. House knocked her first of three extra base hits, a double up the middle, to plate Cox from second after a bunt and a steal.
Said House, "Idaho State is a good hitting team and if we did not continue to score, they probably would have won."
San Jose State continued its trend of timely hits with its second two-out, second inning rally in two games. After a fly out and ground out, BranDee Garcia's single up the middle brought Jessica Garcia in. Caldwell and Cox followed the hit with singles of their own to clog the bases. They would not stay that way for long as House, in her second at bat of the day, blasted a triple down the right field line for the three RBI. After House scored on a wild pitch, Freitas singled up the middle, which Hufstetler followed with a double to center field. A throwing error by the Bengals' right fielder gave Freitas the time she needed to score for the six-run differential after two.
Back-to-back fly outs in the fifth provided San Jose State's third two-out rally of the day. Jessica Garcia, on base after a walk, scored when Caldwell reached on a fielding error. With the score 8-1 in the Spartans' favor, Cox came through with a one-run double to left center to end the game.
In her first-career win, Jordan Sauceda allowed five hits with one strike out.
"Today, we came out and did what we had to do," said House. "This gives us a lot of confidence. We know we can beat a lot of teams in five innings, but it all depends on how we want to play."
House explained her stellar 4-for-6, six-RBI day. "I went up there, just swinging the bat," she said. "Yesterday, I did not do so well. It is my last year so I told myself that I needed to go up there and hack it, and that is what I did. My dad taught me that if I like the pitch, I should swing and that is what I am going to do from now on."
The Spartans' perfect 4-0 record at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational was a change from its 1-4 run at last weekend's (Feb. 15-17) Easton Desert Classic. Said Turner, "I think going through some of the lumps last weekend paid dividends. It made those losses worth it."
San Jose State hosts St. John’s (N.Y.), February 24, in an 11:00 a.m. doubleheader. The team then heads to Stockton, Calif., on Friday, March 1, for the Libby Matson Tournament, hosted by the University of the Pacific, where they will face Nevada, Southern Utah and Pacific.