San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University softball team took an eight-run lead in the first inning and held on despite three infield errors, as the Spartans bested Sacramento State, 8-2, for its ninth-straight win, in the first game of a non-conference home-and-home.
“We should have shut them out,” said Head Coach Peter Turner. “We need to tighten up the defense and learn how to put people away. We had an eight-run lead. Our defense is too good to give up anything and our pitching is good enough where we have to do a better job of closing the game.”
Jessica Garcia kicked off the Spartans’ first inning scoring rally with one out and two runners on. Her single up the middle gave Markesha Collins time to score on the throw. Jessie Hufstetler followed with a single to right field, driving in Michelle Cox. After a pitching change by the Hornets, back-to-back doubles by Casey Watt and Nicole Schultz drove in two runs each. To cap off the Spartans’ inning, BranDee Garcia blasted her third homerun in five games, driving in Schultz and herself, for the 8-0 lead. The eight runs scored matched a single-inning season high (Nevada, 3/1).
San Jose State maintained its eight-run differential until the fourth inning. Following a leadoff fly out, two-consecutive Hornets were reached on errors by third basemen Nicole Schultz. After a bases-loading walk, Alyssa Vanderdrink reached on an error by shortstop BranDee Garcia, allowing Paige Martin to get Sacramento State’s first run. A sacrifice fly made way for Lauren Blair to score for the final 8-2 score.
“My expectation of this team is to do a lot of great things,” Turner said, “but we want to use these non-league games to perfect our game for league. We are struggling at finding the right combination at one particular position but someone will emerge as the key contributor at that position.”
Allison Lang (4-1) was the winning pitcher, allowing three hits, walking one and striking out two. Taylor Stroud (4-2) took the loss for the Hornets, striking out three, while she and Jennifer Hartman combined to allow eight hits.
“Lang did an outstanding job,” said Turner. “That is how she threw early in the year and for us to do what we want to do, we need her and the rest of the staff to take the load off of Amanda Pridmore. She did not get in trouble at all; we put her in trouble. She kept good command without much defensive help.”
The Spartans play the backend of a home-and-home with Sacramento State tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. in Sacramento, Calif.