Ballint strikes out nine, but Aztecs muster only one hit in loss to BYU

Junior+pitcher+Maggie+Balint+gets+ready+to+throw+her+next+pitcher+during+the+Aztecs%27+3-0+loss+to+BYU+on+Feb.+13+at+SDSU+Softball+Stadium.

Luis Lopez

Junior pitcher Maggie Balint gets ready to throw her next pitcher during the Aztecs' 3-0 loss to BYU on Feb. 13 at SDSU Softball Stadium.

by Karissa Duran, Staff Writer

San Diego State softball kicked off the 30th annual Campbell/Cartier Classic with a 3-0 loss against Brigham Young University on Thursday night at SDSU Softball Stadium.

The game was a “good old fashion pitchers’ duel” as Aztecs head coach Kathy Van Wyk described. 

Oregon transfer Maggie Balint made her first appearance in the circle on the Mesa. The junior pitcher came out strong with five quick strikeouts in the first two innings.  

The first hit of the game did not come until the top of the fifth inning when BYU senior outfielder Rylee Jensen-McFarland put her team on the board with an RBI single to left field. 

SDSU junior infielder Taylor Adams put the Aztecs on the board with the team’s one and only hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. 

“We have to do a better job of making adjustments at the plate,” Van Wyk said. “We swung at bad pitches, and I do not think we made good enough adjustments out there. That was the difference in the game. (BYU) made those adjustments on Maggie and we didn’t.”

Van Wyk said she was pleased with the team’s defense and how they backed up Balint in the circle.

Van Wyk added how Balint throws what she wants to and when while in the circle. There are no signs being transferred between the coach in the dugout and the catcher. 

Balint and junior catcher Alizae Umi work independently to call their own gameplan.

“Calling pitches is something I did not do while at Oregon,” Balint said. “I am like a machine and I do not like to be stopped. Calling my own pitches makes the game go a lot faster and to my pace when me and the catcher are calling our own pitches.”

Balint said she will look at the catcher in the middle of the game and tell her what she wants to throw in front of everyone but does not care. 

“I know in my head that I want this pitch and I am confident in myself that I am going to throw it exactly where it needs to be,” she said.

Umi and Balint have formed a close bond as a pitcher and catcher duo.

“Maggie and I have formed a great relationship and I enjoy catching her,” Umi said. “We are both on the same page as far as what needs to be thrown.”

Despite Thursday night’s loss, Van Wyk is excited about the potential and leadership Balint brings to the team.

“We are glad to see not only the pitching Maggie brings but also the leadership, confidence and the poise,” Van Wyk said. “Those are the kinds of things everybody can learn from and you can only hope that it flows over into the other players.”

Balint said things are different now than when she was at Oregon. She was not a starter, a captain and did not have any responsibilities. 

“I kind of just showed up to games and practices and then just went home,’’ said Balint who went 28-4 with a 1.51 ERA and 214 strikeouts in Eugene.

She now holds a different role with the Aztecs. Her confidence in her game inspires the rest of her team to be the best they can be.

“I love pulling my teammates aside and teaching them more about the game,” Balint said.

The Aztecs will continue with the Campbell/Cartier Classic with a doubleheader Friday against Southern Utah and Cal State Fullerton.

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