Spartans Debut At SJSU Field Thursday

March 13, 2014

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The Last Meeting
San Jose State4
New Mexico State0
May 11, 2013
Ruston, La.
The Last Meeting
Santa Clara0
San Jose State4
April 3, 2013
San Jose, Calif.
THIS WEEK
Opponents: New Mexico State, Santa Clara, Princeton
Venues: SJSU Field, San Jose, Calif.; SCU Softball Field, Santa Clara, Calif.

Thurs., March 13 – 12:00 p.m. – vs. New Mexico State
Fri., March 14 – 5:00 p.m. – at Santa Clara
Sat., March 15 – 12:00 p.m. – vs. Princeton
Sun., March 15 – 12:00 p.m. – vs. Princeton

 (All times local to site)

San Jose, Calif. – The San José State University softball team debuts its 2014 team at SJSU Field on Thursday, March 13, with a noon game against New Mexico State. The Spartans then face Santa Clara on Friday, March 14, for a 5:00 p.m. game at SCU Softball Field and hosts Princeton for 12:00 p.m. matchups on Saturday, March 15 and Sunday, March 16.

LAST TIME OUT

The Spartans went 0-5 at the Judi Garman Classic, falling to three top-20 opponents, Long Beach State and tournament hosts Cal State Fullerton.  Errors plagued San José State at the tournament, with 12 being committed over the five games. In the tournament opener, the Spartans held Cal State Fullerton to six hits but committed a single game season-high five errors and lost, 5-2. In the second day, the team fell, 4-1, to #16/#14-Nebraska and 3-1 to Long Beach State. Against the Huskers, Katelyn Linford allowed two earned runs in her first-career complete game and versus the 49ers, the Spartans got off 13 hits. San José State couldn’t overcome #10/#7-Arizona State’s two homers in the third day of the tournament and lost, 10-1, in five innings. In the Judi Garman Classic finale, #8/#7-Arizona scored four of its eight runs in the fourth inning en route to an 8-1 victory.

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 New Mexico State and Princeton games through the Mountain West Network. Links for both are posted on SJSUSpartans.com on the softball schedule page.

COACH’S CORNER

The Spartans head in to their home debut looking to avenge a disappointing weekend at the Judi Garman Classic. "We are simply having a difficult time defensively," head coach Peter Turner said. “We’re beating other teams well in the hitting and pitching aspects of the game but we’re not beating them defensively.”

Turner elaborated on his pitching staff’s solid performance. Of Katelyn Linford’s first-career complete game, against #16/#14-Nebraska, he said, “she threw up a ton of zeros. She did a good job changing speed and location, and that’s a nice sign of maturity to face a contending team and keep us in the game.” Against Long Beach State, Madison Fish pitched 2.1 perfect innings. “The entire day, I was happy with everyone on the staff,” Turner said. “Madison looked as good as she has looked all year.”

Despite San José State’s recent losses, Turner is hopeful that the team will rebound with vigor. “We have the pitching and hitting to beat anyone in the country,” he said. “But we need to do a better job of playing all three facets of the game at one time. We learn lessons by failing and hopefully we won’t duplicate mistakes. This is something that we will work through."

NEW MEXICO STATE AGGIES

The Aggies (15-10) have won 13 of their last 18 games and are having major success at the plate this season, as evidenced by their .504 team slugging percentage and 33 home runs. Junior Staci Rodriguez is one of several New Mexico State hitters with a hot bat, averaging a team-best .418 with a .925 slugging percentage, .545 on base percentage and 26 runs scored. In the circle, Celisha Walker has the Aggies’ lowest ERA at 3.64 in 57.2 innings pitched. Kathy Rodolph is in her 12th season at the helm of the Aggies’ program.

SANTA CLARA BRONCOS

The Broncos (3-14) are 2-2 in their last four games, out-scoring opponents 18-12, including a 9-1, six-inning win over Stony Brook. Krista Jensen’s .353 batting average is a team-best, while Gennamarie Bonilla has driven in a Santa Clara-high 11 runners. Each of the Broncos’ pitchers has earned one win, with Jessica Turner spending a team-high 42.2 innings in the circle with a 6.54 ERA. In her 6th season as Santa Clara’s head coach is Lisa Mize.

PRINCETON TIGERS

The Tigers (1-6) have suffered from inclement weather pounding the Northeast, with six of its 13 games already cancelled this season, but the team is coming off of a 4-1 win over Hartford on March 8. Shanna Christian, who has a 3.07 ERA in 13.2 innings pitched, earned the win. In 2014, the team has scored 17 runs, four of which were scored by Marissa Reynolds. Rachel Rendina leads Princeton with a .238 batting average. Lisa Sweeney is in her second season as Princeton’s head coach.

HOT BATS HEAT UP NATIONAL, CONFERENCE RANKINGS

The Spartans’ success at the plate this season shines through in both the national and Mountain West rankings. The team’s .298 batting average ranks third in the Mountain West and 68th in the country. Seventy-seven runs scores is the fourth-most in the conference and 77th-most nationally. Individually, Jessie Hufstetler has the Mountain West’s best batting average (.466) and on base percentage (.608), which are ranked 42nd and ninth, respectively. She has drawn 19 walks this season, which is third in the Mountain West and 19th in the nation. Jessica Garcia’s conference-leading 29 RBI is 29th nationally.

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. 

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 (.363) and on-base percentage (.433) and the eighth-highest slugging percentage (.443). 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 (.525). She also has the most sacrifice flies in a San José State career (10), has driven in the third-most RBI (115), has belted the fifth-most home runs (12), and has drawn the seventh-most walks (60).

 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.