Molly Sturdivant has been sturdy offensive force for SDSU softball

by Sydney Olmstead, Staff Writer

There are no outs in the bottom of the first inning with runners on first and second as freshman Molly Sturdivant comes up to the plate on a dark and cloudy April afternoon against Colorado State.

A wild pitch to the backstop moves the runners to second and third. The crowd begins to buzz with anticipation.

Sturdivant steps out of the box, looks to her third base coach for a moment and turns back around to face the pitcher. She digs her cleats into the damp dirt and touches her bat to the rubber of the plate.

Her eyes settle on the Colorado State pitcher, who winds up and delivers.

Sturdivant’s bat makes contact and sends the ball soaring over the left-field fence. This three-run homer was Sturdivant’s fourth home run of the year.

She’s third on the team in homers and is the only true freshman on the roster to knock one out this season.

Sturdivant’s hard-hitting offense isn’t the only thing she has to contribute to the team. Head coach Kathy Van Wyk says Sturdivant’s positive personality is a game-changer both on the field and in the dugout.

“Molly is just a goofy, fun-loving, great kid,” she said. “She laughs at herself and she can just have a good time. But at the same time, she takes the game very seriously.

“For softball, she’s a true baller. She wants to get dirty, she wants to be in tough situations. She’s the kind of kid we love to have.”

Growing up in Santa Ana, Sturdivant attended Cal State Fullerton games regularly as a teenager. She watched one of her current coaches, Stacey Nuveman, play with the USA Olympic team.

Watching these big teams inspired Sturdivant and ignited her passion for the game.

It was at this time in her life that she knew she wanted to play Division I college softball.

She has been dedicated to the game since she was 5, and her passion has translated on the field.

She has been the starting third baseman for the Aztecs for most of the season and has been a huge contributor in the lineup.

She boasts a .293 batting average and is tied with junior utility player Jaylene Ignacio for the second-most RBIs on the team (21). Sturdivant has a .353 on-base percentage and has a total of 34 hits in her 116 at-bats, so far.

One of her biggest hits of the season came on March 20 against UC Santa Barbara when she blasted a walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh to cap a come-from-behind win.

Not to mention, it was her first collegiate home run.

“It was pretty awesome because we’ve been struggling and it was just a great feeling to have the whole team come out and be like ‘Yeah!’” Sturdivant said of the experience. “I was excited because it was my first career home run and it was a walk-off.”

For Sturdivant, the coaches have made a huge difference in her experience on the team. She was committed to SDSU by the time she was a sophomore in high school.

Van Wyk said her defense was an important factor in the recruitment process, since it can be hard to find a confident third baseman that isn’t afraid to charge the ball every time. Her quick glove and speedy release have been crucial to the Aztecs’ defensive success this year.

“They’re tough, I love it,” Sturdivant said of her coaches. “They’re very constructive. Like when you make a mistake, yeah they’re hard on you, but they’re telling you how to be better. It’s not negative, it just builds me up more.”

Sturdivant is a true lover of the game and has built upon her life-long passion to be successful as an Aztec. Her instant success on the Mesa has fans and coaches alike thrilled for what she has in store for the coming seasons.