San Jose, Calif. - Coming off a three-game sweep at Nevada, the San José State Spartans host Fresno State in a series, which is critical for SJSU’s hopes of winning the Mountain West Conference title.
San José State Spartans (22-21, 11-4 MW)
#20/#21 Fresno State Bulldogs (34-9-1, 15-0 MW)
April 29 - 12:00 p.m.; April 30 - 12:00 p.m.; May 1 - 12:00 p.m.
SJSU Field (500) - San Jose, Calif.
LIVE STATS: Game Tracker (www.sjsuspartans.com)
VIDEO:Spartan Digital/Mountain West Network (April 29 & May 1)
ABACHERLI & LINFORD MW PLAYER & PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Brittany Abacherli (So., OF, Corona, Calif.) and Katelyn Linford (Jr., RHP, San Ramon, Calif.) were named the Mountain West Conference Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for games played from April 18 through April 24. In that time frame, the Spartans swept three games from the Nevada Wolf Pack.
In the series, Abacherli hit .500 (6-for-12) scored seven times and drove in three. She had a pair of doubles and a triple and scored the winning runs in games one and two of the series and drove in the game winner in the series finale. This is the first MW Player of the Week honor of Abacherli’s career.
Linford appeared in all three games posting a 2-0 record in two starts and one appearance out of the bullpen. She was in the circle for a total of 15.1 innings, posted a 2.74 ERA and struck out 10. Linford held the Wolf Pack to 3-for-15 (.200) with runners in scoring position.
She won game one, 11-1, tossing a complete game and allowing just one unearned run. In game two she pitched four inning of shutout relief and earned the win in a 12-4 victory. In the final game of the series, a 12-8 win, Linford got the start and was perfect through three innings, before being lifted in the fifth with a 7-5 lead. In her first 14 innings of work, Linford did not allow an earned run to score.
It is the first MW Pitcher of the Week honor of Linford’s career.
HUFSTETLER’S RECORD BOOK ASSAULT
Jessie Hufstetler (Sr., INF, Atascadero, Calif.) has staked her claim to being one of the best hitters in San José State history, ranking in the top-3 of 12 career offensive categories including the career-leader in eight.
Category Rank Total (Rcrd)
Batting Average 1 .391
Slugging % 1 .643
On-Base % 1 .487
Doubles 1 53
Walks 1 88
Hit by Pitch 1 32
RBI 1 180
Total Bases 1 377
Sacrifice Flies 2 9 (10)
Home Runs 3 26 (35)
Hits 3 229 (266)
Runs 3 128 (164)
With a good season, she could add career-leader in sacrifice flies already impressive resume.
DOUBLE-DIGIT HITS LEAD TO GOOD THINGS
In 43 games this year SJSU has reached double-digit hits 21 times including 12-of-15 Mountain West games. When the Spartans bang out at least 10 hits in a game they are 17-4, including a 10-2 in conference play.
SPARTANS SWEEP CONFERENCE AWARDS AGAIN
With the naming of Brittany Abacherli (So., OF, Corona, Calif.) and Katelyn Linford (Jr., RHP, San Ramon, Calif.) the Player and Pitcher of the Week in the Mountain West, San José State is the only team, in the nine-team Mountain West Conference, to have swept the league’s weekly awards two times this season. On April 5 Colette Riggs (Jr., RHP, Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Jessie Hufstetler (Sr., INF, Atascadero, Calif.) did the deed.
LEADING THE MW IN POW HONORS
Between Brittany Abacherli (So., OF, Corona, Calif.), Katelyn Linford (Jr., RHP, San Ramon, Calif.), Colette Riggs (Jr., RHP, Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Jessie Hufstetler (Sr., INF, Atascadero, Calif.) Spartans players have logged a Mountain West Conference high five Player/Pitcher of the Week honor, more than any other school in the league.
NATIONAL HONORS FOR HUFSTETLER
Hours after Jessie Hufstetler (Sr., INF, Atascadero, Calif.) earned Mountain West Player of the Week honors on April 5, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and USA Softball selected her for each organization’s weekly recognition.
The NFCA named her its Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week and USA Softball announced she was their Collegiate Player of the Week.
Hufstetler is the first Spartan to be honored with either USA Softball or NFCA’s weekly national award.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
In the first five weeks of the season, the Spartans failed to post a winning record in any tournament in which they competed, and only twice won as many as two games in a seven-day stretch.
However, in its last 23 games the Spartans are 17-6, which includes three-game sweeps of UNLV and Nevada.
In that 23-game stretch SJSU has averaged 8.7 runs per game.
THESE LADIES CAN SWING THE SHILLELAGH
San José State has nine players who have started at least 20 games this season and eight are batting at least .300. Jessica Madrid (Sr., OF, Santa Ana, Calif.) leads the team with a .402 average. Taylor Purdy (Sr., INF, Barstow, Calif.) is the only Spartan to appear in and start every game this year and ranks second with a .380 average.
In total, SJSU has 11 players who are hitting above .300 for the year.
In conference play that number goes up to 12. Madrid leads the team with a gaudy .510 average. Four Spartans are at .400 or above: Jessie Hufstetler (.481), Brittany Abacherli and Purdy (.417) and Casey Watt (.400). Seven others are at or above .300.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Fresno State starts the week with an overall record of 34-9-1, 15-0 in conference play and are ranked #20/#21. The team swept the Colorado State Rams last weekend and has won 16 games in a row.
The Bulldogs pitching staff boasts the conferences second-best ERA at 3.32 and its batters rank second among the nine teams in the league with a .320 average.
Lindsey Willmon leads Fresno State with a .345 batting average and 10 doubles. Alyssa Villalpando is the top run producer for the Bulldogs with a conference leading 46 RBI.
In the circle, Jill Compton leads the team and the Mountain West in wins (20), innings (149.1), strikeouts (105), and starts (24).
Head coach Trisha Ford, who brought a 101-61 record in three years at Fresno State into the 2016 season, leads the Bulldogs.
In the all-time series, the Bulldogs hold an overwhelming 84-12 advantage. In games contested in San Jose, it is equally as bleak for the Spartans trailing 38-8 all time.