SDSU Softball Splits Two; Holds MWC Top Spot with Two Games Left
May 7, 2004
SAN DIEGO - San Diego State split a Mountain West Conference softball doubleheader with Utah on Friday afternoon, falling in the opener, 2-1, to snap its 15-game home MWC winning streak before rebounding to win the finale, 2-0. The Aztecs (36-20, 14-4 MWC) lead Colorado State (36-13, 12-4 MWC) in the MWC standings (see above) as SDSU is looking to win its third consecutive regular-season championship. San Diego State will also play the final two Aztec games at SDSU Field on Saturday as a new facility is being built next to Tony Gwynn Stadium and is scheduled to be completed by October 2004.
Game one saw a magnificent pitcher's dual as neither team had anybody reach base until Utah designated player Kate Nygaard slammed a home run over the right-center field fence in the top of the third.
The Aztecs earned their first runner in the fifth as second baseman Joann Figueroa (Phoenix, Ariz.) singled up the middle with one out. After moving to second on a ground out, she scored when Utah second baseman Jackie Wong ran in for a grounder and it went off her glove and rolled across the foul line between home and first before being retrieved, tying the game, 1-1.
Utah however scored the game winner in the seventh. After a single, a ball uncharacteristically went through the legs of third baseman Kelcy Murphy (San Diego, Calif.) and a subsequent single scored the go-ahead run for the Utes, who retired the Aztecs in order in the bottom of the seventh to complete a 2-1 Ute win.
"I'm not disappointed in losing," head coach Kathy Van Wyk said. "I'm disappointed that we did not play the way that we have been playing, mentally and emotionally. We hung back a little and I'm not sure why. I know the team wants it (a regular-season championship) so badly it can taste it. Maybe we're putting too much pressure on ourselves. We need to go out, have fun, play hard and let the scores take care of themselves."
San Diego State rebounded in game two, scoring single tallies in the third and fourth for a 2-0 victory. In the third, shortstop Meagan Hartung (San Diego, Calif.) bunted for a single and, after being sacrificed to second by right fielder Bree Boyer (Huntington Beach, Calif.), scored on a base hit to center from center fielder Janna Kovensky (San Diego, Calif.)
The Aztecs added to their lead in the fourth when Figueroa reached on an error, stole second and crossed home on a single to center from catcher Danielle Touhey (Fresno, Calif.). Touhey would lead the Aztec hitting in game two, going 2-for-3.
Aztec hurler Celena Velasquez (Tucson, Ariz.) continued her hot MWC play with a complete-game shutout in game two, her first start since April 3 after coming in relief her last 12 appearances. In MWC action, she is 6-0 with five saves and a 0.32 ERA. The previous MWC record for lowest ERA was 0.81, set by Velasquez as a freshman last season. In Velasquez's past 63.1 innings and 19 appearances, she is 9-0 with five saves and has allowed four runs, two earned, for a 0.22 ERA in that time span. Overall on the season, she is 15-4 with a 1.17 ERA.
In what will be a historic day regardless, three Aztec records are in danger of being passed or tied on Saturday. Murphy's 102 career RBI ties her with Erryn Gutjahr (1996-99). With an outstanding day, she could also set a new season record, her 35 RBI this season just six short of Murphy's record-setting 2002 campaign of 41 RBI. Hartung's 28 walks this season is tied with Anne Marie Risquez's 1998 season for the Aztec record, although Kovensky is not far behind with 25. Kovensky's 57 career stolen bases are only two behind Kelley Santa Cruz's (1996-98) 59.
San Diego State closes out Aztec play at SDSU Field with a MWC doubleheader against BYU at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The MWC Tournament will be played from May 13-15 in Fort Collins, Colo.