Softball Faces Three Top-25 Opponents This Weekend

March 6, 2014

COMPLETE SAN JOSE STATE RELEASE 


CAL STATE FULLERTON RELEASE 
NEBRASKA RELEASE 
LONG BEACH STATE RELEASE 
ARIZONA STATE RELEASE 

The Last Meeting
Long Beach State1
San Jose State2
March 17, 2013
San Diego, Calif.
The Last Meeting
San Jose State4
#5-Arizona State7
February 15, 2014
Tempe, Ariz.
Softball Drops Both Games In Final Day Of Littlewood Tournament
The Spartans lost 11-3 in five innings to Illinois State and 7-4 to No. 5/5 Arizona State on Saturday to finish the Littlewood Tournament, hosted by the Sun Devils, 1-3.

THIS WEEK

Tournament: Judi Garman Classic
Venue: Anderson Family Field, Fullerton, Calif.

Thurs., March 6 – 8:00 p.m. – Cal State Fullerton
Fri., March 7 – 3:00 p.m. – Nebraska
Fri., March 7 – 5:30 p.m. – Long Beach State
Sat., March 8 – 10:00 a.m. – Arizona State
Sun., March 9 – 11:30 a.m. – Arizona

 (All times local to site)

San Jose, Calif. – The San José State University softball team heads to Fullerton, Calif., this weekend for the Judi Garman Classic. The Spartans open the tournament against the Titans on Thurs., March 6 at 8:00 p.m. On Fri., March 7, the Spartans play a 3:00 p.m. doubleheader with No. 16/14 Nebraska and Long Beach State. A 10:00 a.m. game against No. 10/7 Arizona State occurs on Sat., March 8, and the tournament closes on Sun., March 9, with an 11:30 a.m. matchup with No.7/8 Arizona.

LAST TIME OUT

At the Libby Matson Tournament on March 1, the Spartans (11-6) split their lone day of the tournament. The team’s first game of the day, against No. 7/7 Washington, was scoreless through six-and-a-half innings. But an RBI-single by the Huskies in the bottom of the sixth resulted in the 1-0 San José State loss. In the second game, against UTEP, 10 Spartan runs in the first three innings were all the team needed in a 10-8 victory over the Miners.

COVERAGE FOR THIS WEEK’S GAMES

Live stats for all games this weekend will be available on SJSUSpartans.com. Additionally, live video is available for the Cal State Fullerton game, and live audio is available for the Nebraska game. Links for both are posted on SJSUSpartans.com on the softball schedule page.

COACH’S CORNER

Last weekend, San José State split its lone day of the Libby Matson Tournament, losing a close 1-0 game against No. 7/7 Washington and beating UTEP, 10-8. "Washington made good plays at the plate and we didn't,” head coach Peter Turner said. “When you get in to a one-out game, it becomes about execution and we didn't execute."

The Spartans put up 11 runs last weekend, 10 of which were scored in the first three innings of the 10-8 UTEP win. Jessie Hufstetler’s first-career triple helped, driving in three runners. "Hufstetler has been squaring up all year," Turner said. "Both she and Jessica Garcia have been driving in runs, and it's as if they're waiting for those moments to have great at bats."

Turner was happy with the performance of his pitching staff this weekend, specifically Berlyn Rippentrop, who earned the first save of her career against UTEP, and Katelyn Linford, who got her third win of the season in that game. "We needed to use Berlyn’s strengths and she came in and got the outs we needed. I was happy with her performance. I like her coming out of the bullpen because she has a demeanor that works,” Turner said. “Linford also had great stuff this weekend. The process of being a freshman is not easy. You learn lessons along the way. Overall, she has good movement and as she gets more mature, she'll get better command. I'm happy with her progress."

This weekend, San José State faces three nationally-ranked teams: No. 16/14 Nebraska, No. 10/7 Arizona State and No. 7/8 Arizona "We have a big weekend ahead of us. It'll be a challenge but I feel it's one we can take on."

CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS

The Titans (12-7) opened the season winning eight of their first nine games, but are 3-6 since the hot start. The team, however, enters the Judi Garman Classic after a walk-off win over Loyola on Tuesday. Missy Taukeiago is second in the Big West with 15 runs scored and has a team-best .351 batting average. Jasmine Antunez is Cal State Fullerton’s leader in the circle, posting a 3.58 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 45.0 innings pitched. Kelly Ford is in her second season at the helm of the Titans’ program.

#16/#14-NEBRASKA HUSKERS

The Huskers (12-6) have won four of its last five games in the midst of a tough non-conference slate that sees the team facing ranked opponents. Nebraska is led by reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Tatum Edwards, who hit .500 with one double, one home run and seven RBI in four games last weekend. She is also a threat in the circle, posting a 6-3 record and a 1.94 ERA. In her 22nd season as Nebraska’s head coach is Rhonda Revelle.

LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS

The 49ers (11-6) are generating well offensively, posting a .331 batting average and a .534 slugging percentage, run-ruling four games. The team is led at the plate by Ashley Holmes, who is hitting a Big West-best .457 with a .848 slugging percentage and has driven in 20 runs. Erin Jones-Weseley (5-3) has a 3.91 ERA with 48 strikeouts and two complete game shutouts in 43.0 innings of work. Kim Sowder is in her eighth season as Long Beach State’s head coach.

#10/#7-ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS

The Sun Devils (21-3) are coming off of two mid-week victories, a 16-2 rout of Detroit and a 1-0 walk-off win over Longwood, after dropping three of their previous four games. Arizona State is playing strong in all three facets of the game; five of Arizona State’s hitters have a slugging percentage over-.700 and the team is holding opponents to a .180 batting average. Additionally, Dallas Escobedo is coming off of a no-hitter against Longwood. In his first season at the helm of Arizona State’s program is Craig Nicholson.

#7/#8-ARIZONA WILDCATS

The Wildcats (20-1) are in the midst of a record-setting streak, run-ruling its eight previous games for a school record and outscoring teams 108-10 in their previous 10 games. Against the Cardinals and at the Wildcat Invitational last weekend, reigning PAC-12 Player of the Week Kelsey Rodriguez is batting .818 in her last 11 at bats with six doubles and a homer, with a team-best .523 batting average on the season. Mike Candrea is in his 29th season as the Wildcats’ head coach.

GARCIA NAMED MOUNTAIN WEST PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Jessica Garcia earned Mountain West Player of the Week honors for her performance at the Bank of Hawai’i Invitational February 20-23. At the Bank of Hawai'i Invitational, Garcia belted three home runs, including two grand slams, the first time a Spartan hit a pair of grand slams since 2008. Garcia's three home runs accounted for all of the Spartans' homers at the tournament. She batted .353 (6-for-17), collecting 13 RBI and scoring four runs and posting a .941 slugging percentage, resulting in a Bank of Hawai'i Invitational All-Tournament Team honor.

Against Hawai'i, she hit a pair of home runs, including her first-career grand slam. Her second grand slam of the weekend, against North Carolina in the Bank of Hawai'i Invitational, was hit in the bottom of the sixth inning and gave the Spartans a 5-3 lead (the Spartans won the game, 5-4). 

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 Spartans 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 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.

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.

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 (.439) and the seventh-highest slugging percentage (.449). A swift base runner, she also has the 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 (.536). She also has the most sacrifice flies in a San José State career (9), has driven in the third-most RBI (113) and has drawn the seventh-most walks (57).