Softball Looks To Continue Stellar Play At Home

THIS WEEK:

Utah State, San Jose, Calif.
March 22        Utah State                   3:00 p.m.
March 23        Utah State (DH)          12:00 p.m.

(All times in PST)

SAN JOSE STATE: The San Jose State University softball team (19-10) hosts Utah State (5-22) this weekend, March 22 and 23, for its first Western Athletic Conference (WAC) matchup of the season.

The Spartans continued its stellar play at the San Diego Classic, putting together its third streak this season of at least five wins. San Jose State has now won 15 of its last 18 games.

LIVE STATS: Live stats for this week's games will be available on SJSUSpartans.com.

UTAH STATE AGGIES: The Aggies (5-22) won its first games of 2013 last week, sweeping a doubleheader against Weber State and going 3-2 at Boise State's SpringHill Suites Invitational.  Reigning WAC Hitter of the Week Christine Thomsen posted a .476 batting average (10-for-21) with three doubles and two RBI in seven games. Nicole Arata leads her team in RBI (12) and total bases (25). Mandy Harmon (1-13) has spent a team-high 69 innings in the circle for Utah State, striking out 51 batters and allowing 90 hits with 54 walks. Carissa Calaba is in her fourth season as Utah State's head coach.

SUCCESSFUL SPARTANS: San Jose State heads in to its series against Utah State with a five-game win streak. The Spartans' third string of at least five wins this season, the team has won 15 of its last 18 games.

San Jose State leads the WAC in wins(19),  runs scored (138), total bases (311), hits (222), walks (109), at bats (763), batters struck out (172) and strikeouts per game (6.31).

Individually, Markesha Collins is the WAC leader in batting average (.425), total bases (55), hits (34) and hits per game (1.26). She has the 37-best on base percentage (.526) in the nation. Michelle Cox has scored the most runs in the conference with 20, and Vanessa House's two triples are tied for 51st in the nation.

Nationally, Amanda Pridmore is tied for the 21-most wins (12), ranked 23rd in saves (3) and 40th in the nation in strikeouts per seven innings. She has a WAC-best strikeouts (143), opposing batting average (.184), innings pitched (115.0) and strikeouts per game (8.70).

PRIDMORE NAMED WAC PITCHER OF THE WEEK AGAIN: Amanda Pridmore was named the WAC Pitcher of the Week for March 11-17. It is Pridmore's second honor this season and third of her career.

Pridmore went 4-1 with a save in six appearances at the San Diego Classic II last week. In 27.2 innings of work, she posted a 0.51 ERA, 44 strikeouts and held opponents to a .120 batting average. Pridmore has pitched 24.2 shutout innings.

In her two appearances on March 16, she pitched 12 innings of shutout softball, yielded just two singles, struck out 25 of the 42 batters she faced and was the winning pitcher in both games.

In a 4-0 complete game shutout against Marist (3/16), she had a San Jose State single-game record 17 strikeouts, tying her for the 31-most in a single seven-inning game in NCAA Division I history. Pridmore also picked up her program-best 13th career save against Harvard on March 15 and moved into seventh place in San Jose State history for career shutouts (10).

Pridmore was named the WAC Pitcher of the Week for Feb. 18-24 after she went 2-0 with a save in four appearances. In 15.1 innings, she posted a 0.91 ERA, 25 strikeouts and held opponents to a .143 batting average. Pridmore opened the week with a save against Fresno State (2/22). She then struck out 10 in 5.0 innings of work against Saint Mary's (2/23), which she followed with a career-high 13 strikeouts in a complete-game win over St. John's (2/24).

SPARTANS SWEEP WAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS: Markesha Collins was named Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Hitter of the Week and Allison Lang is the conference's Pitcher of the Week for Feb. 4-10 after their performances at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., hosted by Arizona State. This is the first honor for both.

