Softball Looks To Continue Streak In Stockton

Feb. 27, 2014

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The Last Meeting
San Jose State1  
#3-Washington18(5)
February 14, 2014
Tempe, Ariz.
Softball Splits Day One Of The Littlewood Tournament
The Spartans extended its season-opening win streak to seven games with a 7-2 victory over Michigan State, but saw it end against No. 3/3 Washington in San Jose State's first day of the Littlewood Tournament.

THIS WEEK
Tournament: Libby Matson Tournament
Venue: Bill Simoni Field, University of the Pacific, Stockton, Calif.

Fri., Feb. 28 – 3:30 p.m. (PT) – UTEP
Sat., March 1 – 10:00 a.m. (PT) – No. 7/7 Washington 
Sat., March 1 – 2:30 p.m. (PT) – CSU Bakersfield

 (All times local to site)

LAST TIME OUT

Last weekend at the Bank of Hawai’i Invitational, solid pitching performances by Allison Lang and Madison Fish, as well as Jessica Garcia’s hot bat, led San José State to a tournament title. In the tournament-opening game against Hawai’i, Garcia hit two home runs, including her first-career grand slam, but the Spartans fell to Rainbow Wahine, 11-9. The Spartans second game against North Carolina saw a first-inning Tar Heel score for the game’s only run, and gave North Carolina the 1-0 win. San José State rebounded in convincing fashion, however, in a third-day doubleheader with Saint Mary’s. Fish and Lang earned complete game wins, combining to scatter seven hits, the lowest number for any doubleheader this season. Garcia stole the show in the tournament championship game, against North Carolina. She belted a sixth-inning grand slam to hand the Spartans a 5-4 win.

COVERAGE FOR THIS WEEK’S GAMES

Live stats and video are available for all of this week’s games through the University of the Pacific. Links are available on the softball schedule page at: http://pacifictigers.com/sports/w-softbl/2013-14/2014libbymatson/Tournament_Page

COACH’S CORNER

At the Bank of Hawai’i Invitational, San José State lost the first two games but rebounded with three consecutive wins to take the tournament championship. The wins broke a five-game losing streak. “When you go through a tailspin that lends itself to losses, you don’t do a lot right,” head coach Peter Turner said. “But as the week progressed, we hit a lot better. Our takeaway from this weekend was solid pitching. After the first game, we posted a 1.50 ERA.”

Turner elaborated on the Spartans’ pitching staff. “Madison Fish bounced back from Washington well, and I hope she can build on it. Allison Lang continues to throw well. She had a rough outing against Hawai’i, but she recovered nicely. Additionally, Katelyn Linford did well chewing up innings.”

Turner touched on his team’s defensive play. “Our defensive play wasn’t to our standards, but there were some highlights. In the first inning of the first Saint Mary’s game, after we allowed a two-run homer, we ended the inning on a big double play that allowed us to recover. We also made some key plays in the last inning of the final North Carolina game to win the tournament. With two outs, there were runners on second and third but there was a ground ball that we fielded to win the game.”

Overall, Turner was pleased by San José State’s progression during the tournament, with four of their five games decided by three runs or less. “The more close games, the better prepared we’ll be.”

UTEP MINERS

The Miners (6-11) are coming off two-consecutive run rule losses to No. 10 Arizona, outscored 25-2. UTEP was only able to record two hits combined in both games, resulting in the lone run scored in each matchup. Colleen Hohman scored one of the Miners’ runs, belting her third homer of the season and lifting her to a .341 batting average (14-for-41). Samantha Alvillar is UTEP’s top hitter, going 19-for-54 (.352) with 13 runs scored and four RBI. Danielle Pearson has seen the most action in the circle, posting a 6.84 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 48.2 innings of work. In her first season as UTEP’s head coach is Tobin Echo-Hawk.

NO.7/7 WASHINGTON HUSKIES

The Huskies (13-2) went 3-2 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., last weekend, splitting its tournament-opening doubleheader with an 11-0 win over Maryland and a 6-3 loss to No. 23 LSU. Washington split its second-day doubleheader, as well, beating No. 25 Texas, 3-2, but falling to Northwestern, 4-2. Bryana Walker (8-1) is the Huskies leader in the circle, pitching two complete game shutouts and posting a 1.26 ERA, while holding opponents to a .197 batting average. Kylee Lahners is Washington’s top hitter, going 20-for-40 (.500) with 13 runs scored, 28 RBI and six homers. Heather Tarr is in her 10th year at the helm of the Huskies’ program.

CSU BAKERSFIELD ROADRUNNERS

After opening the season 2-3, the Roadrunners (2-13) have lost 10 straight. Despite being outscored 97-48, CSU Bakersfield scored a season-high 10 runs in a 15-10 loss to UC Riverside. Karissa Velga has a team-best .407 batting average (22-for-54), scoring 10 runs and collecting 10 RBI. Kelsie Monroe (1-5) has seen the most work of the Roadrunners’ pitching staff, recording a 3.43 ERA in 44.2 innings. One-time WAC Pitcher of the Week, Sydney Raeber (0-3) is the team’s top reliever, posting two saves and a combined shutout. In her third season as the Roadrunner’s head coach is Crissy Buck-Ziegler.

