San Jose, Calif. - San José State softball opens its Mountain West Conference slate of game this weekend hosting the Nevada Wolf Pack in Stockton.
San José State Spartans (17-9, 0-0 MW)
Nevada Wolf Pack (14-10, 0-0 MW)
Live Stats: www.sjsuspartans .com
LINFORD MW PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Last week Katelyn Linford (Sr., RHP, San Ramon, Calif.) enjoyed one of the best seven days in the circle, in SJSU history. Linford was absolutely dominant in earning the Mountain West Softball Pitcher of the Week.
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.
HOME IS WHERE THE SPARTANS ARE...
Every team holds an advantage when they play on their home field. It’s where they practice and prepare for upcoming opponents. It’s a field they are intimately familiar with and someplace that is familiar...its home.
With the demolished SJSU Field a memory, the Spartans are going to call both Stockton and Santa Clara home for the 2017 season.
The first “home” series of the year is against Nevada (Mar. 17-19) and for record keeping purposes; it will be listed as a neutral site series, with the Spartans the designated home team.
The remainder of the team’s home games will be played at Mission College in Santa Clara.
COACHES SEE A THREE-TEAM RACE IN PRESEASON VOTE
For the second year in a row, there are predicted to be the top-three and then everyone else in Mountain West softball.
The head coaches of the nine softball-playing schools in the Mountain West were polled and Fresno State, San Diego State and San José State were selected to finish in the top-three places. This is the same order of finish as last season’s preseason coaches’ poll.
Fresno State was picked to win the 2017 Mountain West softball title after receiving four first-place votes and 59 total points. San Diego State was second with 57 points and three first-place votes. SJSU received the other two first-place votes and is third with 55 points.
Utah State is fourth with 33 points, followed by Nevada that received 32 points. Colorado State and UNLV (27 points) tied for sixth place, New Mexico (26) and Boise State (8) round out the poll.
With just four points separating the top three teams, it is the narrowest margin to start a season in the Spartans four years in the league. In addition, the 22-point spread between third place (SJSU with 55 points) and fourth place (Utah State with 33 points) is the largest in the same time frame.
2017 MW Preseason Coaches Poll
|Rank||Team (First Place Votes)||Points|
|1.||Fresno State (4)||59|
|2.||San Diego State (3)||57|
|3.||San Jose State (2)||55|
SCOUTING THE WOLF PACK
Nevada enters the first weekend of Mountain West play with a 14-10 overall record.
Its .297 team batting average is the fifth highest in the league and its 3.98 staff ERA ranks last among the nine teams in the league. Amanda Nicholas leads the team (13th in the MW) with a .417 batting average. Erika Hanson is the top run producer for the Wolf Pack with 22 RBI.
In the circle, McKenna Isenberg leads the team in innings pitched (70.0), wins (7), starts (12) and strikeouts (82), while opponents are batting .294 off her.
The Wolf Pack are led by first-year head coach Josh Taylor, who was an assistant coach on the staff for the past four seasons.
In the all-time series, San José State holds an 33-18 advantage. In games contested on the Spartans home field, the SJSU is 19-10 all time and on a neutral field the series is tied 2-2. In the last 12 meetings, the Spartans are up 10-2 have taken five straight going into this weekend.
LINFORD OFF TO SJSU’S BEST START IN YEARS
With an 11-2 start, Katelyn Linford is off to the best start of her career and the best start in recent Spartans history. Linford has already surpassed her career-high for wins in a season (10 which she set in 2016) and her 11-2 start is the best for a pitcher since 2007, the year head coach Peter Turner’s tenure began.