Collins, a senior outfielder from Citrus Heights, Calif., led the Spartans to a 4-2 record at the Kajikawa Classic. She was 9-for-16 (.563) with a double, a home run, three RBI and three runs scored over the six games. Collins also posted three multi-hit games, stole two bases, and walked four times.

Lang, a sophomore from Fountain Valley, Calif., threw a two-hit shutout in her only appearance of the week. In her first-career complete game, she allowed just two hits with one walk in 6.0 innings of work. Lang also struck out three with a no-hitter through the first five and 2/3 innings, facing just three batters over the minimum.

SPARTANS SEE LITTLE TURNOVER: Alongside All-WAC Preseason Team selections Cox and Pridmore, San Jose State's lineup is bolstered by the return of 11 letterwinners, including  nine starters and four pitchers. Senior Markesha Collins had a team-high 40 runs scored and the Spartans' third-best batting average, a .275 (42-for-153). Junior Jessica Garcia drove in the most runs on the team (38), and her nine doubles were the second-most on the team.

NEWCOMERS: Eleven newcomers are on the Spartans' roster, including two redshirts and a junior transfer. Sacramento State transfer Devin Caldwell highlights San Jose State's newcomer list, as she joins the Spartans following her 2012 Pacific Coast Softball Conference's (PCSC) all-Coastal Division Team honorable mention selection at second base.

PRIDMORE'S PLACE IN HISTORY: Starting pitcher Amanda Pridmore is listed in 10 San Jose State career lists and has the San Jose State saves (13) and strikeouts looking (152) records. She has the program's second-most strikeouts (598), appearances (140), starts (95), and is tied for the second-most wins (56) and games finished (43). She has pitched the third-most innings (696.2), is tied for fourth in completed games (64) and has the seventh-most shutouts in San Jose State history with 10.

SPARTAN NOTES:

Devin Caldwell has 21 starts on second base in 27 games for San Jose State. She is 17-for-58 (.293 batting average) on the season with 15 runs and five RBI. She had a five-game hit streak (Feb. 22-24) and back-to-back doubles at Pacific and Southern Utah (3/2). She scored runs in three consecutive games (3/15-16) at the San Diego Classic II. Caldwell had a season-high three hits against Pacific (3/2) with a run and RBI, and has three multi-run and multi-hit games.

Markesha Collins has started 27 games for the Spartans as either an outfielder or designated hitter. She is the WAC leader in batting average (.425), total bases (55), hits (34) and hits per game (1.26), while leading the team in RBI (24), slugging percentage (.688) and on-base percentage (.526). Her longest hit streak of the season lasted seven games (Feb. 14-22). She drove in a career-high six RBI against Idaho State (2/23), and was perfect at the plate in two games (4-for-4 against Fresno State, 2/22; 3-for-3 against Nevada, 3/1). Collins blasted back-to-back home runs (against Idaho State, 2/17, and Fresno State, 2/22), has nine multi-hit games and six multi-RBI games. She has also stolen five bases. Collins was named the WAC Hitter of the Week for Feb. 4-10 after going 9-for-16 (.563) with a double, a home run, three RBI and three runs scored over the six games.

Michelle Cox has started 28 for the Spartans in either the outfield or at first base. Her eight stolen bases and 20 runs scored are a WAC-high. Cox had a five-game hit streak (2/8-14), and has seven multi-hit and six multi-run games. Her lone triple of the year was against CSU Northridge (2/22), and her best game of 2013 was against Idaho State (2/23), when she went 3-for-4 with two runs, an RBI and a double.

Sharon-Renae Estrada has five games at second base, designated hitter, first base and has pinch hit. She has two hits on six at bats. Her first career hit was a single to center field against Saint Mary's (2/23). She was hit by a pitch against Hawai'i (2/15).

Madison Fish has a 1-2 record in six starts and nine appearances as a right-handed pitcher. She has six strikeouts in 21.2 total innings. Her best showing of the season came against Fresno State (2/22), when, in 5.2 innings of work, she retired two batters and allowed three hits in the 5-2 win. 

