Tempe, Ariz. – The San José State softball team took leads into the bottom of the seventh inning in both of its games on the first day of the Kajikawa Classic. But after the final out, came away with just one win. They defeated the BYU Cougars 9-8 in the evening after losing 6-5 to the Ole Miss Rebels earlier in the day.
“One and one is where we deserve to be after today’s games,” said head coach Peter Turner. “We performed poorly in two areas, defense and pitching. I was pleased with the way we hit, but in order to get where we want to go we have to clean things up, now.”
The Spartans took a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh against Ole Miss., but they had a chance, earlier in the game, to blow it open.
San José State loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the second. Taylor Purdy led off with a single, moved to second and then third on successive balks. Back-to-back walks to Casey Watt and Anissa Pinedo loaded them up, but the next three batters, Emma Entzminger, Nicole Schulz and Jessica Madrid, failed to get the ball past the pitcher and Ole Miss escaped the threat unharmed.
In the third Michelle Cox singled up the middle to lead off the second straight inning with a hit. This time the Spartans made it pay off. Cox stole second and reached third on a Jessie Hufstetler ground out. Ole Miss starter Emily Gaitan, feeling the pressure after balking twice in the previous inning, uncorked a wild pitch, which allowed Cox to score and gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead.
The advantage was short lived. In the bottom of the third, Ole Miss got a double, stolen base and a triple to tie the game up. They then got a bunt single to bring a run home from third and took a 2-1 lead. Two batters later a sacrifice fly to center brought in the Rebels third run of the inning.
In the fourth the Spartans put up a four-spot to take a 5-3 lead. Entzminger got a one out single followed by a Schultz RBI double, which she ripped down the left field line, bringing Entzminger all the way around to score. Three batters later, with the bases loaded and two outs, Sharon-Renae Estrada reached on an error by the Rebels’ shortstop, which allowed two unearned runs to score. Purdy, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the game, then singled in the fourth run of the inning.
Allison Lang, SJSU’s starter, set down the first two batters in the bottom half of the frame, but a fielding error by Purdy allowed Grayce Majam to reach base and a double by the next batter brought Majam home cutting the Spartans’ lead to 5-4 after four innings.
In the fifth, Lang was lifted in favor of Katelyn Linford. Linford worked her way around singles in each of the fifth and sixth innings, but in the seventh Ole Miss scored twice. Linford retired the first batter then gave up successive singles and a walk to load the bases. Back-to-back singles pushed two runs across and sent the Spartans to a 6-5 loss.
In the top of the first against BYU, the Spartans got a bases loaded two-RBI single from Alyssa Martinez and two batters later Purdy worked the BYU pitcher for a walk to drive in the third run of the inning.
Madison Fish, in the circle for the Spartans, surrendered single runs in the second and third innings and then gave up a solo shot in a two-run fourth. After four complete BYU had taken a 4-3 lead.
In the Spartan fifth, Jessica Madrid singled in a run with one-out and runners on second and third. Two batters later, Hufstetler was walked with the bases loaded. San Jose State had the lead back at 5-4.
SJSU added four more in the sixth. Casey Watt got a one-out RBI single. Two batters later, BYU walked Cox to get to Hufstetler. Hufstetler, who batted .441 last year, smoked a double to left center plating two more runs and increasing the Spartans lead to 8-4. Estrada then singled in the last run of the frame. BYU got one back in the bottom of the inning to make the score 9-5 heading to the seventh.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, a three run bomb ended Fish’s outing. She gave up eight runs, all earned, on six hits and seven walks, while striking out five in earning the win. Lang came in and induced a groundout to end the game and notched her first save of the year.
In the two games, Purdy went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI. Hufstetler was 2-for-3 with 3 RBI, 2 runs and 5 walks. Cox scored four runs, was 4-for-7 with the bat and was 2-for-2 in stolen bases. Entzminger and Watt each scored three times and Martinez drive in two.
The Spartans play a single game on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. against Seattle.