San Jose, Calif. – If you looked up the definition of a staff ace, senior pitcher Katelyn Linford’s performance last week would be the example.
The San José State softball pitcher was absolutely dominant in earning the Mountain West Softball Pitcher of the Week for games played from March 6-12.
In the team's six games last week, Linford posted a 5-0 record with one save. She made four starts, earning complete-game wins in each outing, had a win in relief and a save figuring in each of the team's six victories this week.
In 32.2 innings of work, Linford scattered 21 hits, walked three, gave up five runs, four earned for a 0.86 ERA, while striking out 23 batters.
Linford opened the week with a 7-0, six-strikeout victory at Pacific. She gave up four hits, three coming in the second innings when the Tigers loaded the bases, but slammed the door with a strikeout. Two innings later, UOP got a runner to second, but Linford induced a groundout to end the inning. Lindord set the final nine batters down to secure the victory.
In the team’s first game of the Aggies Invitational in Davis, Calif., the Spartans gave up four runs in the first innings against Seton Hall. San José State battled back to tie the game 5-5 in the top of the sixth. In the bottom of the inning, with one out, Linford came on in relief. She struck out the side to end the inning, and then struck out two more in the seventh. SJSU scored in the top of the 8th, in an international tiebreaker, and Linford picked up her fifth strikeout to end the game and earn her second win of the weekend.
In it’s first game against UC Davis, Linford pitched an eight-inning complete game win with four strikeouts. She scattered three hits through the first six innings, allowing none to move into scoring position. In the seventh, following a leadoff double, she surrendered her first run of the week, which tied the game 1-1. In an international tiebreaker, UCD scored an unearned run in the top of the eighth inning. It was the first time in the week Linford trailed in a game. The Spartans scored twice in the bottom of the inning for a 3-2 win. It was her third win of the week.
Against UMass, Linford entered the game in the 7th with the team leading 3-0. She induced two comebackers and a groundout to secure the win for the team and earn her team-leading third save of the year.
In the team’s second game against UC Davis, Linford tossed her third complete game win of the week. She gave up a run on a hit in the first inning then set down the next six Aggies' batters. In the fourth, UCD got a leadoff triple, but Linford slammed the door, setting down the next three batters including a strikeout to end the inning. UCD scored a run in the sixth on two hits, to cut the SJSU lead to 4-2, but Linford set down the final four batters to secure the two run victory.
Against Iowa State, in the week’s finale, Linford tossed a six-hitter without giving up a walk and struck out five in a 4-1 complete-game victory. Through the first six innings, Linford scattered five hits. In the seventh, leading 4-0, she went right after the Cyclones, gave up a solo-homer with two outs, but got a strikeout to end the game and earn her fourth complete game win of the week.
Linford is the first San José State pitcher to earn the conference’s Pitcher of the Week honor this season. It is the third time in her career she has been recognized by the Mountain West with this weekly honor.