Cheryl Freitas has started 23 games as either an infielder or designated hitter, and pinch hit in two games. She has a .438 on base percentage, a .543 slugging percentage and is 26-for-70 (.371). She had an eight-game hit streak (3/1-3/16), the longest for any Spartan this season, and two three-game run streaks (2/22-23, 3/1-3/2). Freitas has six multi-RBI games, five multi-hit games, and two multi-run games. She was the Spartans' leader at the plate at the Libby Matson Tournament, going 7-for-15 with six RBI and five runs, and led all hitters at the tournament in runs scored and total bases (12).

BranDee Garcia has started 22 and played in 25 games as San Jose State's shortstop. She scored  runs in seven-consecutive games (2/17-3/1). Garcia had a season-best two RBI with a double in two at bats against New Mexico (2/8), and went 2-for-4 with three runs, a one-run homer and a stolen base against Nevada (3/1). Her second home run of the season came against Long Beach State (3/17).

Jessica Garcia has started 28 games as the Spartans' catcher or third baseman. She led the Spartans at the plate at the San Diego Classic II, posting a .389 batting average (7-for-18) with two doubles, eight RBI and a homerun. She also had a four-game hit streak at the tournament. Garcia had her first home run of the season, which brought in two runners, in the first game against St. John's (2/24). Against Nevada (3/1), her lone at bat was a double that brought in three runners. She had back-to-back doubles once (against Nevada and Southern Utah, 3/1) and has four multi-hit games.

Vanessa House is the only Spartan to have started every game this season for San Jose State. She leads the Spartans with seven doubles. Her 31 hits, 18 runs, 42 total bases and .438 on base  percentage are second on the team. House's best game of the 2013 was against Idaho State (2/23) when she went 3-for-3 with four RBI, two doubles and a triple. House went 2-for-3 five times and was perfect at the plate three times. She had back-to-back doubles against Oregon State and Cal Poly (2/10), and stole two bases in the second St. John's game (2/24). House has eight multi-hit games, four multi-RBI games and posted a six-game hit streak (3/3-3/16). She scored a season-best three runs against Fairfield (3/16).

Jessie Hufstetler has played 24 of 25 games at first base or designated hitter for the Spartans. She is 23-for-69, with 11 runs, 15 RBI, five doubles and two homers, alongside a .410 on base percentage and .493 slugging percentage. Against CSU Northridge (2/22), she went 1-for-3 with three RBI and a double. In the Idaho State (2/17) game, she went 2-for-2 with two runs and RBI, and one homerun. She was perfect at the plate against Nevada (3/1), with a double and two runs. Hufstetler had a six-game hit streak (3/3-3/16), five multi-hit games, three multi-run games and four multi-RBI games.

Allison Lang is 3-1 with eight starts and 35.1 innings in the circle. She has struck out 16 batters and has allowed 42 hits and 21 runs. She was named the WAC Pitcher of the Week for Feb. 4-10 after, in her first-career complete game against New Mexico (2/8), she allowed just two hits with one walk in 6.0 innings of work. Lang had her second shutout of the season in a complete game against CSU Northridge (2/22), when she allowed three hits with two walks in seven innings. Against California (2/16), she had a season-best five strikeouts.

Alyssa Martinez has played in nine games with eight starts as a pinch hitter and runner or shortstop for the Spartans. Her best game of the season was against Fairfield (3/16), where her lone hit of the game (on two at bats) was a double, and she walked.

Dorothy Morentin has three starts as the Spartans' catcher and an additional six appearances as a catcher or pinch hitter. Her lone hit of the season, against Harvard (3/15), drove in an RBI. She had a season-high six put outs against California (2/16).