SPARTANS “CATCHING” HOT BATS

At the Bank of Hawai’i Invitational, starting catcher Jessica Garcia hit two grand slams, against Hawai’i and North Carolina. It was the first time a Spartan hit multiple grand slams in a season since Brittany McConnell, also a starting catcher, hit a pair of grand slams in 2008 (in a 14-8 win over New Mexico State on April 26, 2008, and an 8-2 victory against Utah State on May 7, 2008).

In the Hawai’i game, when she hit her first-career grand slam, Garcia drove in seven runners. It was the most single-game RBI for a Spartan since McConnell’s seven against Northern Colorado on February 27, 2010.

MOUNTAIN WEST MIGHTS

The Spartans’ success this season shines through in the Mountain West rankings. Jessie Hufstetler has the most hits (24), second-best batting average (.533) and on base percentage (.700), runs scored (17), doubles (6), total bases (36) and walks (14). Jessica Garcia has the most RBI (26), third-most home runs (4) and sixth-most total bases (32). Chelsea Jenner’s .391 batting average is the eighth highest in the conference. Allison Lang has proven to be one of the conference’s top pitchers. She is ranked in every individual pitching category, including ERA (fourth, 2.35), opposing batting average (seventh, .247), innings pitched (sixth, 41.2), strikeouts (ninth, 24), wins (fourth, 4), saves (second, 2) and appearances (first, 12).

SPARTANS ON THE OFFENSE

In their opening 10 games of the season, the 2014 Spartans scored runs at historic levels. The team has plated the most runners of any San José State club 10 games into the season in the program’s 28-year history, scoring 72 runs. The Spartans have scored 10-or-more runs in four games, including 11 runs in three consecutive games. It was the first time a San José State club accomplished that feat since 1994.

HARD HITTING BY HUFSTETLER

Jessie Hufstetler’s sensational performance at the plate to open the season gains even more credence when compared to previous Spartan seasons. Averaging .548, she has the highest batting average of any San José State softball player in the opening 10 games of the season since 2006.

LANG LOOKING LOVELY

In the first 10 games of 2014, junior Allison Lang has been the Spartans’ top performer in the circle. Her 1.25 ERA in 28.0 innings is the best ERA of any Spartan pitcher through 10 games since Jennifer Ames’ 0.64ERA in 11 innings pitched to open the 2009 season. The Mountain West Pitcher of the Week for February 3-9, Lang was 5-1 in that time, with one save, fanning 19 batters.

SPARTANS SWEEP MOUNTAIN WEST WEEKLY PLAYER HONORS

The San José State University softball team swept Mountain West weekly honors for the season’s opening week, as Allison Lang was named the Pitcher of the Week and Jessie Hufstetler earned Hitter of the Week accolades for February 3-9 following their respective performances at the Kajikawa Classic, hosted by Arizona State.

At the Kajikawa Classic, Jessie Hufstetler, a sophomore, averaged .700 (14-for-20). She posted a 1.150 slugging percentage and .769 on-base percentage, scoring 13 runs. She collected six RBI and bombed two home runs, while striking out just once in 20 at-bats.

Junior Allison Lang posted a 4-0 record with one save at the Kajikawa Classic, spending 16.2 innings in the circle. She allowed 15 hits and just two earned runs (0.84 ERA) in her six game appearances, striking out 11 batters.

Both players helped the Spartans sweep their season-opening tournament for the first time in program history. Additionally, the team's 11-2, 11-4 and 11-7 wins to open the Kajikawa Classic marked the first time the Spartans scored 10+ runs in three-straight games since 1994. The six-game weekend saw San José State average .343 and hit six home runs.

A TOURNAMENT FOR THE RECORD BOOKS

San José State’s exceptional showing at the Kajikawa Classic February 6-9 was one for the ages. The Spartans opened the tournament with 11-2, 11-4 and 11-7 victories, marking the first time since 1994 that a San José State softball club scored 10-or-more runs in three-consecutive games. Additionally, the team swept its season-opening tournament for the first time in program history.

THE COMEBACK KIDS

At the Spartans’ season-opening tournament, the Kajikawa Classic, the team came from behind in every game to win. San José State has a 1-0 record when down in the second, a 2-0 record when behind in the third, a 1-0 record when trailing in the fourth and fifth and a 1-0 record when trailing in the sixth.

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.

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). Sophomore 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 (.367) and on-base percentage (.440) 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 (.993) and stolen bases against percentage (.537). She also has the most sacrifice flies in a San José State (9), has driven in the third-most RBI (111) and has drawn the seventh-most walks (57).