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

Softball sweeps New Mexico to celebrate the Aztec seniors

The San Diego State softball team is rolling two weeks before they host the Mountain West Tournament
Petrina Tran
Senior Taylor Okada covers second base on Feb. 9.

It was senior day on the Mesa for the San Diego State Softball team, and what better way to celebrate than with a 3-0 sweep over the University of New Mexico. 

Head coach Stacey Nuveman Deniz is extremely proud of her team’s play this weekend.

“It’s very hard to sweep any team three days in a row,” she said. “I’m really proud of the way we showed up and grinded it out.”

Despite some bumps in the road this weekend, the Aztecs were able to break through. At times, they were unable to get things going out of the gate and had some close calls that almost squashed their victories, but nevertheless they made it. 

“We got it done and at this point in the season, pretty or not, wins are wins and being able to push through some adversity is good character for us,” Nuveman Deniz said. 

Game one: SDSU 4, NM 1

Junior pitcher Allie Light was a dominant force in the circle for the Aztecs, throwing a complete game and allowing only three hits and one run. 

It was a slow start for both teams as the game remained scoreless through the first three innings. Light was wheeling and dealing on the mound for San Diego State. Light mixed her pitches well — retiring nine outs in a quick fashion via four groundouts, two flyouts, a lineout and a popup to the shortstop in the third. The first hit for the Lobos didn’t come until the fourth inning, but the Lobos couldn’t capitalize and left their runners stranded. 

The offensive dry spell for the Aztecs broke in the bottom of the fourth when junior Makena Brocki grounded out, advancing junior Eliana Reyes to third who scored on a throwing error, giving SDSU a 1-0 lead. 

New Mexico put a new pitcher in the circle in the bottom of the fifth, but the Aztecs’ offense came in hot. Graduating Junior Alexis Otero started the inning off with a single and the next batter,junior Macey Keester got hit by a pitch — putting runners on first and second with no outs. Sophomore Bella Espinoza advanced both runners with a ground out to short, and junior Jillian Celis doubled to left field, scoring Keester and Otero giving the Aztecs a 3-0 lead. 

The Scarlet and Black were able to add another run in the sixth inning making it a 4-0 game before the Lobos made things interesting in the seventh.

After six scoreless innings, Light almost let things slide as the lead off batter for New Mexico doubled to open the inning. Light was able to retire the next batter on a ground out, before a single up the middle brought home the Lobos first run of the night making the score 4-1. 

Light walked the following batter and put the tying run to the plate but got the next batter out. With two outs and runners on first and second, Light walked the Lobos hitter, putting the go-ahead run at the plate. The junior pitcher got the final out of the game to strikeout with the bases loaded, preserving the 4-1 win for the Aztecs. 

Game two: SDSU 6, NM 0 

The San Diego State Aztecs started the game out strong, scoring six runs in the first two innings, while senior Sarah Lehman and sophomore Dee Dee Hernandez combined to shutout the Lobos. Lehman threw six innings allowing only three hits, and earned her tenth win of the season. 

The Aztecs started this matchup very different than Friday night’s game where they failed to score in the opening frames. The Scarlet and Black scored early and often as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first. 

Lehman opened up the game by walking the first New Mexico batter and giving up a single, but she turned around and got three quick outs and was lights out for the rest of the game — keeping the Lobos off the scoreboard. In the bottom of the inning, Epsinoza quickly got on base with a leadoff bunt and stole second immediately to bring sophomore Mac Barbara up to the plate. Barbara singled — bringing in the first run of the game giving the Aztecs a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. 

Following Barbara in the lineup was junior Jillian Celis who was hit by pitch, putting runners on first and second. Barbara and Celis pulled off a double steal which put them both in scoring position. Sophomore Cali Decker sent the ball down the left field line bringing both runners home and giving the Aztecs a 3-0 lead. On the very next pitch Brocki drove Decker home with a single down the right field line that gave the Aztecs a 4-0 lead. 

