San Jose, Calif. - The San José State Spartans softball team will honor five seniors on Saturday as part of a three-game series against the Utah State Aggies which has Mountain West Championship implications.
San Jose State Spartans (32-15, 12-6 MW)
Utah State Aggies (32-12, 14-6 MW)
May 5 - 12:00 p.m., May 6 - 12:00 p.m., May 7- 11:00 a.m. (PT)
Turner Field (500) - Santa Clara, Calif.
SCOUTING THE AGGIES
Utah State enters the week with a 32-12 record, 14-6 in conference play and in a tie in the loss column at the top of the Mountain West standings with San José State. The USU’s meeting with the Spartans will be its final conference series of the year.
Its .325 team batting average is the second best in the league and ranks 10th in the nation. The Aggies lead the league in homers (44) and stolen bases (89). The offense is Riley Plogger with a .394 average (50-for-127). She also leads her team with 37 RBIs and a .459 on base percentage. Victoria Saucedo, batting .385 (55-for-143), leads the USU and ranks second in the league with 10 homers.
In the circle, Kellie White (17-5) has started 22 of the team’s 44 games. She has 16 complete games, two shutouts and a 2.24 ERA with 79 strikeouts and 73 walks in 156.0 innings. Opposing batters are hitting .219 off her this season. April Brown has a 13-4 record in 17 starts. In113.2 innings she has struck out 85 and walked 51 and opponents are hitting .227 off her.
Fourth-year head coach Steve Johnson brought a 63-98 record all at Utah State into the 2017 season.
In the all-time series, SJSU leads the Utah State 39-30. In games played in San Jose, SJSU is 18-11. In the last 15 meetings dating back to the 2012 season, the Spartans are 13-2 against Utah State, 6-0 on its home field.
TOP TEAMS IN THE MW MEET THIS WEEK
It all may come down to the three-game series this weekend between the Spartans and Aggies to determine which team will represent the Mountain West in the 2017 NCAA Division I Softball Championship.
Each team in the MW is scheduled to play 24 games in the conference season with each team having a bye week coming in the nine weeks of competition. After this series, USU’s conference schedule will be complete. SJSU will travel to play UNLV next week to finish its 24 conference games.
The Spartans and Aggies are tied in the loss column, with the Utah State having won 14 games and San José State 12.
For SJSU to move ahead of the Aggies they will have to defeat them at least twice and then take at least two at UNLV in the final week in order to end the season ahead of Utah State.
SENIORS HONORED SATURDAY NIGHT
Five San Jose State seniors, Chelsea Jenner (Sr., OF, Abbotsford, B.C.), Katelyn Linford (Sr., RHP, San Ramon, Calif.), Colette Riggs (Sr., RHP, Yorba Linda, Calif.), Emily Rogers (Sr., RHP, Corona, Calif.) and Casey Watt (Sr., OF, Salinas, Calif.) are competing on home turf for the final time in their careers this weekend.
Being a fifth-year senior, Watt is the last player with ties to the Spartans 2013 WAC Champions and NCAA Tournament team and all five have never suffered a losing season in their college careers.
Senior Ceremonies will commence approximately an hour and an half after the conclusion of Saturday’s game in the Gold Room in the Simpkins Stadium Center adjacent to CEFCU Stadium.
ENTZMINGER TAKING THEM FOR THE TEAM
For Emma Entzminger (Jr., INF, Victoria, B.C., Canada) it’s all about the team and helping any way she can. Last year she was hit by opposing pitchers 12 times, the third most in a season for a Spartan. Fast forward to 2017 and she appears to continue to be a prime target for opposing pitchers. This year Entzminger has been plunked 15 times, one off Jessie Hufstetler’s single-season record for a Spartan. On a national level, she ranks 19th as the most hit batter in Division I.
In the 13 games Entzminger has been hit this year, in two games she was hit twice, SJSU is 10-3, so pitchers feel free to come inside when she is up to bat!
On the career list, Entzminger ranks second being hit, a total of 32 times in a little less than three years. Hufstetler holds the school’s career record with 37 HBPs.
CLARK NOT GOING DOWN SWINGING
When it comes to putting the ball in play only three 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 fourth toughest hitter to K in the NCAA. In 119 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 53 more without a strikeout. Clark .510 on base percentage ranks 39th in the nation and second in the Mountain West.
LINNY AND THE LISTS
With 20 wins entering this week, Katelyn Linford (Sr., RHP, San Ramon, Calif.) is ranked fourth on the single-season list. Amanda 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 46 wins and 362 strikeouts are the fifth most for a Spartan as is her 5.42 strikeouts per seven innings. In addition, she ranks in the top-10 in appearances (115), starts (77) and innings pitched (467.1).
WINNING IS HABIT FORMING
With the Spartans 4-3 victory over Fresno State on April 22, head coach Peter Turner secured his program’s fifth straight winning season. In Turner’s first six seasons at the helm of the San José State program, he had one winning season and one in which the team was 28-28.
Including games played through last weekend, in the last four-plus seasons, Turner’s teams are 169-99, a .635 winning percentage.