SDSU softball struggles at Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic

by Jacob Gleason, Contributor

Faced with a tough schedule and tougher competition, San Diego State softball struggled to score for much of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. The Aztecs, who faced ranked opponents in three of five matchups, dropped their first four games before finishing on a high note with a resounding win against Stanford University.

SDSU started the tournament with a difficult double header against No. 4/3 University of Oklahoma and No. 14/15 Louisiana State University.

In the tournament opener, Oklahoma scored big against the Aztecs, putting up 10 runs in five innings. SDSU wasn’t able to get on the scoreboard until redshirt-senior utility player Lorena Bauer drove in junior utility player Leia Ruiz with a single to left center with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, bringing the final score to 10-1.

The Aztecs got off to a quick start in the nightcap against LSU. In the first inning, redshirt-senior utility player Hayley Miles reached on an error and scored after singles from Bauer and junior third baseman Kayla Bufardeci. However, the Aztecs stranded two runners in scoring position and were unable to score the rest of the game. LSU scored two in the third and added a grand slam in the fifth to defeat SDSU by a score of 6-1, handing Mountain West Pitcher of the Week sophomore Erica Romero her second loss of the day.

On Friday night, the Aztecs fell behind early to University of Nebraska, giving up five runs in the first inning. SDSU lost 10-0 in five innings while only getting four hits.

SDSU’s struggles continued in a close game Saturday night against No. 11/9 University of Kentucky. The Aztecs took a two-run lead in the top of the second after RBIs from junior infielder Samantha Camello and sophomore pitcher Sydnee Cable. However, they failed to score the rest of the game. Kentucky scored in the second, fifth and sixth innings to top the Aztec 5-2.

In their tournament finale against Stanford, the Aztec bats came alive. When the Stanford Cardinal scored four runs in the top of the third, SDSU quickly came back, scoring three runs in the bottom of the third, seven runs in the fourth, and one run in the sixth en route to its 11-5 victory. Head coach Kathy Van Wyk stressed that their hitting approach keyed the Aztecs’ offensive explosion.

“We were patient at the plate (against Stanford),” Van Wyk said. “We hit all throughout the lineup.”

Freshman catcher Jenavee Peres — SDSU’s seventh hitter — had three hits, five RBIs and a run in her four at-bats. Middle-of-the-lineup batters Bufardeci and Bauer also added two hits apiece and combined for another five RBIs.

Although the Aztecs weren’t able to take the eight-run lead necessary to end the game in five innings, this was not a problem thanks to the team’s impressive defense and strong outing from Cable. Cable picked up her second win of the season, striking out two batters and holding the Cardinal to one run over 4.1 innings.

The Aztecs look to build off of this impressive win as they come home for the San Diego Classic this weekend, where they’ll play five teams, including the top two in the country: No. 1/1 University of Florida and No. 2/2 University of Oregon.