Briana Pontecorvo has six starts in 10 games for San Jose State as a pinch hitter, first baseman or designated hitter. Against CSU Northridge (2/8), she drove in two runs with one double. Versus New Mexico (2/8), she walked twice and her one at bat yielded an RBI. She had a season-high three at bats twice: against Oregon State (2/10) and California (2/16).

Amanda Pridmore has a 12-7 record in nine starts and a WAC-best 143 strikeouts, striking out her 500th batter against Idaho State (2/18). Pridmore has the conference's best opposing batting average (.184), innings pitched (115.0) and strikeouts per game (8.70), and enters this week with 24.2 shutout innings. She was named the WAC Pitcher of the Week for March 11-17 when she went 4-1 with a save in six appearances at the San Diego Classic II. In 27.2 innings of work, she posted a 0.51 ERA, 44 strikeouts and held opponents to a .120 batting average. In her two appearances on March 16, she pitched 12 innings of shutout softball, yielded just two singles, struck out 25 of the 42 batters she faced and was the winning pitcher in both games. In a 4-0 complete game shutout against Marist, she had a San Jose State single-game record 17 strikeouts, tying her for the 31-most in a single seven-inning game in NCAA Division I history. She was also the WAC Pitcher of the Week for Feb. 18-24 after going 2-0 with a save in four appearances, her first of the season against Fresno State (2/22). In 15.1 innings, she posted a 0.91 ERA, 25 strikeouts and held opponents to a .143 batting average. She has double-digit strikeouts in five games and has allowed less than four hits in eight complete games. Pridmore had a one-hitter against Southern Utah (3/2), with 5.2 perfect innings.

Taylor Purdy has started 13 games in the infield for the Spartans. Against CSU Northridge (2/8), she was 2-for-3 with one run and was walked. Versus Portland State (2/7), her one at bat yielded two runs, she walked and stole a base. She had back-to-back hits against Harvard (3/15) and Fairfield (3/16).

Jordan Sauceda has started two games in the circle for San Jose State - against Cal Poly (2/10) and Idaho State (2/23), and appeared in the Oregon (2/9), Hawai'i (2/15) and Nevada (3/1) games. She earned her first-career win against Idaho State, when she allowed a season-low five hits and one run. In 18.2 innings of work, she has seven strikeouts, and has allowed 27 hits and 16 runs while walking 10.

Nicole Schultz has 15 starts in 23 games for the Spartans in either the outfield or as a pinch runner. She has gone 12-for-46 with five runs, two doubles, a home run, and six RBI. Her best game of the season was against UCLA (2/16), where she went 2-for-3 with a home run that yielded an RBI. She had two RBI against Fairfield (3/16) and the walk-off run against Long Beach State (3/17).

Marissa Toy has been the Spartans' pinch runner in 12 games, scoring four runs. She had runs in three consecutive games (2/16-23), and one at bat against Hawai'i (2/15), when she played second base.

Casey Watt has eight at bats in 17 games for the Spartans as a pinch runner and hitter, outfielder, first baseman or designated hitter. Her first-career hit was a double to center field against Saint Mary's (2/23), which drove in a run. She stole a base against Massachusetts (3/15) and was hit by a pitch against Hawai'i (2/15).

Annica Wolfe has started 17 games this season for San Jose State at third base. She is 7-for-37 with two RBI and 12 walks. Against New Mexico (2/8), she went 2-for-4 and drove in one RBI. She had a three-game hit streak (2/15-2/16), and walked in six-consecutive games (2/16-2/23). Wolfe went 1-for-2 with a run and RBI against Marist (3/16).

2013 WAC TOURNAMENT: The 2013 WAC Tournament takes place in Ruston, La., May 8-11. Hosted by Louisiana Tech, the conference's top six teams advance to the double elimination tournament.

UP NEXT: San Jose State heads to San Antonio, Calif., on March 29 and 30 for its first series in San Jose State history against WAC foes UTSA. The Spartans play the Roadrunners on Friday, March 29 at 6:00 p.m. and have a doubleheader at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 30.