By Sara Biela (@sarabielaa):
With uncertainty of the team’s strength in the circle, San Jose State softball put its skills to the test as it traveled to Tempe, Ariz. to begin the Kajikawa Classic.
The Spartans (1-0) opened the season with a high-scoring comeback win over the South Dakota Coyotes (0-2), 16-12.
Freshman catcher Grace Garvey and sophomore outfielder Kaelin Amrein had knockout performances with a grand slam apiece. The team had four home runs in total in the victory.
SJSU showed its pitching struggles early, giving up eight runs in the first three innings to make it 8-2 Coyotes.
Freshmen pitchers Caroline Bowman and Morgan Orchard combined for 10 runs on nine hits in 3 ⅓ innings.
With the help of defensive errors behind Coyotes’ starting pitcher Sarah Lisko who accounted for one herself, the momentum began to change direction.
The Spartans’ offense erupted and was able to put up nine runs in the fifth frame to take a 12-10 lead.
USD answered and tied the game in the sixth with a two-run homer from 5-foot second baseman Alyssa Fernandez.
In the top of the seventh, Amrein’s game-winning grand slam put the Spartans up for good.
Junior first baseman Madison Aurin went 3-4 with 3 RBIs on a homer and two singles.
Sophomore pitcher Desiree Severance held the Coyotes to two runs in 3 ⅔ innings of relief, and earned her first career win as a Spartan.
SJSU’s second game of the double-header was canceled after the Missouri Tigers experienced flight trouble earlier in the day. There is no word yet of any rescheduling.
The Kajikawa Classic continues tomorrow with the Spartans facing the No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers at 1:15 p.m. and the Purdue Boilermakers at 6:30 p.m.
The Volunteers hold a 4-1 all-time series advantage over the Spartans, whereas the all-time series with the Boilermakers is tied at two games apiece.