No. 19/21 Aztec Softball Plays Host to MWC Foes Colorado State, New Mexico

May 1, 2008


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No. 19/21 Aztec Softball Plays Host to MWC Foes Colorado State, New Mexico This Weekend
Coming off a successful 7-2 road trip, the San Diego State softball team plays host to Mountain West Conference foes Colorado State and New Mexico this weekend.

The Aztecs (37-15, 9-5 MWC), who are ranked No. 19 by Softball and No. 21 by USA Today/NFCA, will take on the Rams (24-19, 4-8 MWC) in a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m. Friday. Following the doubleheader, SDSU will meet the Lobos (23-20, 5-7 MWC) at 1 p.m. Saturday and again at 1 p.m. Sunday.

This weekend's games will be the final home contests of the regular season for San Diego State and the final home games for seniors Megan McDonald, Christina Ross and Tamani Wells. A special ceremony will honor the three departing seniors following Sunday's game.

Aztec Quick Hits

  • After a successful 7-2 road trip, San Diego State is back in action this weekend against conference foes Colorado State and New Mexico. See A Look at Colorado State and Noting New Mexico, page 2-3.

  • The Aztecs moved up a spot in the latest Softball poll to No. 19 and dropped one place in the USA Today/NFCA poll to No. 21. See Movin' on Up..., page 3.

  • SDSU is ranked No. 21 out of 282 schools in the latest NCAA RPI and No. 25 in the NFCA RPI. See Aztecs and the RPI, page 3-4.

  • 12 of SDSU's 15 losses this season have been by two runs or less. See So Close..., page 4.

  • The Aztec pitching staff continues to roll its way through opponent after opponent. See Aztec Pitchers Back to Their Same Old Tricks, page 4.

  • To say SDSU senior Christina Ross is having one of the best seasons in the circle in school history might be an understatement. See In Ross We Trust, page 4.

  • Many Aztecs continue to climb up the career and single-season charts. See Aztec Records, page 18-19.

    Follow the Aztecs
    As always, you can follow the Aztecs via gametracker on Gametracker for each SDSU game can be found by clicking under the "Aztecs Today" header on and finding the selected game. You can also click on "softball" and then "schedule" on, and scroll down to the selected game and click the gametracker link.

    Also, you can now watch all Aztec home softball games online by visiting The video can be found the same way as gametracker.

    Aztec Softball Home Games to be Broadcast on KCR College Radio
    The San Diego State softball team will have all four of its remaining home games broadcast live on KCR College Radio. The stations has already broadcast four Aztec games, including their seventh-inning walkoff win over Utah on April 10.

    KCR College Radio is a volunteer-run student radio station located on the San Diego State University grounds. Sport director Joshua Hoffman will do the play-by-play for KCR with help from other staff in the sports department.

    There are four ways to listen to KCR College Radio, including the Internet (Windows Media Player 9), which will be linked on the Aztec softball page for the duration of the season. In addition, you can listen to KCR on 1620 AM (locally on SDSU campus and surrounding community), Channel 956 on Cox Digital Cable and Channel 957 Time Warner Cable.

    Last Weekend With the Aztecs
    SDSU went 2-2 last weekend to wrap up a nine-game road trip. The Aztecs split with Brigham Young (L, 4-7 and W, 4-0) and Utah (W, 13-3 (5) and L, 1-2 (8)). San Diego State was led offensively by Tamani Wells who batted .429 (6-for-14) with three runs and a team-best three stolen bases. Megan McDonald went 3-for-8 with three walks, while Samantha Beasley (.364, HR, 5 RBI) and Erin Floros (.333, 5 RBI) each slugged over .550. Christina Ross went 1-2 in the circle with a 2.62 ERA over 18 2/3 innings. She struck out 22 against three walks.

    A Look at Colorado State
    The Rams enter Friday's doubleheader with a 24-19 record, including a 4-8 mark in MWC play. Colorado State is batting .314 as a team with 58 home runs and a team slugging percentage of .529.

    Lauren Cusick leads the league with 17 home runs. She also has a .399 average with 52 runs and an .888 slugging percentage in 43 games. Caitlin Stem (.376, 33 RBI) and Ashley Munoz (.353, 26 RBI) are the team's other top hitters. Cayte Billiman (8-5, 3.97 ERA, 77.2 IP), Kim Klabough (8-10, 4.59 ERA, 100.2 IP) and Rebecca Penland (7-3, 5.06 ERA, 92.2 IP) have logged the majority of the innings in the circle for the Rams.

    After a sweep in Fort Collins, Colo., earlier this season, SDSU now leads the overall series, 39-27.

    Noting New Mexico
    The Lobos are off to a 23-20 start with a 5-7 record in league play. However, New Mexico is just 1-5 in its last six conference contests.

