USU Softball Eliminated From WAC Tournament With Loss To SJSU Thursday
May 10, 2007
FRESNO, Calif. - Sixth-seeded Utah State was eliminated from the Western Athletic Conference Softball Tournament with a 9-1 five-inning loss to fifth-seeded San Jose State Thursday afternoon at Bulldog Diamond on the campus of Fresno State.
The Aggies end the tournament in seventh-place, being the first team eliminated.
Utah State which was making its WAC Tournament debut in the Aggies' second season in the league and its first conference tournament appearance since 1990, concludes the year with a 17-36 record, ending with a season-long nine-game losing skien.
San Jose State improves to 22-27 and advances to play New Mexico State in a loser-out contest on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. (PT).
The Spartans beat the Aggies in three of their four meetings this year, taking two of three during the regular season. SJSU has now beat USU in six of the last seven match-ups and trimmed the Aggies' lead in the overall series to 21-20.
USU plated a run in the top of the first, as for the second day in a row freshman 2B Nicole Rupp led off by getting on, this time by a walk. Rupp moved to third after a hit by senior CF Ashley Bellum and an error on the play. Next, junior 3B Amy Schaible flew out to right for a sac fly, allowing Rupp to scamper home with USU's lone run of the day.
SJSU countered with two runs in the home half of the first, putting together three hits.
The flood gates opened in the third as the Spartans hung a five spot on the board, taking advantage of three USU errors to go with four hits as they batted around.
With two outs in the fifth, Rupp singled up the middle, followed by another single by Bellum, but the rally stalled.
SJSU tacked on two more in the fifth, chasing Benson and bringing on senior Lexy Perry. The Spartans later loaded the bases, and capitalizing on another error to end the game due to the run rule.
Bellum was 3-3 with a stolen base, but Rupp was the only other Aggie to get a hit.
Benson had one strikeout, giving her 129 for the season, ending one shy of tying for the No. 7 spot on the USU single-season strikeout list behind DeAnna Earsley (1993) and Kristie Skoglund (1985) with 130 K's.
In their first year under head coach Candi Letts, the Aggies were 17-36, doubling last season's win total (8-38) and the second best winning percentage in the 2000's behind 2005's .442 (23-29).
USU also established a new school record with 33 home runs, topping the previous record of 32 round-trippers by the 2005 team. The Aggies also led the WAC with 62 stolen bases, the most for a USU squad since 1991 when the Aggies swiped 66, and five behind the school record of 67 stolen bases in the 1981 national championship season.
The pitching staff logged 235 strikeouts, the most since the 2002 pitchers fired 255 K's.