San Jose, Calif. - San José State softball heads out on the road this week for the first of back-to-back conference road series. The swing begins with a three-game set at Fresno State starting on Friday night.
San José State Spartans (27-14, 7-5 MW)
Fresno State Bulldogs (25-17, 5-6 MW)
April 21 - 6:00 p.m., April 22 - 6:00 p.m., April 23 - 12:00 p.m. (PT)
Margie Wright Diamond (1,688) - Fresno, Calif.
Streaming Video and Live Stats at www.sjsuspartans.com
SCOUTING THE BRONCOS
Fresno State enters the week with a 25-17 record, 5-6 in conference play and in sixth place in the Mountain West. The Bulldogs were idle in MW play last week, but still played three games. They defeated Santa Clara, but fell to California twice.
Its .288 team batting average is the seventh best in the league and ranks 92nd in the nation. Morgan Howe leads the team and ranks third in the MW with a .426 average (43-for-101). She also leads her team with .624 slugging percentage and a .512 on base percentage. Savannah McHellon has driven in a team-high 35 runs and lead the team with eight homers.
In the circle, Kamalani Dung (16-10) has started 24 of the team’s 42 games. She has 18 complete games, six shutouts and a 2.24 ERA in 156.0 innings. Washington has struck out 135, walked 67 and opponents are hitting just .215 off her.
First-year head coach Linda Garza brought a 145-135-2 record in five seasons at two schools into 2017.
In the all-time series, Fresno State completely dominates the Spartans to the tune of 87-12. In games played in Fresno, SJSU is just 4-47. In San Jose State is barely better 8-39 and in the lone neutral site meeting the Bulldogs defeated the Spartans 4-3 in the 2012 WAC Tournament. What could be the only bright spot in this one-sided series is that the last time the Spartans were in Fresno (2015), they took 2-of-3 from the Bulldogs.
CLARK IS PUTTING IT IN PLAY
When it comes to putting the ball in play only two hitters in the NCAA are better than Spartan Cassidy Clark (Fr., INF, Fresno, Calif.). Clark is the toughest hitter to strikeout on the team, in the Mountain West and is the third toughest hitter to K in the NCAA. In 101 at bats, she has fanned exactly once. She went 65 straight at-bats to start her career without striking out. Then after a K-ing in her first at-bat against Princeton (3/23) has strung together 35 more without a strikeout.
RIGGS 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 6-0 record with a 1.15 ERA. In 36.2 innings, she has struck out 26 batters, including a career-high seven against Boise State (4/14) and allowed six earned runs. Among the 24 hits she has surrendered only three have been for extra bases and she boasts a more than 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
LINNY AND SOME LISTS
With 17 wins heading into this week, Katelyn Linford (Sr., RHP, San Ramon, Calif.) is ranked eighth on the single-season list. She is one win from tying Amanda Pridmore (2010 & 2012) and Corina Lilly (1995) for fifth place. Pridmore holds the single season record with 29 victories in 2013. Her four saves tie her with Pridmore (2010) for fifth place on the programs single-season saves list.
For her career, Linford’s 43 wins and 355 strikeouts are the fifth most for a Spartan and she ranks in the top-10 in appearances (110), starts (74) and innings pitched (449.0).
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 39 starts at second, is hitting a team-high .386 (39-for-101), has 20 walks and a team-leading .504 on base percentage. Blair has started 27 of the last 30 games at short and is hitting a team-leading .390 (32-for-82) with 20 RBIs and a team-high five homers and a .695 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 most recently a 10-strikeout performance two weeks ago against Colorado State.
Linford leads the Mountain West with 161 strikeouts, the sixth most in a season for a Spartan. In 155.0 innings, she is averaging 7.46 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 .397 so far this season and has set career highs in hits (31), doubles (7), triples (1), homers (2), RBIs (12), slugging percentage (.590), walks (6), on base percentage (.435), putouts (39) and assists (3).
ONE SWING OF THE BAT
With one swing of the bat, Madison Aurin (So., INF, Bakersfield, Calif.) reminded everyone of the power she possesses. Against Boise State (4/15) Aurin, who set the program’s freshmen home run record last season with 10 round-trippers, hit just the second home run at the Spartans temporary home field at Mission College.
With the game scoreless in the bottom of the fourth and two runners on, Aurin snapped her wrists on a 2-1 offering and when it came down it was beyond the fence in the left center field alley. The three runs gave her the team lead with 23 RBIs.