    Lindsey Elcess leads the squad with a .376 batting average and .701 slugging percentage over 42 games. She also has a team-best 10 home runs and 29 RBI. Gabriella Parra (.328, 33 RBI) and Katie Gilmore (.325, 11 2B) are also batting over .300 for the Lobos. Kelly Ninemire has seen the bulk of the pitching duties and is 15-13 with a 3.66 ERA over 160 2/3 innings. Madelyn Machac (5-4, 5.28 ERA, 65.0 IP) and Kyla Nelson (3-3, 4.30 ERA, 44.0 IP) are also pitching valuable innings for New Mexico.

    With the Aztecs' sweep over the Lobos in Albuquerque earlier this year, SDSU now leads the all-time series, 47-28.

    Movin' On Up...
    With a split on the road against fellow MWC powers Brigham Young and Utah, SDSU actually moved up a spot in one poll and down in another.

    SDSU is now ranked No. 19 in the latest Softball poll, moving up one spot from last week. In the poll, the Aztecs received 87 points, 23 fewer than the previous week, and are 58 points behind 18th-ranked Virginia Tech (145 points). Rounding out the top 25 are No. 20 Massachusetts (85), No. 21 Washington (76), No. 22 Nevada (73), No. 23 Mississippi State (67) and Hawai'i (67), and No. 25 California (51). As it stands right now, San Diego State has played three top-five teams, seven of the top 10 squads and 12 of the top 25 schools.

    In the NFCA poll, SDSU dropped from No. 19 to No. 21 and from 171 to 120 points, 10 behind 20th-ranked DePaul, a team it beat earlier this season. The Aztecs are followed by No. 22 California (109), No. 23 Washington (94), No. 24 Mississippi State (75) and No. 25 Massachusetts (46).

    To Be the Best, You've Got to Beat the Best
    As former professional wrestler Ric Flair used to say, "To be the best, you've got to beat the best." The Aztecs are certainly making their case of being the best.

    At 52 games into the season, SDSU is 37-15 (.712), including a 16-11 (.593) record against 2007 NCAA tournament teams and 5-2 (.714) mark against 2007 Women's College World Series squads. San Diego State has already beaten Cal Poly (3-0), California (7-0), UC Santa Barbara (4-1), Fresno State (3-2), Arizona (2-1), Northwestern (3-2), Eastern Michigan (3-0 and 4-3), Harvard (10-1 (5)), Oregon (3-2), Pacific (3-2), Cal State Fullerton (2-1 (9)), Texas A&M (3-0 (6)), Washington (9-5 (12)), DePaul (1-0 (8)) and BYU (4-0).

    One the season, the Aztecs are scheduled to play 26 games against 22 teams who made last year's tournament. As far as RPI goes, San Diego State will play seven of the top 10 RPI teams from last season, 12 of the top 25 and 23 of the top 50.

    Aztecs and the RPI
    After going 2-2 last week on the road, SDSU dropped one spot in the latest NCAA RPI to No. 21. This week, the Aztecs are No. 21 out of 282 schools and are No. 25 in the NFCA RPI.

    The RPI is a mathematical calculation used to help determine each team's success, using a calculated strength of schedule and won-loss percentage.

    The NFCA RPI utilizes a formula that is based on the one used for Division I men's and women's basketball. There are minute differences in the penalties and bonuses that are specific to each sport. For example, there may be a small penalty for a Division I school that plays a non-Division I opponent and there may be a small bonus for beating a team that is ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll.

    When determining the RPI for each team, the following basic formula is used for both the NFCA and NCAA RPI: 25% -- Winning percentage, 50% -- Opponents' winning percentage, 25% -- Opponents' opponents' winning percentage.

    Although the NCAA publishes this basic formula, it does not release the mathematical bonuses and penalties specific for each sport. It is important to note that the NFCA RPI will not be exactly the same as the NCAA RPI, since the NCAA does not release its bonus and penalty calculations. However, the two should be close and the NFCA RPI should be an indication of where a team stands.

    The NCAA does not endorse the NFCA RPI and is the more official one of the two ratings.

    So Close...
    Through 52 games, the Aztecs are 37-15. Sure, who wouldn't be happy with a 37-15 record? SDSU, however, could easily be in the single-digits in losses had a couple of bounces gone its way.

    Consider the following when looking at San Diego State's 15 losses:
    * 12 have been by two or less runs (two others were three-run losses)
    * 11 have come against 2007 NCAA Tournament teams
    * Seven have come against nationally-ranked squads
    * Eight have been by one run
    * Five have come in extra innings
    * Two of the five extra-inning losses were against top-5 programs No. 1 Arizona State (lost, 3-1, in eight innings) and No. 4 UCLA (lost, 2-1, in nine innings)

    SDSU Ranked Among National Leaders
    The San Diego State softball team is ranked among the NCAA leaders in a host of categories, while many individuals appear on the list as well.

