San Jose, Calif. - San José State softball ends its longest homestand of the season, six games over two weekends, hosting the Boise State Broncos in a three-game Mountain West series beginning on Thursday at noon.
San Jose State Spartans (24-14, 4-5 MW)
Boise State Broncos (24-12, 6-6 MW)
April 13-15 - 12:00 p.m. (PT)
Mission College Field (300) - San Jose, Calif.
SCOUTING THE BRONCOS
Boise State enters the week with a 24-12 overall record, 6-6 in conference play. So far they have defied the coach’s preseason prognostications. The Broncos were picked to finish in last place by every head coach in the conference, but currently site tied for third half way through the MW schedule.
Its .324 team batting average is the third best in the league and ranks 18th highest in the nation. Rebeka Cervantes leads the team and ranks third in the MW with a .442 average (46-for-104). She ranks first or second her team with 7 homers, 40 RBIs, 9 doubles and two triples and is slugging .769 with a .523 on base percentage. Makenzie Sullivan, who leads the team with 11 doubles, is batting .381 (40-for-105).
In the circle, Christina Washington (13-5) has started 19 of the team’s 36 games. She has 10 complete games, four shutouts and a 2.52 ERA in 102.2 innings. Washington has struck out 54, walked 30 and opponents are hitting .256 off her.
Third-year head coach Cindy Ball brought a 26-80 record at BSU into the 2017 season.
In the all-time series, San José State leads the Broncos 11-9. In games played in San Jose, SJSU is 6-3 all time. In Boise, it’s a 5-4 advantage for the Spartans and at neutral sites the Broncos lead 2-0. SJSU has taken the last six games in a row and 7-of-9 since joining the Mountain West in 2013-14.
BASE PATHS COULD PROVE CRITICAL VS. BOISE STATE
If the Spartans are to hold prove successful against Boise State, the base paths will be crucial. The Broncos are ranked 36th in the nation and second in the Mountain West with 63 stolen bases. They are swiping bags at a .851 success rate (63-for-74) and catching would be base stealers is not one of the Spartans strong suit. SJSU catchers have gunned out seven of 33 stolen base attempts, a success rate of .212.
Looking to replace seniors at second and short, the Spartans look like they have found the bats in freshmen Cassidy Clark (Fr., INF, Fresno, Calif.) and Georgia Blair (Fr., INF, Gold Coast, Australia). Clark has made 36 starts at second, is hitting a team-high.396 (36-for-91), has 20 walks and a team-leading .521 on base percentage. Blair has started 24 of the last 27 games at short and is hitting .395 (30-for-76) with 20 RBIs and a team-high five homers and a .697 slugging percentage.
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.
SETTING THEM DOWN DOUBLE DIGITS AT A TIME
In the first three years at San José State, Katelyn Linford (Sr., RHP, San Ramon, Calif.) had one game of double-digit strikeouts, a 4-1 victory over New Mexico last season in which she set down 12 Lobos hitters. This year as the clear number one pitcher on the staff, Linford has already recorded four, including a 10-strikeout performance last Sunday against the Colorado State Rams.
Linford leads the Mountain West with 152 strikeouts, the eighth most in a season for a Spartan. In 141.0 innings, she is averaging 7.55 strikeouts per seven innings pitched. If she continues at this pace, she would eclipse Amanda Pridmore’s San José State record of 6.79 strikeouts per seven innings set in 2013.
JENNER HAVING A SENIOR CAMPAIGN TO REMEMBER
Chelsea Jenner (Sr., OF, Abbotsford, B.C., Canada) is having the type of senior season players dream about. A lifetime .293 hitter, she is batting .400 so far this season and has set career highs in hits (28), doubles (6), triples (1), homers (2), RBIs (12), slugging percentage (.600), walks (5), on base percentage (.434), putouts (36) and assists (3).
Last week, Jenner capped her season...so far...with her first Mountain West Player of the Week honor. In four games, she went 10-for-13 from the plate, a .769 batting average, scored four runs and drove in three more without a strikeout. Among her 10 hits, she had two doubles and a home run. Her on base percentage was .714 and she slugged 1.154.
RIGGS GETTING LOCKED IN
Who’s the hottest pitcher on the Spartans staff? It might surprise some because it’s Colette Riggs (Sr., RHP, Yorba Linda, Calif.).
In Riggs’ last seven starts she has posted a 5-1 record with a 1.79 ERA. In 31 .1 innings, she has struck out 21 batters and allowed eight earned runs to score. Among the 28 hits she has surrendered only five have been for extra bases and she boasts a just under 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Take out a her start against Grand Canyon (2/23), in which she went 1.0 innings and gave up three earned runs and things look even more impressive. Her ERA drops to 1.15, extra base hits fall to three and her strikeout-to walk-ratio jumps to over 2-to-1.
MORE OF LINNY AND SOME LISTS
With 15 wins heading into this week, Katelyn Linford (Sr., RHP, San Ramon, Calif.) is tied with Carol Forbes (2002) and Roxanne Bejarano (2007) for ninth place on the single season list. Madison Fish, won 16 games in 2015 and ranks eighth. Her four saves tie her with Amanda Pridmore (2010) for fifth place on the programs single season list
For her career, Linford’s 41 wins and 346 strikeouts are the fifth most for a Spartan and she ranks in the top-10 in appearances (108), starts (72) and innings pitched (435.0).