Feb. 19, 2014
ON DECK: The Toreros (2-4) will face Iowa State (8-1) and Sacramento State (2-4) in the Santa Clara Marriot Bronco Classic this weekend. On Saturday they will face Iowa State at 10:00 a.m. followed by a showdown with Sacramento State. On Sunday they battle the Cyclones at 12:00 p.m. followed with a rematch against Sacramento State.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION:
IOWA STATE: The Cyclones enter the weekend with an 8-1 record. They went 4-0 against Indiana State and South Dakota State in the Cyclone Invitational in the opening weekend and went 4-1 last weekend at the Troy Cox Classic in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Their lone loss was at New Mexico State, who beat them 5-4. Sophomore Aly Cappaert is off to a red-hot start, hitting .600 with four home runs and ten RBI. She is one of four Cyclones hitting at least .400. Their ace, freshman Katie Johnson, is 8-1 in seven starts and holds a 2.30 ERA. She has struck out 51 batters in 54.2 innings pitched. The Cyclones are coached by Stacy Gameinhardt-Cesler, who is in her ninth year. The Toreros are 1-3 all-time against the Cyclones, but beat them 3-2 the last time they played (Mar. 13, 2009 at USD).
SACRAMENTO STATE: The Hornets are 2-4 in 2014. They went 2-3 last weekend at the Fresno State Kick Off. They scored three combined runs in their four losses and 20 combined runs in their two wins. They enter the weekend with two players hitting .400 or better: Nicole Clark (.455) and Kortney Solis (.400). Caitlin Brooks is holding hitters to a .209 batting average and has 1.45 ERA, but holds an unlucky 0-3 record. The Hornets are coached by Lori Perez, who took over on an interim basis after longtime coach Kathy Strahan retired in August. Perez has been with the program as a player and assistant coach the past 13 seasons. The Toreros and Hornets used to compete in the PCSC together and split their last regular season series 2-2 in 2012, but the Hornets hold a 27-8 all-time advantage.
LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros only had one game last week, falling at Cal State Fullerton 4-2 on Wednesday. Mary Grabowski and Chloe Kaneko each hit solo home runs, but it was not enough to overcome the Titans, who entered the contest undefeated. Jenny Lahitte (2-2) took the loss after giving up four earned runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings pitched. Cassidy Coleman replaced her in the fifth and pitched 1.2 shutout innings.
POWER UP: Sophomore Mary Grabowski has hit a home run in each of the last three games, which eclipses her team-leading total from all of 2013. Unfortunately for the Toreros, all of Grabowski's bombs have come with the bases empty. She enters the weekend leading the team in average (.455), runs (four), total bases (14), slugging percentage (1.273), and on-base percentage (.500).
THE FIRST OF MANY TO COME?: Senior Jenny Lahitte won the inaugural WCC Pitcher of the Week Award two weeks ago. She went 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA at the Sportco Kick Off Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. to help the Toreros beat UC Davis and UNLV. She struck out 20 batters in 18.2 innings, while holding hitters to a .247 average. Lahitte, who led the PCSC in ERA last season, was named PCSC Pitcher of the Week four times in 2012.
FAB FROSH: Olivia Sandusky has made an immediate impact for the Toreros. She went 2-4 with four RBI, including a bases-clearing triple in the Toreros 5-2 win over UC Davis. She enters the weekend tied for the team lead in RBI.
LEFT OUT: Jenny Lahitte enters the weekend holding left-handed hitters to a .191 average (7-for-47). She also is doing an excellent job keeping runners from scoring. She has given up just nine hits in 48 at-bats (.188) with runners on base.
PAIR OF ACES: The USD pitching staff, anchored by the formidable one-two punch of Cassidy Coleman and Jenny Lahitte, finished the 2013 campaign ranked 13th in the nation in team ERA (1.83). That also set a new USD record for single season team ERA. Coleman became the USD all-time career strikeout leader after recording 211 K's in 2013, good for second-most in school history. Lahitte, who had the best ERA in the PCSC last season (1.65), enters the season third in career strikeouts, third in career ERA (1.91), and tied for fourth in career shutouts (8).
KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL: Caitlin Rooney proved to be a tough out during the 2013 season. Rooney finished the year ranked third in the NCAA in Toughest to Strikeout, averaging just one strikeout per 48.7 at-bats. Overall, Rooney (.281, 9 2B, 3B, 12 RBI) fanned just three times in 146 at-bats on the year.
WELCOME TO THE WCC: 2014 marks the inaugural season of softball in the WCC. With the addition of Pacific to the conference, the WCC was able to officially add softball as the conference's 14th sport. The conference champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
PRESEASON POLL: The Toreros were picked to finish fourth in the preseason WCC Coaches Poll. BYU was picked to finish first after earning all possible 25 points, followed by Pacific (19), LMU (16), San Diego (14), Saint Mary's 11, and Santa Clara (5). The Toreros had P Cassidy Coleman and 1B Caitlin Rooney selected to the All-WCC Preseason Team.
BACK FOR MORE: The Toreros return 16 letterwinners from 2013 including eight starting position players and both of their starting pitchers. Amongst the returners are five players who earned All-PCSC honors last year (Coleman, Rooney, Grabowski, Swanberg, and Kaneko).
MADNESS!: In addition to having two players selected to the preseason All-WCC team, the Toreros had five players chosen by College Sports Madness as preseason all-conference picks. Senior pitchers Cassidy Coleman and Jenny Lahitte were two of three pitchers selected to the first team. 1B Caitlin Rooney was also selected to the first team, while 3B Chloe Kaneko and OF Dana Prelsnik were chosen to the second team.
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