San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Aztec Softball takes home victories at the SDSU Season Kickoff

The Aztecs go 4-1 over a long weekend play at the SDSU Softball Field
Petrina Tran
Sophomore AJ Murphy fields a groundball on Feb. 9.

The Aztec Softball team went 4-1 this weekend as its powerhouse offense totaled 44 hits in five games.

After a championship season last year, head coach Stacey Nuvemen-Deniz is looking forward to this upcoming season. 

“We are a very good all around team on both sides. But our offense is especially strong,” she said.

The Aztecs’ single loss came during a rematch of the 2022 NCAA Tempe Regional final against Arizona State. 

“Obviously, we would have loved to go 5-0 for our first tournament at home,” Nuvemen-Deniz said. “But 4-1 is not a bad way to start the season at all.”

Senior Taylor Okada covers second base on Feb. 9. (Petrina Tran)

Game one: SDSU 5, CSUN 4

To start off the season, the Aztecs squared off with the Cal State Northridge Matadors in its home opener on Thursday —  out hitting its opponent 12-8. Six of those Aztec hits went for extra bases. SDSU scored three runs in the second, one in the fourth, but with both teams tied after the bottom of the seventh, the game went to extra innings. 

In the bottom of the eighth freshman Jade Ignacio stepped up to the plate with a runner on third and hit a walkoff single to bring in the game-winning run.

San Diego was led offensively by Ignacio who doubled, walked and finished with the walk-off RBI to win the game. Junior Makena Brocki tallied two doubles with junior Jillian Celis and sophomore AJ Murphy adding two hits a piece. 

Game two: ASU 8,  SDSU 2

SDSU’s second game of the day was a tough one offensively as they fell to the Arizona State Sun Devils 8-2. 

The Sun Devils hit four home runs over the Aztecs in this 2022 NCAA Tempe Regional final rematch. 

SDSU trailed 6-0 after the first three innings, but were able to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI by junior Alexis Otero that scored sophomore Cali Decker. 

The Aztecs’ other run did not come until the fifth inning with a sacrifice fly by Celis knocking in sophomore Bella Espinoza. 

Espinoza had two of San Diego’s three hits and Otero had the other as red shirt sophomore Mac Barbara walked twice in her four plate appearances. 

Game three: SDSU 3, Notre Dame 0

SDSU had a nine-hit shutout in their 3-0 victory over Notre Dame in the third game of the season on Friday. 

The Aztecs’ pitching was lights out with senior Dani Martinez allowing only two hits and two walks. Sophomore Dee Dee Hernandez got the win after she gave up five hits and a walk and struck out two. To close out the matchup, junior Allie Light earned the save yielding two hits while striking out two to seal the win. The three pitchers for San Diego left 10 Fighting Irish base runners stranded.  

SDSU’s offense did not catch momentum until the fifth inning where it scored all three of its runs. A single by Espinoza, a walk by Barbara, and RBIs by Celis and Murphy scored the only runs of the game.

Notre Dame came out swinging in the sixth with three singles to load the bases, but Light was able to cause leadoff hitter Carli Koss Jr. to pop up — keeping the shutout intact. 

Espinoza had a noteworthy performance with three out of the Aztecs seven hits and two stolen bases. 

Game four: SDSU 7, Memphis 1

The Aztecs dominated in their fourth matchup against the Memphis Tigers, outhitting their opponent 11-3 on Saturday in a 7-1 win. 

San Diego’s pitchers senior Sarah Lehman and junior Cassidy West allowed only three hits and one walk. The pitchers were backed up by their defense with no errors. 

Murphy, Decker and junior Macey Keester all contributed singles in the bottom of the third to give the Aztecs a 2-0 lead. Although the Tigers scored in the top of the third, cutting the Aztecs lead in half. SDSU extended its lead with three runs in the fourth courtesy of an RBI single by senior Taylor Okada  and an Espinoza two-run single. 

The final two runs for the Aztecs came in the sixth inning after they loaded the bases with singles by Espinoza, Celis, and Murphy. A wild pitch brought Espinoza home and Otero had an RBI single to left field that knocked in Celis. 

Game five: SDSU 11, NIU 1

San Diego State dominated their final matchup of the weekend 11-1 over Northern Illinois as the team hit three home runs including a grand slam by Barbara.

The Aztecs ended the game with 14 hits and 11 runs and left only four runners on base. 

Despite the dominant victory, it was the NIU Huskies who actually got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the first inning with a sacrifice bunt to score first-year Ally Rodriguez from third. The Huskies had a few threats in the second inning as well, but stellar defensive plays by Murphy, Okada and Celis kept the Huskies at bay. 

From that point on, it was the Aztecs the rest of the way. At the top of the third, the Scarlet and Black loaded the bases with singles from Okada, Espinoza and Murphy. Barbara stepped up to the plate and cleared the bases with a monster grand slam — her first home run of the season.  

In the fifth inning, SDSU hit back-to-back homeruns — a solo homer by Murphy and a two-run homer courtesy of Celis. 

The San Diego dugout went wild. 

“This game is fun, our team is fun, and that is what keeps us working hard for each other,” Murphy said after the game. “Things are looking up and we are on a steady incline to keep this moment going throughout the season.”

The game was called in the sixth inning, but not before the Aztecs added four more runs to their already dominant lead. Keester and Okada both scored in the sixth, with first-year Alex Bunton getting her first career hit with a two-run double. 

Things are looking positive for the Aztecs as they enjoy each other’s presence during the strong victories early in the season.

About the Contributor
Petrina Tran, Photographer
Petrina Tran is a fourth-year transfer from Grossmont College. She was born in San Jose, CA, but grew up in Dubai, UAE for 12 years before returning to the United States for university. Majoring in Journalism with a minor in Linguistics, Petrina has a passion for storytelling through photography, connecting with people, and being in the community. She currently serves as Social Media Outreach officer for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and photographs for the Daily Aztec. This year, she hopes to expand into writing as well. Outside of the Daily Aztec, Petrina enjoys flying, music, reading, and experiencing different languages and cultures. She is excited to learn, grow, and be challenged while serving both the school and the greater San Diego community.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Aztec Softball takes home victories at the SDSU Season Kickoff