Softball Looks To Build On Four-Game Win Streak In San Diego

March 20, 2014

COMPLETE SAN JOSE STATE RELEASE 

UC SANTA BARBARA RELEASE
LONG BEACH STATE RELEASE 

The Last Meeting
San Jose State1
Long Beach State3
March 7, 2014
Fullerton, Calif.
Softball Falls To #16/14-Nebraska, Long Beach State
Defensive mistakes continue to plague the Spartans in the second day of the Judi Garman Classic, as they fell to #16/#14-Nebraska, 4-1, and Long Beach State, 3-1.

THIS WEEK
Tournament: University of San Diego Tournament
Opponents: UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State
Venues: USD Softball Complex, University of San Diego, San Diego, Calif.

Sat., March 22 - 12:30 p.m. - vs. UC Santa Barbara
Sat., March 22 - 5:30 p.m. - vs. Long Beach State
Sun., March 23 - 10:00 a.m. - vs. UC Santa Barbara
Sun., March 23 - 12:30 p.m. - vs. Long Beach State

(All times local to site)

San Jose, Calif. - The San José State University softball team heads south for the University of San Diego Tournament, hosted by the Toreros. The Spartans play a doubleheader on Saturday, March 22, against UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State at 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. The teams rematch on Sunday, March 23, for 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. games.

LAST TIME OUT

The Spartans won all four of its games last weekend, beating Princeton twice, New Mexico State and Santa Clara. Against the Aggies on March 13, Katelyn Linford pitched the two-hit complete game, leading the Spartans to a 4-2 win. A five-run fifth led San José State to an 8-4 victory over Santa Clara on March 14. The Spartans opened its two game set on March 15 with Princeton by scoring 10 runs in the final two innings of a 10-6 victory. In the second game on March 16, Linford retired eight of her final nine batters en route to the 4-1 win.

COVERAGE FOR THIS WEEK'S GAMES

Live stats for all games this weekend will be available on SJSUSpartans.com.

COACH'S CORNER

San José State broke a five-game losing streak and swept its home-opening weekend with one win against New Mexico State and two versus Princeton, as well as a victory at Santa Clara.

A major cause for the Spartans' struggles had been poor defensive play. The team committed 12 errors combined in the five losses. But head coach Peter Turner felt that aspect of the Spartans' game was shored up significantly. "They were focused and played cleanly," he said. "That's what made me happy this weekend. However, I think we're capable of that all the time."

Turner was also excited about the performance of his freshman pitcher Katelyn Linford, who posted a 3-0 record with a save and an 0.82 ERA. "I thought she looked great all weekend," Turner said. "She started against a very good New Mexico State team and was instrumental in relief against Santa Clara and in the first Princeton game and then in the second Princeton game, she had a great outing.

"That's our staff; she's going to have to pick people up and some of the other pitchers on our staff will have to pick her up."

San José State's performance at the plate was also a cause for celebration. The team's batting average improved nearly .100 from its five-game set at the Judi Garman Classic (.231 to .327). Said Turner, "When we had opportunities this weekend, we took advantage of them. Our hitters did a great job of squaring up and moving the ball with clutch hitting."

 Turner did note an area that San José State will focus on in preparation for the University of San Diego tournament. "In the last eight of the last nine games," he said, "we've given up a run in the first inning and we just can't keep doing that to good teams."

UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS

The Gauchos are off to its best start in program history with its 18-6 record, coming off of a 3-1 showing at their Gaucho Classic II. Kristen Smith is leading the charge at the plate, leading the Big West with 40 hits, while Lauren Boser and MeShalon Moore's seven doubles each ties them for second in the conference. In the circle, Andriana Collins's 2.70 ERA is No. 4 in the Big West. In her seventh season as UC Santa Barbara's head coach is Brie Galicinao.

LONG BEACH STATE 49ERS

The 49ers is experiencing a March Madness of its own, going 9-2 during the month and outscoring opponents 50-22 in that time. Upperclassmen Ashley Holmes and Karli Sandoval have had a hand in the team's offensive threat. Holmes leads the team with a .405 batting average and .703 slugging percentage, while Sandoval has a Big West-best 27 RBI. Kim Sowder is in her eighth season as Long Beach State's head coach.

GARCIA'S DRIVING `EM IN

This season, it's been a safe bet that senior Jessica Garcia will drive in a runner. She has 1.16 RBI per game, the second-highest number in the Mountain West and the 34th-most nationally. Garcia has driven in multiple runners in eight contests, including her seven RBI on Feb. 20 against Hawai'i, the most since 2010.

HUFSTETLER HITTING THE MARK

Sophomore Jessie Hufstetler has been seeing her pitches at an extraordinary level this season, posting a Conference-best .463 batting average, the 23rd-ranked mark among all Division I softball players. When she doesn't get a hit, she's still managed a way to land on a bag; her .617 on base percentage is the second-best nationally and tops in the Mountain West. The sophomore is also drawing 0.92 walks per game, the 14th- and third-most in the country and conference, respectively.

LINFORD SWEET IN THE CIRCLE

In the Spartans' first home weekend of 2014, Katelyn Linford pitched top-rate ball against New Mexico State, Santa Clara and Princeton. With two starts and two relief appearances, the freshman went 3-0 with a save in 17.0 innings, posting a 0.82 ERA and fanning 13 batters. She went the distance against New Mexico State and the second Princeton game, allowing two earned runs and scattering six combined hits. Her weekend was the top pitching performance by a member of the Spartans' staff this season.

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 .303 batting average ranks second in the Mountain West and 56th nationally. Their 5.36 runs scored per game is the third-most in the conference and ranked 61st in the country.

IT'S NOT OVER `TIL IT'S OVER

While the Spartans may find themselves trailing early in a game, don't count the team out until the final pitch. Over 50 percent (70-of-139) of the Spartans' runs scored this year have come in the fifth through eighth innings (three runs scored in the eighth inning against Cal Poly).

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.

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 (.362) and on-base percentage (.432) and the eighth-highest slugging percentage (.442). 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 collected second-most RBI (117), has belted the fifth-most home runs (12), and drawn the seventh-most walks (61).