San Jose, Calif. - San José State softball hosts heads out on the road this week for its last non-conference tilt, at Loyola Marymount (3/29), before continuing south to San Diego, for a three-game set at Mountain West opponent San Diego State (3/31-4/1).
at Loyola Marymount Lions (12-19)
March 29 - 11:00 a.m. (PT)
Smith Field (500) - Los Angeles, Calif.
at San Diego State Aztecs (18-13, 2-4 MW)
March 31 - 6:00 p.m., April 1 - 6:00 p.m., April 2 - 12:00 p.m. (PT)
SDSU Softball Stadium (300) - San Diego, Calif.
SCOUTING THE LIONS
Loyola Marymount enters the week with a 12-19 overall record and has yet to begin WCC play. They will play a double header at Long Beach State on Tuesday ahead of its game against the Spartans.
As a team the Lions are hitting .270 and are led by Amanda Dirks .348 average. Dirks is also the team leader in hits (32), runs (23), homers (5) and RBI (20).
In the circle, LMU has spread the work pretty evenly among three pitchers. Hannah Bandimere leads the team with a 2.69 ERA and a 5-3 record in 54.2 innings. Opponents are batting .271 off her this year.
Loyola Marymount is led by second-year head coach Sami Strinz-Ward, who brought a 32-21 record into the 2017 season.
This will be the 18th meeting between the programs with the Spartans holding a 9-8 advantage in the all-time series. In games contested at LMU, San José State and the Lions are tied 4-4.
SCOUTING THE AZTECS
San Diego State enters the week with an 18-13 overall record, 2-4 in conference play.
Its .348 team batting average is the best in the league and eighth highest in the nation. SDSU also leads the MW in on-base percentage (.410), hits (308) and doubles (49). Molly Sturdivant leads the team with a .400 average (34-for-85). Jenavee Peres, who has a team-high eight homers, is tied with Sydnee Cable for the team lead in RBI (31).
In the circle, the Aztecs have spread the work pretty evenly among four pitchers. Marissa Moreno lead the team with a 3.15 ERA and a 7-4 record in 60.0 innings. Erica Romero is 5-3 with a 3.44 ERA in 59.0 inning, but opponents are batting .317 and .325 off Moreno and Romero, respectively.
San Diego State is led by 21st-year head coach Kathy Van Wyk, who brought a 685-455-1 record, all at SDSU, into the 2017 season.
In the all-time series, San José State trails the Aztecs 23-18. It's a series which has been virtually even, except for an eight-game winning streak from 1999 to 2013. In games played on Montezuma Mesa, SJSU is 7-8 all time.
LINFORD NO-HITS NEVADA
Katelyn Linford (Sr., RHP, San Ramon, Calif.) tossed the first no-hitter of her collegiate career in the team's 8-0 five-inning win over Nevada (3/18). She allowed two base runners (a hit batter in the second and a walk in the third for the only blemishes to her line), but did not allow them to advance past first base. She struck out seven in what was her seventh consecutive complete-game victory. The no-no was the 12th in SJSU Softball history.
LINFORD BACK-TO-BACK MW PITCHER OF THE WEEK
For two weeks in a row (3/6 - 3/19), Katelyn Linford (Sr., RHP, San Ramon, Calif.) was the toast of the all the Mountain West Conference hurlers. In the team's nine games Linford posted a 7-1 record, with a save. The streak included the first no-hitter of her college career, and six complete-game victories.
During the stretch, she struck out 48 batters while walking just four in 50.2 innings. Opponents scored a total of 10 runs, nine earned for a 1.24 ERA. She is the first SJSU pitcher to be honored in back-to-back weeks by the Mountain West.
BATS HEATING UP RIGHT ON TIME
One of the most prolific hitting teams in the nation for the last several years, the Spartans finished the 2015 season (.350 BA) and 2016 (.335 BA) ranked 7th and 10th nationally, respectively.
The bats got off to a slow start this season, but with the start of MW play, things are trending up. In the team's last five games, they are hitting .361 with a .541 slugging percentage and a .448 in-base percentage.
MOTHER ALWAYS SAID...DON'T WANDER OFF
If you are an opponent intent on stealing, you best not wander to far from the base. Alexandra Luna (So., C, San Jose, Calif.) and Alyssa Avila (So., C, Fresno, Calif.) have pretty much split time evenly behind the plate, Luna with 15 starts and Avila with 16, and each has picked off three runners. So if you want to try to get a better secondary lead...you better be sure you can get back or they will get ya!
SOLID UP THE MIDDLE
The Spartans entered the 2017 season having to replace a pair of three-year starters up the middle (shortstop Alyssa Martinez and second baseman Taylor Purdy) and so far two freshmen are showing they may be a combination to lock those spots down for the next four years.
Cassidy Clark (Fr., INF, Fresno, Calif.) and Georgia Blair (Fr., INF, Gold Coast, Australia) have done yeoman's work second and short. Clark has made 29 starts at second, is hitting .343 (24-for-70), has 17 walks and a team-leading .489 on base percentage. Blair has started 19 of the last 22 games at short and is hitting .411 (23-for-56) with 13 RBIs and a team-leading three home runs and a .679 slugging percentage.
AURIN SWINGING THE SHILLELAGH
Madison Aurin (So., INF, Bakersfield, Calif.), the top hitting freshman on the team last year, got off to a slow start but heading into this week, leads the Spartans in hits, (35), doubles (8) and RBIs (17).
LINNY ON THE LISTS
With 14 wins heading into this week, Katelyn Linford (Sr., RHP, San Ramon, Calif.) is poised to enter the program's top-10 for in wins for a season. With her next win she will tie Carol Forbes (2002) and Roxanne Bejarano (2007) for ninth place. Madison Fish, won 16 games in 2015 and ranks eighth on the program's single season list. Her four saves tie her with Amanda Pridmore (2010) for fifth place on the programs single season list.
For her career, Linford's 40 wins and 316 strikeouts are the fifth most for a Spartan and she ranks in the top-10 in appearances (103), starts (68) and innings pitched (409.1).