    The Aztec pitching staff is ranked No. 15 in the nation with a 1.35 ERA (Michigan leads at 0.72). In addition, SDSU's .712 win-loss percentage is 28th in the nation, while its 1.35 stolen bases per game is ranked 44th. Other top 100 marks include fielding percentage (58th, .966), triples per game (68th, 0.19), double plays per game (72nd, 0.31) and team batting average (87th, .274).

    Individually, senior Tamani Wells is sixth in sacrifice hits per game (0.37) and 51st in stolen bases per game (0.40).

    Senior Christina Ross is tied for 16th in the nation with 24 wins, 20th with a 1.06 ERA and T-94th with two saves, while sophomore Lindsey Marquez is tied for fifth with four sacrifice flies.

    Aztec Pitchers Back to Their Same Old Tricks
    One of the question marks going into the season was the stability of the SDSU pitching staff, with a proven player in two-time all-Mountain West Conference performer Christina Ross, and two unproven freshmen in Brooke Petty and Samantha Beasley. It looks like the pitching staff will no longer be a concern.

    Despite playing 27 of its 52 games against 2007 NCAA opponents, the Aztec pitching staff is ranked No. 15 in the nation with a 1.35 team ERA. In addition, SDSU's .712 win-loss percentage is 28th in the nation.

    The Aztecs are by far the best pitching team in the Mountain West Conference through 12 weeks of play. San Diego State is first in ERA, wins (37), win-loss percentage, strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.18), and WHIP (walks + hits/IP (1.02)). In addition, the staff is second in lowest opponents' batting average (.217), innings pitched (363.1), strikeouts (334) and fewest walks allowed (80).

    Individually, as of April 28, Ross is first in ERA (1.06), innings pitched (237.2), strikeouts (224), and wins (24), while ranked second in appearances (43) and tied for second with two saves and 30 games started.

    Despite being freshmen, Petty is fourth in ERA (1.72) and opposing batting average (.205), while Beasley is fifth in ERA (2.00).

    In Ross We Trust
    To say that senior Christina Ross (Santa Clarita, Calif.) is having one of the best seasons in the circle in school history is an understatement.

    Ross is currently ranked 16th in the nation with 24 wins, 20th in ERA (1.06) and tied for 94th with two saves. She also leads the Mountain West Conference in innings pitched (237.2) and strikeouts (224).

    On the single-season list, Ross is already ranked first with 224 strikeouts and tied for second in total shutouts (10). In addition, she is third in wins (24) and innings pitched (237.2), tied for fifth with a .667 win-loss percentage and sixth with a 0.96 ERA.

    What might even be more impressive is Ross' climb up the career charts despite playing in just her third year at SDSU. Ross, who played her freshman year at Kansas before transferring to The Mesa, is ranked among the top 10 in all 16 pitching categories. Ross is also ranked in the top 5 in 12 categories, including strikeouts (1st, 561), solo shutouts (T-1st, 20), wins (2nd, 64), win-loss percentage (2nd, .653), saves (3rd, 6), complete games (4th, 65), innings pitched (4th, 635.1), opposing average (4th, .222), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.09), games started (T-4th, 88) and appearances (5th, 120).

    Ross has also put together a pair of impressive streaks this season. The first was a streak of 30 scoreless innings from March 20-April 6 and a streak of 35 innings without giving up an earned run over the same period. The second, which ended in the sixth inning of game one at New Mexico on Friday (April 18), was a streak of 39 innings without issuing a walk that began on April 6.

    Like a Rock
    Although the Aztecs have started 35 different batting lineups and 33 separate fielding lineups through their 52 games, one thing has remained constant: the outfield. 12th-year head coach Kathy Van Wyk said in the beginning of the season that this is the best outfield she has ever had at San Diego State and the combination of senior Tamani Wells, junior Tonye McCorkle and sophomore Brittany Knudsen hasn't disappointed.

    In 52 games, the trio has combined to bat .308 (rest of team is batting .254) with 95 runs scored (rest of team has 117), 18 doubles (rest of team has 27), seven triples (rest of team has three), 62 RBI (rest of team has 122), 49 walks (rest of team has 98) and 40 stolen bases (rest of team has 31). They have also combined for a .398 slugging percentage (rest of team is at .323).

    They have been just as brilliant the field running down ball after ball. They have combined to post a .966 fielding percentage with just five errors. In addition, each has at least three outfield assists, with Knudsen's seven leading the way.

    No other Aztec has earned a start in the outfield and only junior Erin Floros has also started in all 52 contests. In fact, Wells has now started 132 consecutive games dating back to the 2006 season, the longest such streak on the team.

