San Jose, Calif. – Preseason camp is complete and the roster has been set. Now all the 2015 San José State softball team needs is opponents to get the season started and this weekend they get just that.
The Spartans open their 2015 campaign at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., on Thursday, February 5. The team will play a total of six games over four days starting on Thursday with games against, Ole Miss at 3:30 p.m. and then BYU at 7:00 p.m.
Ole Miss finished last season 22-31, 3-21 in the SEC. The Rebels lost their top hitter (RT Cantillo - .424) and run producer (Londen Ladner – 34 RBI) as well as Carly Hummel who won 10 games in the circle.
BYU won the West Coast Conference title in 2014 with a 12-2 conference mark and an overall record of 34-23. They return their top-six hitters led by Sydney Broderick (.360 avg.) and McKenzie St. Clair (.350 avg.), however they lost their top run producer in Katie Manuma (51 RBI). McKenna Bull returns as the Cougars most seasoned pitcher. She was 16-9 last season with a 3.15 ERA in 173.1 innings.
The next day, Friday, February 6, the Spartans have just one game, against Seattle at 1:30 p.m. The Redhawks were 6-9 in Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play last season and 18-34 overall. Their top hitter is back, Isabell Geronimo who batted .385 last year, as is Lisa Maulden (.359 avg.). Seattle also returns their top pitcher, Lindsay Davis who was 8-9 with a 3.52 ERA in 30 appearances in 2014.
On Saturday, San José State plays a pair of games. They lead off against Utah Valley at 4:00 p.m. and then face Portland State at 6:15 p.m.
Utah Valley, also a member of the WAC, was 18-42 overall last season and 5-9 in conference action. Brianna Gatlin, their top hitter from 2014 is back (.293 avg.). Kelsey Lawton who took the ball 24 times last year, returns at the team’s top pitcher with a 2-4 record and a 7.99 ERA.
Portland State was 8-36 last season and 3-14 in the Big Sky Conference. Brittany Hendrickson, who led the team with a .338 average returns as does Karyn Wright who posted a team best 6.83 ERA in 36 appearances in 2014.
The weekend wraps up against UC Riverside on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1:30 p.m. The Highlanders were 4-17 in Big West play a year ago and completed their season 23-31 overall. Natalie Sanchez (.307 avg.) is the only returner who hit above .300. Alyssa Razo was in the circle 40 times totaling 181.2 innings. She compiled a 13-17 record with a 3.35 ERA.