Aztecs take two of three from Spartans

by Matt D'Ambrosi

The San Diego State softball team traveled to the Silicon Valley this past weekend for a three-game series with huge Mountain West Conference implications. Taking on the Spartans of San José State University, the three-game series marked the final road-series of the regular season for SDSU. Still very much in the hunt for a MWC title, the Aztecs took care of business taking two of three from the Spartans on the weekend.

After putting on an offensive clinic in Friday’s 8-3 victory by matching a season-high 15 hits, the Aztecs were unable to score a run in Saturday’s 5-0 loss. The Spartan pitching stifled SDSU’s lineup all day Saturday, holding them to only four hits, two of which came from one player – redshirt senior outfielder Patrice Jackson.

With the series even come game-time on Sunday, the Aztecs came out with a purpose. Thanks to homeruns by Jackson and senior catcher Dominique Dinner, the Aztecs defeated the Spartans by a score of 5-3 and completed the series victory.

Having entered the weekend in a three-way tie for second place in the conference, the Aztecs furthered their cause finishing the weekend only a game back of conference leaders California State University, Fresno and Boise State University. At the conclusion of the weekend, the Aztecs improved to 36-17 overall and 13-8 in conference. 

Game of the Weekend

Having split the first two games of the series, Sunday’s matchup was the most pivotal one of the weekend. A win would allow the Aztecs to remain in striking distance for a chance at the MWC title. The Aztecs found out early on, however, that San Jose State certainly wasn’t going to make that easy.

After a slow start and a three-run deficit through three innings, the Aztec bats came alive in the fourth inning. Jackson started off the rally with a solo homerun, her 16th on the year. SDSU wouldn’t stop there though.

Later on in the inning, Dinner gave the Aztecs the lead with a three-run homerun scoring freshman outfielder Jaylene Ignacio and redshirt junior utility player Hayley Miles.

After tacking on an extra run in the fifth inning to bring the score to 5-3, the Aztecs would hang on for the victory. Freshman pitcher Erica Romero started the game, but after giving up three runs, she was ultimately relieved in favor of sophomore pitcher Danielle O’Toole. The victory was O’Toole’s 27th on the year.

Player of the Weekend

In addition to playing well behind the plate, Dinner was impressive offensively over the weekend as well. In the two Aztec wins, she went a combined 3 for 5 with three runs scored and 3 RBIs. The senior from Monterey showed leadership in giving the Aztecs the lead in Sunday’s crucial matchup when she hit a three-run blast in the fourth inning. The homerun marked the first of Dinner’s career as an Aztec and was a huge reason as to why the Aztecs were able to walk away with the series win.

SDSU plays it’s final series of the regular season this weekend, opening up a three-game home stand against Boise State Friday night at 6:00 p.m. PT.

Photo by Jordan Owen, Senior Staff Photographer.