Softball Opens Season Thursday At Kajikawa Classic

Senior Jessica Garcia and the Spartans will look to open the 2014 season with a bang at the Kajikawa Classic, hosted by Arizona State.

Feb. 6, 2014

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The Last Meeting
Cal State Northridge0
San Jose State5
February 22, 2013
San Jose, Calif.
The Last Meeting
Seattle University7
San Jose State10
April 6, 2013
San Jose, Calif.
The Last Meeting
San Jose State3
Cal Poly2
February 10, 2013
Tempe, Ariz.
San Jose, Calif. - The San José State University softball team opens the 2014 season at the Kajikawa Classic, hosted by Arizona State, on Thurs., Feb. 6 at 2:30 p.m. (MT) against Creighton. On Feb. 7, the Spartans face CSU Northridge and Seattle for a doubleheader beginning at 12:00 p.m. (MT) and have another doubleheader on Feb. 8 at 11:30 a.m. (MT), against Cal Poly and Indiana. The Spartans close the tournament against Bradley on Feb. 9 for a 10:00 a.m. (MT) game.

COVERAGE FOR THIS WEEK’S GAMES

Live coverage for this week’s games will be available for the Creighton game on Feb. 6 at 1:30 p.m. (PT) and the Indiana game on Feb. 8 at 1:00 p.m. (PT). To follow live stats, visit: www.sjsuspartans.com.

HEAD COACH Peter Turner CONFIDENT ABOUT 2014 CLUB

Following a historical 2013 campaign, San José State head coach Peter Turner is optimistic that this season’s club can build upon that success. “This blue-collar team has significant depth, and there is confidence in every player to be clutch in every situation,” Turner said.

Last season, the Spartans enjoyed Amanda Pridmore’s record-setting efforts in the circle, as she set single-season marks for wins and strikeouts, among others. Though the 2013 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Pitcher of the Year exhausted her eligibility, Turner is excited about this year’s pitching staff. “It will be a collaborative effort among the entire staff,” he said. “Each pitcher can perform well and has the skill to shine. This means that we have enough depth to replace someone if they get in to deep water.”

Turner is especially excited about the club’s infield. “This is one of our strongest suits,” he said. “They can execute plays and are extremely versatile. We brought in some exceptional athletes who can play any position.”

The Spartans are also strong at the plate, according to Turner. “We have a lot of depth in this area, which creates opportunities for every player. Everyone can be the next star at the plate.”

The 2013 WAC Coach of the Year summarized his thoughts on the 2014 Spartans:  ” This team is very cohesive and one of the most athletic clubs I’ve ever coached. We have significantly more depth than last season, and I am confident that we can duplicate, and even exceed, the success that we had last season.”

CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS

The Bluejays return 15 players from last season's squad that compiled a 29-18 overall record and won the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) regular season championship, Creighton’s first since 2009. 2013 All-MVC honorees will bolster the club’s inaugural Big East season: senior Becca Changstrom, sophomore Liz Dike and junior Blair Lowe. Changstrom, the 2013 MVC Pitcher of the Year and an NFCA Second Team All-Midwest Region honoree, posted a 1.70 ERA and 22-9 record. Head coach Brent Vigness and his staff won Coaching Staff of the Year. Vigness in his 21st season as Creighton’s head coach.

CSU NORTHRIDGE MATADORS

The Matadors enjoyed the sixth-best turnaround in Division I softball in 2013 with their 25-31 record, 15 more victories than 2012. The club also allowed the fewest home runs in the Big West. Three of the Matadors’ top-six batters return for the 2014 season, including Maylynn Mitchell. The sophomore received 2013 All-Big West Honorable Mention accolades after batting .280, the club’s third-best average. Tairia Flowers is in her fourth season as the Matadors’ head coach.

SEATTLE REDHAWKS

Seattle was picked to finish second in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Preseason Coaches’ Poll after posting a 20-33 overall record in 2013. Meanwhile, sophomore Isabella Geronimo and junior Bubba Morrow were selected to the Preseason All-WAC Team. Geronimo had the club’s best batting average (.323), and also led Seattle in runs (27), hits (52) and triples (3). Morrow’s .284 batting average was second-best on the Redhawks. In his 11th season is head coach Dan Powers.

