SDSU wins big at 23rd Campbell/Cartier Classic

by Matthew Bain

02_20_13_Sports_Softball_JMThe San Diego State softball team hosted No. 1 University of Oklahoma, No. 16 University of Washington, No. 22 University of Kentucky, Notre Dame, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UC Riverside at the 23rd Annual Campbell/Cartier Classic last weekend for a college softball fan’s paradise: 4 days, 17 games played and three nationally ranked teams. Five of the seven teams involved made it to the 2012 NCAA tournament.

The Aztecs played many innings, 34 to be exact, and wound up 3-2, the third best record of the classic behind Oklahoma and Kentucky.

SDSU opened its classic play with a primetime, Valentine’s Day matchup against No. 22 Kentucky. Kentucky starting pitcher Kelsey Nunley proved a significant challenge for SDSU’s explosive bats to handle. Despite the lack of offense, the Aztecs still had ample opportunity to score, as Nunley allowed two walks and the Kentucky defense made two errors. But the Aztecs could not capitalize, and ultimately lost the game, 4-0. Aztec starting pitcher, redshirt senio Rebecca Arbino, threw a great game, but took the loss, giving her a 3-2 record.

Facing the No. 1 team in the nation and last year’s USA Softball Player of the Year following a tough loss isn’t an appealing scenario, but it was the Aztecs’ task against the Oklahoma Sooners on Friday night. The Aztecs embraced the challenge and battled the Sooners all seven innings. Freshman pitcher Danielle O’Toole held Oklahoma’s bats in check, but SDSU still couldn’t put their bats on the ball and were shut out 4-0 for a second consecutive game.

Later that night, the Aztecs played the Cal Poly team that almost beat Kentucky the day before. SDSU’s scoring drought ended in the first inning. Senior pitcher Kamerin May homered over the left field fence, junior utility Lorena Bauer tripled and redshirt junior outfielder Patrice Jackson singled her in—all with two outs. Cal Poly came back to tie the game in the bottom of the third with the help of two Aztec errors. The game remained tied until the top of the seventh inning, when last year’s Mountain West Freshman of the Year, sophomore outfielder Kayla Jordan, sent the Aztecs ahead with her two-run home run, causing the Aztecs to eventually win the game, 5-2. May went 4-4 with an RBI and Arbino struck out six for six and one-third innings to improve her record to 4-2.

Saturday was Arbino’s day. With the support of four runs and nine hits, including a home run by Jackson, Arbino pitched a complete game shutout against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. She allowed only four hits and one walk, while fanning seven batters. It was Arbino’s first shutout this year and the 14th of her storied Aztec career. The win improved her record to 5-2, and improved the Aztecs’ overall record to 5-4.

The Aztecs closed out the classic in high style, beating the UC Riverside Highlanders by run-rule, 9-1, in six innings. O’Toole threw a gem and won her first collegiate game, allowing three hits and one unearned run. The Aztec bats finally came to life with 14 hits and nine runs. Jordan was only a double shy of a cycle, redshirt freshman outfielder Victoria Kobold had her first two college hits, freshman shortstop Monica Downey had three hits and scored twice and Bauer knocked in three runs. The Aztecs’ dominant performance concluded their classic play, finishing with a 3-2 weekend record and improving to a 6-4 overall record for the season.

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