SDSU softball still searching for offensive groove in MW action

by Meghan Lanigan, Staff Writer

Mountain West games haven’t exactly gone according to plan for San Diego State’s softball team. After sweeping the San Diego Classic II and winning its first game in conference play against UNLV on March 24, the team has won only three out of 11 games, bringing its record to 22-18.

“It’s so inconsistent, you don’t know what to push or what to count on,” head coach Kathy Van Wyk said. “One of the big things that stands out for me this year is we’re just young.”

SDSU is currently seventh in the MW with a 4-8 record and will travel to second-place San Jose State April 15-17 for a three-game series.

The Spartans are 7-2 in conference play and have yet to lose a series, but have an overall losing record on the season at 18-19.

“San Jose State might not have a winning record, but they’re one of the greatest teams in the state,” Van Wyk said.

The Spartans’ bats have caught fire in conference action with a .384 average through nine games, while SDSU has only mustered a .273 average in its 12 MW games.

In that same time, SDSU has only managed 41 runs, compared to SJSU’s 84 runs in three less games.

Sophomore catcher Jenavee Peres still leads the team with a .438 batting average and seven home runs, despite missing nine games early in the season with a concussion.

“When we got Jenavee back in the lineup, we were a different team,” Van Wyk said.

In Peres’ absence, SDSU freshman third baseman Molly Sturdivant has shouldered the brunt of the offense.

She is batting .299 on the season and two of her three home runs have been of the walk-off variety.

“We always say freshmen don’t play the way they’re capable of until April,” Van Wyk said. “We knew all along that she was going do good things for us.”

The Spartans’ offense may be on fire, but their pitchers aren’t exactly having a stellar season.

Junior right-hander Colette Riggs has the only winning record (6-2), while SDSU has three pitchers with a winning record.

SDSU junior right-hander Erica Romero is 10-8, sophomore right-hander Alex Formby is 9-7 and freshman right-hander Julie McDonald is 2-1. All of them have an ERA under 3.99.

However, those numbers have taken a dip in conference play.

Romero’s struggles have been the most notable, as she has a 1-4 record with a 5.25 ERA in MW action.

Formby is holding her own with a 3-3 record and a 4.11 ERA and McDonald has yet to draw a decision, 0-0, with a 5.25 ERA.

“It’s the inconsistency,” Van Wyk said. “Erica would tell you she’s been frustrated.”

Van Wyk said last year she could always count on the team scoring six or seven runs a game, which takes the pressure off of the pitching.

“This year, that run production’s been a lot more inconsistent, so the pressure’s been on for the pitching,” Van Wyk said.

With 12 games left in the regular season the team needs to get something going offensively in order to make a ninth-straight postseason appearance.

“I think we’ve got to go in with great confidence and take it one day at a time,” Van Wyk said.