Offense and pitching powers Spartans to 4-1 start

By Sara Biela (@sarabielaa ):

San Jose State softball came out of the Kajikawa Classic victorious by completing an outstanding weekend with a 4-1 record.

In the five-game stretch, the Spartans combined for 46 runs on 35 hits.

After a high-scoring 16-12 win against the South Dakota Coyotes (0-6) on Thursday, SJSU’s pitchers allowed only eight runs in the final four games.

Six of the eight runs came against No.11 Tennessee.

The Spartans were down 3-0 by the third frame, but quickly tied it in the bottom half of the inning. Sophomore shortstop Mackenzie Drake hit a three-run homer to left center to tie it.

The Lady Vols responded with four runs of their own in the following inning to make it 7-3. UT’s third baseman Chelsea Seggern and first baseman Ashley Morgan both hit 2-RBI singles.

In the bottom of the fourth, junior pitcher and first baseman Madison Aurin hit a solo shot to left center to get one back, making it 7-4.

Freshman left fielder Desiree Reyes’ RBI single and a fielding error by UT’s second baseman Aubrey Leach helped make it a one-run game in the sixth.

Down a run in the seventh, the Spartans loaded the bases with two outs and had the chance to walk off. However, on a controversial batter’s interference call issued on Reyes, the Lady Vols (6-0) escaped with a 7-6 win. On a 1-2 count, Reyes fouled off a third pitch, but was called out for making contact outside of the batter’s box.

After taking a tough loss that could have been a win for the Spartans, they looked to bounce back against the Purdue Boilermakers that same night.

The Spartans scored 11 runs in the second and third frames, which carried them to a 11-1 victory. The Boilermakers’ (1-4) only run of the game came by a single up the middle from second baseman Stephanie Ramsey. Freshman pitcher Caroline Bowman threw a complete game, only allowing one run on three hits in five innings of work.

Senior third baseman Emma Entzminger and junior catcher Alyssa Avila both had three RBIs on the day, with junior designated hitter Kristen Heffley and Aurin both having two.

The Spartan offense looked to stay hot the next day against the Indiana Hoosiers. In the first frame, Aurin made it 1-0 on a sac fly, but IU immediately responded from the quick feet of centerfielder Rebecca Blitz as she stole home to make it 1-1.

Sophomore Cassidy Clark broke the tie in the seventh with an RBI single, making it 2-1. The second baseman had the only two hits for SJSU.

The Hoosiers (0-5) made it interesting in the bottom half, but the Spartans were able to hold on and win the pitchers duel by the same score. Aurin threw a six-hit complete game, with 17 outs via groundout.

The Spartans were on a roll going into their final game against the University of Texas at El Paso Miners. SJSU jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings. Two of the six runs came by separate wild pitches from UTEP’s pitcher Kira McKechnie.

Entzminger added on another run with a sac fly to make it 7-0 after three frames. The Spartans did not stop there as they got across another four runs in the fourth to make it 11-0.

Freshman catcher Grace Garvey doubled down the right field line and cleared the bases. The Miners’ relief pitcher Julia Wright gave up four of her five walks in the inning.

Bowman threw a complete game shutout, her second CG of the tournament, holding UTEP (1-4) to five hits.

The Spartans will head to Las Vegas this weekend for a five-game set in the Marucci Desert Classic. First pitch against Idaho State is Friday at 9 a.m.


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