DAVIS, Calif. – In softball, the San Jose State Spartans will enter Mountain West Conference play on a seven-game winning streak, including a perfect 5-0 record in Aggie Invitational I hosted by UC Davis. On Saturday, San Jose State wrapped up the Aggie Invitational with a 4-1 win over the Iowa State Cyclones, aided by the commanding pitching of senior Katelyn Linford, who improved to a career best 11-2 record on the season.
“She’s been flawless almost all week long,” said San Jose State head coach Peter Turner about Linford.
“You get on a streak like this, you start believing, especially when you’re a young team,” added Turner.
Neither team scored in the first four innings, despite plenty of chances. Although Kelsey McFarland hit a one-out double in the top of the first for Iowa State, a groundout and pickoff followed. In the second inning, Kirsten Caudle and Sami Williams both got one-out base hits, but San Jose State ended the inning with a double play. Meanwhile, San Jose State loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first inning, only for Alexandra Luna and Mackenzie Drake to strike out swinging.
“We’ve been struggling a bit at the plate,” explained Turner. “You’re going to have games like that, so might as well hand it to the pitcher, and we’ve got to get better at moving the ball aggressively.”
Hit on the shoulder by a pitch, Emma Entzminger got a leadoff two-strike walk that the umpire initially ruled a foul. That seemed to spark an otherwise stagnant offense, as Casey Watt tripled down right center to score Entzminger and make San Jose State’s first hit. Two walks later, Madison Aurin made a sacrifice fly to right field that sent Watt home and extended the lead to 2-0. After walking Kristen Heffley, Iowa State put reliever Savannah Sanders in the circle to replace starter Brianna Weilbacher, who got the loss. Sanders ended the fifth inning on a three-pitch swinging strikeout of Georgia Blair.
Iowa State also stole second base twice, once in the fourth then in the sixth.
“We knew they were quick, and we didn’t have the handle on both of those,” said Turner.
Chelsea Jenner led off the sixth inning with another right center triple, and her Canadian compatriot Entzminger skied the ball deep into left field for another sac fly RBI. Aurin again punished Iowa State for walking two batters by hitting an extra-base single up midfield that scored Cassidy Clark and put San Jose State up 4-0.
Iowa State finally scored a run in the seventh off a two-out homer by Williams, but that would be all, as Linford induced a swinging strikeout to Sally Woolpert.
Conference play begins on Friday with a three-game home series against Nevada, with the University of the Pacific’s Bill Simoni Field in Stockton serving as an alternate home field as San Jose State’s softball field is under reconstruction. San Jose State enters that portion of the season with a 17-9 record.
- Saturday marks the first seven-game winning streak during a season since Feb. 27, 2015. San Jose State finished the 2015 season 37-19 (17-7 Mountain West).
- Overall, the last seven-game win streak happened after the Feb. 9, 2017 season opener vs. Creighton at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. That win followed the six-game win streak that ended the 2016 season.
- San Jose State is 3-3 this year when making three or fewer hits, the other two victories being against Virginia and UTEP and the losses being to Oregon, Grand Canyon, and Miami (Oh.)
- On Mar. 3, senior left fielder Chelsea Jenner and junior at third base Emma Entzminger were invited by the Canadian women's national team to its upcoming selection camp that takes place in June. They are among 29 participants, including Sarah Chow, an alum of peer Mountain West school Utah State.