By Benjamin Siepak
For the first time since joining the Mountain West Conference, the San Jose State softball team clinched a conference title.
Despite a 9-1 loss to the UNLV Rebels yesterday, San Diego State’s fall-apart loss to Nevada secured the Spartans their first championship.
By winning the conference, the Spartans receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Softball Championship Tournament — marking the program’s first bid since 2013.
The Spartans have been climbing their way to the top of the conference since joining in 2014 when they finished the season as the fifth seed. The following season they finished third, and last season they placed second in the Mountain West.
News broke about their first conference title clinch as the Spartans were trailing 5-1 in the 2nd inning.
Coming off a 1-0 win on Thursday in the opening game of the series, the Spartans were unable to find their groove in game 2.
The Rebels took control of the game early on, capitalizing on two Spartan errors in the first inning to take a 3-1 lead in the first inning. They knocked in two more in the second inning, and never looked back after that.
UNLV snapped the Spartans nine-game winning streak with a 9-1 victory on 13 hits — the most hits given up by SJSU in their last 17 conference games.
The Mountain West Conference champion Spartans will conclude their three-game series with UNLV tomorrow in Las Vegas at 11am PT— also concluding regular season play.