    This season, Knudsen has started all 52 contests in right field, the only Aztec to start each game at the same position, while Wells has 31 starts in center and 21 starts in left and McCorkle vice versa (31 in left, 21 in center).

    At the plate, Wells has batted from the No. 2 hole in all but one of her starts, while McCorkle has seen 13 of her starts as the leadoff, 37 in the three spot and one in the five spot. Knudsen has 38 starts at leadoff, nine in the No. 3 spot, two each at No. 5 and No. 6, and one in the second spot.

    Put Me in Coach
    With the Aztecs hitting their stride 52 games into the season, head coach Kathy Van Wyk is faced with a major problem, how to find enough playing time for all the veterans and the contributing newcomers.

    Junior transfer Tony McCorkle and a plethora of incoming freshmen have already left their stamp on the Aztec team, helping the squad to 37-15 record out of the gate, including five victories against nationally ranked squads.

    McCorkle, a 2006 Co-Big East Freshman of the Year and all-conference performer at Syracuse, leads the 2008 Aztecs in at-bats (170), hits (54), runs (34), triples (3) and total bases (70). In addition, she is second in doubles (7), RBI (29) and slugging percentage (.412). McCorkle is also one of four Aztecs, along with Tamani Wells, Erin Floros and Brittany Knudsen, to earn the starting nod in every game this season.

    Freshman Jen Wisneski has shored up the infield at shortstop by exhibiting great range and a strong arm, and has improved at the plate. Through 52 games, Wisneski is tied for fourth on the team with nine sacrifice bunts, while posting a .237 average. Her five game-winning RBI is third on the squad.

    Samantha Beasley has appeared in 28 games with 25 starts and is hitting .313. Five of her 21 hits have been doubles and another two were homers (grand slam and three-run). In the circle, Beasley is 7-2 with a 2.00 ERA in 66 2/3 innings.

    Brooke Petty is 6-1 with a 1.72 ERA in 57.0 innings, while Taylor Sutton (.357 OB%) and Jessica Camello (8 R, 3 RBI) each are putting together solid first seasons on The Mesa.

    She's Baaaaack...
    After missing most of the 2007 campaign with a torn ACL, junior Erin Floros has wasted little time in putting every other team on notice that she is back.

    Through 52 games, Floros, a 2006 All-American, is leading the squad with 35 RBI. She is also second in on-base percentage (.385) and third in slugging percentage (.390). In conference games, Floros leads the team and is seventh in the MWC with a .389 average, while her .522 on-base percentage is second in the league.

    Floros also has started all 52 games, joining the outfield crew of Tamani Wells, Tonye McCorkle and Knudsen has the only players to earn the starting nod in all 52 contests.

    Floros has performed well in the field as well, despite playing a bit of third base and first base for the first time in her collegiate career. Floros, who has also seen time at catcher and the designated player spot has committed just three errors in 246 fielding chances for a .988 fielding percentage (T-8th in MWC).

    With enough at-bats to now qualify for SDSU's career top-10 list, Floros is fourth in slugging percentage (.456) and on-base percentage (.407), and fifth in batting average (.331). In addition, she is tied for eighth with seven career home runs.

    Aztec Softball Featured on
    The No. 25 San Diego State softball team was featured in the "College Sports" section of on Feb. 25. The article, written by Graham Hays, talks about SDSU's surprising victories over two-time defending NCAA champion Arizona and No. 3/2 Northwestern, and playing arguably the toughest schedule among all the 24 teams at the Palm Springs Classic.

    The Aztecs defeated both Wildcat teams by one run, first defeating Arizona, 2-1, behind a season-high 11 strikeout performance by senior Christina Ross and then knocking off Northwestern, 3-2, on junior Erin Floros' walkoff single in the bottom of the seventh.

    San Diego State would eventually fall in its next three contests, 1-0 to No. 6/8 Oklahoma, 7-6 to No. 18/19 Georgia and 7-5 to No. 13/10 Baylor, but was in each game until the very end. The link can be found by clicking the following link:

    SDSU Wins Campbell/Cartier For First Time in 18-year History
    The Aztecs went 5-0 from Feb. 15-17 to capture their first-ever Campbell/Cartier Classic title in the 18-year history of the event. The 5-0 weekend was a huge improvement from the year before where SDSU went 1-4 to finish sixth of six teams. San Diego State will look to be the first team to repeat in 2009 since Stanford won the Classic in 2000 and 2001.

    Long Beach State's four championships are the most followed by UCLA with three. Cal State Northridge, Sacramento State and Stanford each have won two, while the Aztecs, California, Pacific and Washington have one apiece.

    On Deck
    The Aztecs close out the MWC regular season on the road against UNLV on May 9-10.

    Click on the PDF release for charts, stats and other notes.

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