Garcia's Grand Slam Leads Spartans To 5-4 Win Over North Carolina

Devin Caldwell batted a team-best .500 (7-for-14) with three runs scored and an RBI.

Feb. 23, 2014

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Honolulu, Hawai'i - Jessica Garcia bombed her second grand slam of the weekend, leading the San José State University softball team to a come-from-behind 5-4 win over North Carolina in the Bank of Hawai'i Invitational championship game, hosted by Hawai'i, on February 23.

"This weekend, we won some close games and good teams win close games," head coach Peter Turner said.  "I was proud of how our team responded after losing five. It was a good maturation process for us. Our goal won't change; every weekend, we want to win more games than we lose and because we did that, I was happy."

San José State (10-5) entered the bottom of the sixth trailing the Tar Heels (6-7), 3-1. Jessie Hufstetler drew a bases-loading walk after Devin Caldwell reached on a North Carolina error and Michelle Cox reached on a fielder's choice play. Jessica Garcia, who grand slammed in the Spartans' opening game of the Bank of Hawai'i Invitational against the Rainbow Wahine on February 20, got the big hit the Spartans needed. She belted the second grand slam of her career, and of the weekend, for the 5-3 lead.

"I can't think of a time in my entire career as either a coach or player that I've seen someone hit two grand slams in a weekend," Turner said. "It's certainly an anomaly."

Katelyn Linford (2-2) earned the win for the Spartans. In 5.0 innings of work, she scattered five hits and allowed three earned runs, walking and striking out one batter each. Allison Lang earned her second save of the season, allowing three hits and one earned run in two innings. Lauren Batten suffered the loss for North Carolina, allowing three runs in 1.2 hitless innings.

"Linford had an excellent outing," Turner said. "I'm really proud of our entire pitching staff. They responded nicely and threw up zeros, allowing us to stay in some close games."

In the tournament, the Spartans' pitching staff performed well, posting a 3.37 ERA with 12 strikeouts, scattering 24 hits in 27 innings of work.

At the plate, Caldwell batted a team-best .500 (7-for-14) with three runs scored and an RBI. Garcia recorded a .857 slugging percentage with her two grand slams and nine RBI.

The Spartans travel to the Libby Matson Tournament, hosted by Pacific, on Friday, February 28, to face UTEP, Washington and CSU Bakersfield.