CAL POLY MUSTANGS

Cal Poly returns three of its top athletes following a 19-34 overall, and 8-16 Big West, 2013 record. Junior Jillian Andersen earned Second Team Easton All-America and All-Big West honors after leading the Mustangs with a .325 batting average, .402 on-base percentage and 53 hits. Classmates Kim Westlund and Mariah Cochiolo received All-Big West Honorable Mention accolades. Westlund drove in a club-best 21 RBI, while Cochiolo enjoyed eight multi-hit games and, with Westlund, led the Mustangs with seven doubles. Jenny Condon is at the helm of the Mustangs’ program in her ninth season.

INDIANA HOOSIERS

Indiana will rely on its seven returning starters and three returning pitchers to improve from its 19-35 (3-19 Big Ten) 2013 record. Junior Brianna Meyer’s patience at the plate was key for the club last season, as she was 22nd among NCAA athletes with .740 walks per game. Junior Shannon Cawley drove in an Indiana-best 26 runs, rocketing three home runs and hitting .275. Senior Breanna Saucedo led the 2013 Hoosiers with a .524 batting average in six starts, scoring six runs and posting a .619 slugging percentage. Head coach Michelle Gardner in her sixth season.

BRADLEY BRAVES

Bradley was picked to finished seventh in the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Preseason Poll and earned three MVC Preseason All-Conference honors: seniors Bailiegh Basham, Brianne Joseph and Madeline Lynch-Crumrine. A 2013 Second Team All-MVC selection, Basham had the MVC’s second-highest .381 batting average, the highest for a Brave since 1999. Joseph led the Braves in hits (53), runs (28) and stolen bases (13). Lynch-Crumrine, who garnered Second Team All-MVC and First Team NFCA Mideast All-Region honors in 2013, led the team in nearly every pitching category, including a .308 ERA and 133 strikeouts. In her sixth season at the helm of Bradley’s program is Amy Hayes.  

SPARTANS PICKED TO FINISH TIED FOR FOURTH IN MOUNTAIN WEST

The San José State University softball team was picked to finish tied for fourth with Colorado State in the Mountain West, following a vote by the conference's softball coaches.

2013 Mountain West Conference champions San Diego State took the top spot with seven first-place votes. Fresno State, voted to a second-place finish, garnered two first-place votes.

The 2013 WAC Champion Spartans return eight letterwinners, including 2013 All-WAC honorees Michelle Cox (first team), Devin Caldwell (second team) and Jessie Hufstetler (All-Tournament Team). Five true freshmen and three sophomore transfers join the club for its inaugural Mountain West season.

The Spartans open the season on Thursday, February 6 at 2:30 p.m. (MT) against Creighton at the Kajikawa Classic.

Place

Team (1st place votes)

Points

1.

San Diego State (7)

63

2.

Fresno State (2)

56

3.

Boise State

42

4.

Colorado State

38

 

San José State

38

6.

Nevada

36

7.

UNLV

27

8.

New Mexico

13

9.

Utah State

11

NEW SPARTAN FACES

The 2014 Spartans are welcoming 10 newcomers to its roster: five transfers and five true freshmen. Three of the transfers, Brittanie Akey, Casey Lester and Erin Rodriguez, come to San José State from four-year institutions. Akey, who played her freshman season at UC Riverside, started all 55 games for the Highlanders and led the club in sacrifice flies and assists. In her 2013 freshman season, Lester started every game at La Salle scoring the team’s second-most runs (21). Rodriguez played the 2013 season at Illinois State and made 12 relief appearances, going 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA.

SPARTAN CAREERS IN THE RECORD BOOKS

Two current Spartans have already carved their names into the program’s record books. Junior Michelle Cox has the school’s top batting average (.364) and on-base percentage (.439) and the  seventh-highest slugging percentage (.451). A swift base runner, she also has the second-best stolen base percentage (.868) and sixth-most stolen bases (46) in a San José State softball career. Senior Jessica Garcia has evolved into one of the program’s best fielders, holding the top spot for fielding percentage (.995) and stolen bases against percentage (.539). She also has the third-most sacrifice flies (7) and has driven in the fifth-most RBI (85).