Ruston, La. – WAC Pitcher of the Year and the Tournament MVP Amanda Pridmore pitched a one-hitter and Markesha Collins drove in the game-winning run to lead the top-seeded San Jose State University softball team to its first-ever Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championship after shutting out New Mexico State, 4-0.
San Jose State (42-15) beat New Mexico State for the fifth time this season to capture the first WAC Championship title in school history, and advance to the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans’ NCAA Regional selection will be announced Sunday at 7:00 p.m. (PDT) on ESPNU.
“Knowing that we play another weekend and are going to the NCAA Tournament is incredible,” head coach Peter Turner said. “This team has played almost flawlessly the last two weeks, and to hold New Mexico State down for five straight games is a testament to how strong we are. You don’t beat that quality of a team five-straight times.”
SAN JOSE STATE TAKES EARLY LEAD
In the first inning, San Jose State took a 2-0 lead on an RBI-double by Collins and Jessie Hufstetler’s RBI-single. Michelle Cox started the rally with a one-out bunt single and scored on Collins’ double to right center in the next at bat. Two batters later, with Collins on third, Hufstetler singled to center and Collins scored to make it 2-0.
In the sixth inning, the Spartans doubled its 2-0 lead. New Mexico State (37-20) committed its third error of the game as a fielding error allowed Casey Watt to score from second. Vanessa House crossed home plate for the final 4-0 score on the next play when Nicole Schultz grounded out and Kelsey Dodd’s throw from first to home was late.
SPARTANS’ MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS HONORED
Collins and Hufstetler, who both had a hand in all three of the Spartans’ game-winning rallies, were named to the All-WAC Tournament team.
Hufstetler drove in five of the team’s eight runs. “We recruited Jessie knowing that she is a great hitter, and she has been Miss Clutch for us all year, getting the big hits with two outs,” Turner said. “She has her best years ahead of her, and each day, she gets better. Her contributions have been huge this year.”
Collins batted .429 (3-for-7) and scored a run in each of San Jose State’s three wins. “Markesha has been a leader on this team this year and makes contributions when things aren’t going well,” Turner said. “She picks up our young players and is good at hitting the ball well in the clutch. I’m proud of her for what she has done this year.”
SOLID PITCHING LEADS SAN JOSE STATE TO VICTORY
Pridmore (29-9) pitched the fourth one-hitter of her career, and second this season. She walked one and faced just three batters over the minimum in the complete-game win. Said Turner of her performance, “She pitched to contact well and did what we wanted her to do, which was to hit to locations and have short innings.”
Pridmore was named the WAC Tournament MVP after she earned complete-game victories in each of the Spartans’ three wins. During the tournament, she recorded two shutouts and posted a 0.33 ERA, holding opponents to a .157 batting average with 12 strikeouts.
Makayla McAdams (4-3) suffered the loss for New Mexico State. In two-third of an inning pitched, she scattered three hits and allowed two runs. In 4.1 innings of relief, Celisha Walker also allowed two runs on three hits. Alex Newman pitched one perfect inning, relieving Walker.
RECORD-SETTING 2013 SPARTANS
In 2013, Pridmore has set or tied seven San Jose State pitching records. She attributed her success to her teammates. “They’re supportive and encouraging. If I have a bad inning, they are there to pick me up. That level of support and encouragement makes a big difference.”
San Jose State will make its third NCAA Tournament appearance, and its first since 1992. Pridmore explained why she believes the 2013 Spartans have advanced this far. “We have a die-hard attitude,” she said. “We put everything we have into games, and we don’t ever give up. Even though we are looked at as the underdog, we have a lot of fight and our team camaraderie is a major part of that.”
Said Turner of his team’s accomplishment, “It has always been our goal to be one of the 64 who play in the NCAA Regionals. To do that and win both the WAC regular season and the WAC Tournament is indescribable.”
All-WAC Tournament Team
Brooke Baker, Texas State
Kelli Baker, Texas State
Markesha Collins, San Jose State
Kelsey Dodd, New Mexico State
Melanie Goff, Louisiana Tech
Jessie Hufstetler, San Jose State
Amanda Krueger, Louisiana Tech
Alex Newman, New Mexico State
Haylee Staton, UTSA
Nina Villanueva, UT Arlington
MVP: Amanda Pridmore, San Jose State
May 11, 2013
San Jose State 4, New Mexico State 0
New Mexico State.... 000 000 0 - 0 1 3 (37-20)
San Jose State...... 200 002 X - 4 6 0 (42-15)
Pitchers: New Mexico State - McAdams, M; Walker, C(1); Newman, A(6) and Ruiz, A.
San Jose State - Pridmore, Amanda and Garcia, Jessica.
Win-Pridmore, Amanda(29-9) Loss-McAdams, M(4-3) T-1:31 A-243
Walker, C faced 2 batters in the 6th.