Aztecs use strong 4th inning to defeat Golden Bears 6-2

Maggie+Balint+struck+out+a+10+Golden+Bears%2C+setting+her+season+total+to+97+in+just+57+innings+so+far+in+2022.+

Andrew Finley

Maggie Balint struck out a 10 Golden Bears, setting her season total to 97 in just 57 innings so far in 2022.

by Nick Coppo, Staff Writer

After the rain canceled their scheduled battle with Boston University earlier in the day, SDSU 

Softball (11-6) was back in action on Friday night against the California Golden Bears (14-3). The Golden Bears had come into this game winners of eight straight games and boasted an impressive .349 team batting average. 

Senior Maggie Balint (4-3, 2.24 ERA) was on the mound in a second consecutive game for the first time all season and the Golden Bears took advantage of some poorly placed pitches early. Sophomore Sona Halajian homered to left field in the first inning, giving the Golden Bears an early advantage. Balint was not shaken by the first inning fireworks, retiring the next four batters she faced, including a spectacular diving catch by freshman Bella Espinoza in left field that saved extra bases to close out the second inning. 

Sophomore Haylei Archer (5-1, 1.30 ERA) was the starting pitcher for the Golden Bears. Prior to this contest, Archer had only allowed two earned runs in her last 23.2 innings pitched. After a quiet first inning, the Aztecs made noise in the second on an RBI fielder’s choice by Espinoza that cut the lead in half. Archer was able to tightrope out of danger in the third inning as the Aztecs stranded runners on second and third. The fourth inning would be a different story.

Faced with the same scenario as the inning prior, the Aztecs had runners on second and third with two outs. Facing an 0-2 count, sophomore Makena Brocki lined into left field plating the tying and go ahead runs. That was soon followed by an infield single by senior Alexa Schultz and another double into center field by sophomore Mac Barbara that extended the Aztec lead to 6-2.

Even after pitching the day prior, Balint seemed to gain strength as the game went on, striking out eight through the first five innings. Coming into today, Balint’s 87 strikeouts ranked fourth in all of D-1 and she would add to that number on Friday. After the first inning blemish, Balint dominated the Golden Bear hitters, pitching a complete game allowing two earned runs on five hits and ten strikeouts, putting her season strikeout total to 97. 

SDSU sits at 12-6 on the season and has a double-header against Yale and Long Beach State coming up at SDSU Softball Stadium on Saturday.