Feb. 8, 2014
Tempe, Ariz. - The San Jose State University softball team secured both of its wins during the third day of the Kajikawa Classic, hosted by Arizona State, in dramatic fashion, beating Cal Poly, 6-5, in eight innings and producing a come-from-behind 10-7 victory against Indiana on February 8.
The Spartans have opened the season 5-0 for the first time since 1991 when the team began its campaign with a 10-game winning streak.
“In both games today,” Head Coach Peter Turner said, “not a soul panicked. We pride ourselves on being a smart and intelligent team so the few times we lost composure, we got back on track.”
In the Spartans’ first game of the day, against Cal Poly (1-2), the game was forced into extra innings. Tied 3-3 after seven, Kryn Masutani’s eighth-inning home run drove in Alyssa Martinez and Jessie Hufstetler for the 6-3 lead.
“We were down to our last out when Kryn hit her first pitch and it pulled down left field line,” Turner said of Masutani’s home run. “We needed that as a team. I was proud of the way that she, and the team, responded throughout the game.”
With the international tie breaker in effect, the Mustangs scored back-to-back runs to put them within one, but were unable to match San Jose State’s three-run inning for the final 6-5 score.
Allison Lang (2-0) secured the win, striking out two batters and allowing seven hits in six innings. Chloe Wurst suffered the complete game loss for Cal Poly, giving up seven hits and striking out one batter.
San Jose State opened scoring in the first inning again in its second game, against Indiana (1-3). Casey Watt sent the ball sailing down the right field line for a triple that scored Sharon-Renae Estrada, Hufstetler and Devin Caldwell, giving the Spartans a 3-1 lead.
“Casey Watt has a swagger about her that she didn’t have last year,” Turner said of the sophomore. “She had a great spring training and has earned the right to stay in the lineup. She's lightning in a bottle at 5-foot-3. She hits the ball hard and she's fast.”
But the Hoosiers responded with three runs of its own in the second inning for the 4-3 score. They built on their lead in the third, collecting two RBI-singles to lead 6-3.
The Spartans, however, were ready for battle. Down 6-4 in the fifth inning, hard-hit singles by Masutani and Brittanie Akey plated three runners and the team wrestled the 7-6 lead from Indiana.
After Hoosier Kassi Farmer homered to knot the game, 7-7, the Spartans continued their attack in the bottom of the sixth. Jessica Garcia blasted a two-run homer to right center, which Sharon-Renae Estrada followed with a solo-shot of her own for the final 10-7 score.
“I had a feeling Garcia would square up on the ball,” said Turner. “Hufstetler, Garcia and Estrada are seeing the ball extremely well and I thought they were our best three chances to win the game.”
In 4.1 innings pitched, Madison Fish (1-0) struck out three and allowed five hits. Lang earned the save, allowing one hit in her lone inning in the circle. In 1.1 innings of relief for Indiana, Meaghan Murphy (0-1) allowed two hits and three runs, striking out one.
Turner relayed why he believes the 2014 Spartans remain calm under pressure. “I think it has a lot to do with how the team performed last year. The new players gravitate towards the returners’ emotional stability. Winning breeds winning, and I attribute that attitude to the come-from-behind wins last year’s team produced.”
In the third day of the Kajikawa Classic, Hufstetler went 4-for-6 with a home run, scoring four runs and driving in two. Sharon-Renae Estrada also batted 4-for-6 with a home run. She collected two RBI and scored two runs.
San Jose State closes the Kajikawa Classic on February 9 with a 10:00 a.m. (MT) game against Bradley.