Feb. 15, 2014
Tempe, Ariz. – Errors plagued the San José State University softball team in its final day of the Littlewood Tournament, hosted by Arizona State, and the Spartans dropped both of its games, 11-3 in five innings to Illinois State, and lost 7-4 to No. 5/5 Arizona State, on Saturday.
The Spartans (7-3) posted a 1-3 record at the tournament.
“We played well enough to win in only one of the four games this weekend,” head coach Peter Turner said. “We made crucial mistakes on the things we work on constantly.”
In the day’s first matchup, against Illinois State (2-5), the Spartans scored the game’s first runs in the third inning. Alyssa Martinez hit the ball hard to right field, scoring Casey Watt. Two batters later, Jessica Garcia got an RBI-double, scoring Nicole Schultz for the 2-0 lead.
But San José State’s lead didn’t last long. Illinois State scored five runs off of as many hits and one Spartan error for the 5-2 advantage.
The Redbirds built upon their lead in their next at-bat, capitalizing on San José State’s mistakes in the fourth inning. Two Spartan errors allowed three runners to score, and the pitching staff walked in two runs for the 10-2 lead.
Jessie Meyer’s solo homer in the fifth kept the Spartans’ hopes alive, but an error by Marissa Toy at second base allowed Laura Canopy to get the final 11-3 score.
Katelyn Linford’s record fell to 1-1 for the Spartans. She allowed 10 runs on as many hits with three strikeouts. Illinois State’s Regan Romshek (1-3) scattered six hits and faced just three batters over the minimum with four strikeouts.
Against No. 5/5 Arizona State (11-0), the Spartans faced a 7-0 deficit at the top of the sixth. But Meyer, ] Schultz and Toy were able to score in back-to-back at bats off of fielder’s choice plays.
San José State added a fourth run in the seventh. With two outs and the bases loaded, Brittanie Akey singled up the middle, plating Garcia for the final 7-4 score.
Allison Lang suffered her first loss of the season (5-1) after she scattered eight hits and allowed two earned runs with four strikeouts in 4.1 innings. In relief, Berlyn Rippentrop pitched 1.2 no-hit innings and retired all five batters faced.
Mackenzie Popescue (6-0) earned the complete-game win for the Sun Devils, scattering 10 hits and striking out three batters.
During the tournament, Rippentrop pitched three one-hit innings in relief, facing just two batters over the minimum. “Berlyn has earned the right to move up in rotation,” Turner said. “She found ways to get outs and as we look forward, she will get some starts based on her performance.”
Lang posted a 1.85 ERA in 11.1 innings pitched, fanning eight batters.
Schultz was the Spartans’ top hitter at the Littlewood Tournament, batting .417 (5-for-12) and scoring three runs in the four games. Jessie Meyer went 3-for-9 with one home run and an RBI.
San José State heads to the Bank of Hawai’i Invitational on Thursday, February 20, to face hosts Hawai’i, North Carolina and Saint Mary’s.
Said Turner, “In practice, we need to focus on doing what we’re trained to do. We need to work on implementing skills and executing better, and take our 7:30 a.m. practices into our 7:00 p.m. games.”