San Jose, Calif. - San José State softball plays its final Mountain West regular-season series at UNLV this week, with a magic number of two to wrap up the conference championship and earn the NCAA Tourney automatic bid.
San José State Spartans (35-15, 15-6 MW)
UNLV Rebels (23-26, 6-15 MW)
May 11 - 6:00 p.m., May 12 - 6:00 p.m., May 13- 12:00 p.m. (PT)
Eller Media Stadium (770) - Las Vegas, Nev.
Live Stats at www.sjsuspartans.com
Streaming Video Available for Thursday’s and Friday’s games
SCOUTING THE REBELS
UNLV enters the week with a 23-26 record, 6-15 in conference play and in a tie for last place in the Mountain West standings. The meeting will be both teams final conference series of the year.
The Rebels .268 team batting average is the eighth best in the league and ranks 177th in the nation. Janine Petmecky leads the offense with a .340 average (51-for-150). She also leads her team with 28 RBIs. Brianna Gatlin, batting .329 (48-for-146), leads UNLV with 29 runs, a .521 slugging percentage and a .417 on base percentage.
In the circle, Morgan Ettinger (12-16) has started 27 of the team’s 49 games. She has 16 complete games, three shutouts and a 3.34 ERA. In 165.2 innings she has 99 strikeouts and 47 walks. Opposing batters are hitting .294 off her this season. Breana Burke ranks second with eight starts, has a 3-4 record and a 3.00 ERA. In 53.2 innings she has struck out and walked nine and opponents are hitting .288 off her.
Fifth-year head coach Lisa Dodd brought a 96-120 record, all at UNLV, into the 2017 season.
In the all-time series, SJSU trails UNLV 42-21. In games played in Las Vegas, the Rebels have owned San José State to the tune of a 23-7 advantage, including 20-5 from 1987-1999.
Since SJSU joined the MW, the Spartans are 7-2 including 2-1 on the Rebels home field.
AND THEN THERE WERE THREE
With three games left in the regular season, only three teams, San José State (15-6), San Diego State (13-8) and Fresno State (12-8), are left that can claim the Mountain West crown and the conference’s automatic bid to the 2017 NCAA Division I Softball Championship Tournament.
San José State controls its destiny and its magic number to eliminate Fresno State is one. Any combination of one Spartans win or one Bulldogs loss and Fresno State is eliminated.
SJSU’s magic number to eliminate San Diego State is two. Any combination of two Spartans’ wins, two Aztecs’ losses or a San José State win and SDSU loss ends San Diego State’s chance to claim the title.
On Thursday and Friday, Fresno State plays at Colorado State at 3:00 p.m. (PT), SDSU plays at Nevada at 4:00 p.m. (PT). With the Spartans and Rebels playing at 6:00 p.m. (PT) both nights, SJSU will know what needs to be done before they take the field.
If necessary on Saturday, Fresno State plays CSU at 11:00 a.m. (PT). The Aztecs and Wolf Pack, as well as the Spartans and Rebels, play at noon (PT).
AURIN NAMED MW PLAYER OF THE WEEK
With a .545 batting average and a three-game sweep of Utah State, the first-place team in the conference coming into last weekend, Madison Aurin (So., INF, Bakersfield, Calif.) earned Mountain West Player Of The Week honors.
Aurin, a product of Centennial High School in Bakersfield, Calif., went 6-for-11 in the team’s three games, pounded out a pair of doubles and drove in six runs without a strikeout. She slugged .747 in the series with a .545 on-base percentage.
The sophomore first baseman registered at least one hit and one RBI in all three contests.
In the series opener, Aurin went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in a 7-3 win. Then on Saturday in a 2-1 victory, she drove in the game-winning run with a double in the third inning. In the finale, she went 2-for-4 with a double and three runs batted in, as San José State closed the series with a 6-1 win.
With the sweep, the Spartans moved into first place in the Mountain West standings and have a magic number of two to win the conference championship and earn its automatic bid to the NCAA Championship Tournament.
This is the first Mountain West Softball Player of the Week honor for Aurin in her career. It is the second MW Player of the Week honor for a Spartan this year. Chelsea Jenner earned the honor earlier this season. Aurin has also been nominated for USA Softball and NFCA National Player of the Week.
PEAKING AT THE RIGHT TIME
Since an 8-2 loss in the opening game of its three-game series at Fresno State (4/21), SJSU has won eight straight games and has surged into first place in the Mountain West. The Spartans have a two-game lead with three games to play. SJSU’s eight-game winning streak is the longest in Mountain West play this season.
The current streak is the second time this year San José State has strung together eight consecutive wins, the first coming at the end of the non-conference schedule. To take this a little further, the Spartans have won 12 of their last 13, dating back to a 3-2 victory over Colorado State on April 9.
SENIORS GO OUT WITH A BANG
Five San José 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.), competed on home turf for the final time in their careers last weekend. As a group, they are the third consecutive class to finish their careers without ever suffering a losing season.
Watt led the team with a .727 (8-for-11) batting average. She scored three times, drove in three, slugged .818, had an on base percentage of .727 and stole a base.
In 21 innings in the circle, Riggs and Linford had a combined 1.33 ERA, 18 strikeouts, gave up four earned runs, scattered 12 hits, walked just two and held Utah State to a .158 batting average.
Jenner scored three times and had a pair of doubles.