Aztecs to host San Diego Classic following Mary Nutter return

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Aztecs to host San Diego Classic following Mary Nutter return

Senior first baseman Taylor Stewart prepares to swing at a pitch during the Aztecs 5-0 loss to Kentucky on Feb. 15 at SDSU Softball Stadium.

Senior first baseman Taylor Stewart prepares to swing at a pitch during the Aztecs 5-0 loss to Kentucky on Feb. 15 at SDSU Softball Stadium.

Photo by Abraham Jewett

Senior first baseman Taylor Stewart prepares to swing at a pitch during the Aztecs 5-0 loss to Kentucky on Feb. 15 at SDSU Softball Stadium.

Photo by Abraham Jewett

Photo by Abraham Jewett

Senior first baseman Taylor Stewart prepares to swing at a pitch during the Aztecs 5-0 loss to Kentucky on Feb. 15 at SDSU Softball Stadium.

by Abraham Jewett, Sports Editor

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San Diego State softball returned home on Monday after winning three of five games at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif. from Feb. 22-25.

SDSU (6-10) played five games in three days at the the event, finishing with victories over Liberty University, No. 25 University of Notre Dame, and Bethune-Cookman University.

The Aztecs two losses of the tournament came against UC Davis and Northwestern University, both of which the team lost to already in the season-opening Kajikawa Classic.

“Three good wins, two bad losses,” head coach Kathy Van Wyk said. “Two losses both of which I thought we could have and should of taken.”

SDSU started the event with a 7-0 victory over Liberty, but the team otherwise struggled on offense, scoring a total of five runs in the remaining four games.

“The disappointment is that our offense is struggling so much,” Van Wyk said. “Hitting wise they’re fragile right now, and we just have to stay positive and keep working hard and hopefully it will continue to turn around.”

The bright spot for the Aztecs was the pitching duo of senior Alex Formby and sophomore Marissa Moreno, who gave up a combined total of five runs in five games.

Formby and Moreno were the only players to step into the pitcher’s circle for the team, as junior pitcher Julie McDonald continues to work her way back from injury.

“(The)pitchers did amazing, especially since it was just (Moreno) and (Formby),” Van Wyk said. “The combo with the two of them has just been working fantastic.”

Moreno set the tone for the event from the start, pitching a complete game shutout in the opener against Liberty.

“I knew I had to come in strong, especially for my team knowing that me and (Formby) were the only pitchers,” Moreno said. “I knew I had to stay strong and just fight for my team, so that’s what I did. I battled all game and our hitters were really good offensively, so I knew I just had to do the work on defense.”

SDSU now looks toward the San Diego Classic I, which will be played at SDSU Softball Stadium and the USD Softball Complex from March 1-4.

The Aztecs play two ranked opponents in this years event, including No. 20 University of Minnesota in the second half of a Friday doubleheader, and then a Sunday afternoon game against No. 3 University of California, Los Angeles to close out the weekend.

“We look forward to always competing in those games,” Van Wyk said. “It’s going to be a test for us all the time and continued preparation for conference play.”

SDSU opens the event against the University of Central Florida in the first half of Friday’s doubleheader, before taking on Boston University on Saturday.

“I’m just excited for the whole thing,” Formby said. “This whole entire weekend we play really good competition, so every game will be a battle.”

Van Wyk said that she is most looking forward to the game against Minnesota, who are currently 10-4 on the season coming off a 56-6 campaign a year ago.

“I’m especially looking forward to playing Minnesota, we have not seen them in many years and they had a great year last year,” she said. “I look forward to seeing what things look like out in the Big Ten.”

There is the potential for scattered rain showers on Friday and Saturday, which could complicate matters and lead to some schedule rearranging.

“I hope we get the games in with the rain in the forecast for Friday,” Van Wyk said. “We’re going to have probably finagle the schedule around and figure out how we’re going to work it all out.”

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