Lehman struck out two batters in the top of the second, giving San Diego another opportunity to increase their lead in the bottom of the frame. Keester and Espinoza both walked with one out and pulled off yet another double steal. Celis singled to the right side and drove the two runners home, giving SDSU a 6-0 in the bottom of the second. 

A six-run lead was plenty of insurance for Lehman who retired the New Mexico batters one, two, three with two flyouts and a groundout in the third. She followed that by getting her ninth and tenth batters in a row to groundout and flyout before New Mexico was able to get a single up the middle to break her streak. A popup to second closed out the top of the fourth inning with the Aztecs still on top 6-0. 

Hernandez came in and relieved Lehman at the top of the seventh. Hernandez followed suit as she worked around a one-out single to secure the shutout for the Aztecs and struck out the final battle of the game. 

 Lehman finished the day with six shutout innings and three strikeouts to add to her season total. 

Game three: SDSU 5, NM 2

The Scarlet and Black rallied for a 5-2 victory in the last game of their three-game series against New Mexico Sunday afternoon. It was the thirtieth win of the season for the San Diego State softball team, who captured their tenth consecutive home-game victory. 

Despite dominating in Saturday’s matchup, the Aztecs were trailing the Lobos through four innings, but managed to tie the game in the fifth. Brocki gave SDSU some momentum leading off the fifth with a triple and scored off a single by sophomore AJ Murphy. Reyes was brought in to pinch run for Murphy and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Taylor Okada and scored on a left field single by Otero. 

Hernandez retired New Mexico with three batters up three batters down in the top of the sixth, giving the San Diego State offense some momentum in the bottom of the sixth. A Brocki single scored Celis from second base. A ground out by junior Jewelianna Perez scored freshman Ally Dueker, and a throwing error by UNM scored Brocki on the same play. 

In the seventh, Light came in to pitch for the Aztecs and ran into a bit of trouble as New Mexico loaded the bases on a single, a throwing error, and a fielder’s choice. Despite the bases being loaded, Light managed to keep her cool and force a New Mexico batter to line into a double play. Light then struck out the next batter to end the game. 

SDSU outhit UNM 8-6 with Makena Brocki going 3-3 and Otero and Murphy each adding RBI singles and a walk. 

Senior Dani Martinez got the start for the Aztecs, striking out two and giving up two runs, three hits, and three walks over three innings. Hernandez secured the win after throwing three scoreless innings with three strikeouts, two hits and no walks. Light gave up a leadoff single in the seventh and had one strikeout to secure her seventh game of the season. 

Following the final game of the series, The Scarlet and Black celebrated their six departing seniors including Karina Faasisila, Lehman, Martinez, Okada, Otero and Alyssa Pinto. 

According to Coach Nuveman Deniz, all six of her seniors have made a lasting impact on the San Diego State softball program.

 “I think it should always be to leave the program better than you found it,” Nuveman Deniz said. “Being a part of something that is growing, building, getting better and I think these five can all say that they have.

 “I am really proud of their contributions. All of them have left a mark on this program and I am really thankful that they are a part of the Aztec softball family and that they always will be.” 

The Aztecs (14-5)  have one more matchup against Boise State (13-2) this coming weekend 

before they host the Mountain West tournament. These are the one and two teams coming together to face off in the last matchup of the regular season. 

About the Contributor
Petrina Tran
Petrina Tran, Photographer
Petrina Tran is a senior staff member majoring in Journalism and Media Studies with a minor in Linguistics. She was born in San Jose, CA, but grew up in Dubai, UAE for 12 years before returning to the United States for university. 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), writes, and photographs for The Daily Aztec. She has done numerous works covering the fires in Lahaina, Maui, the Kumeyaay Land Acknowledgement and native communities of San Diego, and local cultural events, just to name a few. Outside of The Daily Aztec, Petrina enjoys flying, baking, 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
Softball sweeps New Mexico to celebrate the Aztec seniors