Tempe, Ariz. – The San Jose State University softball team blasted two solo homers, but San Diego State bombed a two-out grand slam in the fifth to eliminate the Spartans with a 5-2 win in the NCAA Tempe Regional, hosted by Arizona State.
San Jose State is now 0-6 overall in postseason play. Their two runs scored in both games at the NCAA Tempe Regional are postseason program highs.
"We played well, but we didn't play well enough to win," said head coach Peter Turner. "San Diego State had a key hit, and it came down to that."
SPARTANS CONTINUE TO STRIKE EARLY
For the fourth-straight game, San Jose State (42-17) got on the scoreboard in the opening two innings. In the first, Markesha Collins, who reached base in 52 games this season, rocketed a solo home run for the 1-0 score. Her 10th homer of the season moved Collins into a tie with San Jose State Undergraduate Assistant Coach Breanna Lopez for third on the Spartans’ single-season home run list.
"The home run felt good," Collins said, "but it would have felt better if we won."
The Spartans and Aztecs, both regular season conference champions, each displayed stellar defensive prowess and traded highlight reel catches in their respective outfields. In the top of the fourth, San Diego State (36-19) centerfielder Patrice Jackson leaped through the air to grab Cheryl Freitas’ shot. The second half of the fourth saw Markesha Collins snatching Lorena Bauer’s ball in shallow left field inches from the ground.
Jackson’s stellar day continued during her next plate appearance. In the fifth, the Aztecs loaded the bases after hitting three singles and reaching on a fielder’s choice. With two outs, Jackson, the Mountain West Player of the Year, bombed a grand slam to give San Diego State a 5-1 lead.
The Spartans didn’t go down quietly, however. In the seventh, Jessica Garcia blasted the Spartans’ second solo home run of the game to cut San Diego State’s lead to three. But Aztec reliever Danielle O’Toole struck out San Jose State’s final two batters for the final 5-2 score.
"I am really proud of this team," Turner said. "I've never liked a group as much as I like this group, and I wish we could play another weekend."
BATTLE OF TOP CONFERENCE PITCHERS
In the circle for San Jose State, WAC Pitcher of the Year Amanda Pridmore (29-11) scattered six hits and struck out one, walking three batters. The Mountain West Pitcher of the Year, Rebecca Arbino (21-13) allowed four hits with four strikeouts in six innings of work. O’Toole fanned two batters in one inning of relief to earn the save.
FINAL GAMES FOR THE SPARTANS’ SIX SENIORS
The Spartans’ second game at the NCAA Tempe Regional marked the final game for San Jose State’s six seniors. Pridmore finishes her San Jose State career as the Spartans’ all-time leader in single-season wins (29), saves (7), strikeouts (254), and strikeouts in a seven-inning game (6.79), and career wins (73), saves (17) and strikeouts (709).
Pridmore reflected on her five years playing at San Jose State: "We had some rough years in the beginning of my career. But this year, our team came together as one and accomplished most of our goals from the beginning of the season."
Collins, meanwhile, is the Spartans’ career (83) and single-season (35) walks leader, and has the program’s top single-season on-base (.476) and slugging percentages (.637).
NCAA Tempe Regional
May 18, 2013
San Jose State...... 100 000 1 - 2 5 1 (42-17)
San Diego State..... 001 040 X - 5 6 0 (36-19)
WP-ARBINO (21-13) LP-Pridmore, Amanda (29-11) T-1:42 A-455
HR SJSU - Collins, Markesha (10), Garcia, Jessica (3)
HR SDSU - JACKSON (17)