SAN DIEGO - The Torero softball team (14-15) opens up West Coast Conference play this weekend when the Pacific Tigers (15-17) come to town for three games at the USD Softball Complex. On Saturday, April 8th, the teams will play a doubleheader with game one starting at 12 noon. The series will finish up on Sunday, April 9th, with first pitch scheduled for 12 noon.
A GLANCE AT TORERO LEADERS: The Toreros head into Saturday’s double-header with a 14-15 overall record. Taylor Spence (.424 B.A., 39 hits) continues to lead all WCC players in both departments… Sara Silveyra ranks second in the WCC in batting average (.378)… Olivia Sandusky leads the Toreros with 5 HR and 22 RBI, and currently owns a 9-game hitting streak… Kailey Hill has 4 homers to go with a team-best 8 doubles, and is second behind Sandusky with 21 RBI… Lauren Kane is hitting a solid .312 with 6 doubles, 3 HR and 19 RBI… In the pitching department, Delaney Heller owns a team-best 3.42 ERA… Megan Sabbatini leads the team in innings pitched (77.1) and strikeouts (55)… Sabbatini and Lauren Berriatua are tied with 5 wins each… USD’s .292 team batting average is tied with BYU for the WCC’s top mark.
WCC STANDINGS (thru April 3): BYU (23-10-0), San Diego (14-15-0), Pacific (15-17-0), Saint Mary’s (15-18-0), Loyola Marymount (14-22-0) and Santa Clara (7-21-0).
WCC PRESEASON POLL: The USD softball team was picked to finish third in the WCC Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Last year's WCC champion, BYU (25 points), was chosen to finish first. LMU (21) was picked second, followed by San Diego (17), Saint Mary's (14), Pacific (10) and Santa Clara (5).
RECAPPING LAST WEEK: In their lone game on March 29th, senior RHP Megan Sabbatini (Hollister, Calif.) turned in a dominating performance today in leading the Toreros (14-15) to a 3-0 victory over visiting UC Riverside (18-11). Sabbatini took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before surrendering a double down the left-field line with two outs to Madeline Richard. With the win Sabbatini improves to 5-8 on the season. USD scored two runs in the bottom of the third. Shannine McKeon opened the inning with a single to center field. She was moved over to second by Taylor Spence before Olivia Sandusky’s RBI single knocked her in. Lauren Kane would follow with a single that scored Sandusky from third base. The Toreros added their third and final run in the 4th inning. Lindsay Clare opened with a single and would eventually score from third on Sara Silveyra’s fielder’s choice. For the game Shannon McKeon was 2-for-2 with 1 walk and 1 run scored. Olivia Sandusky finished 1-for-3 with 1 run and 1 RBI. UCR starting pitcher Haley Marschall (5-5) gave up 3 hits and 2 runs in 2.1 innings.
SCOUTING THE PACIFIC TIGERS: The Pacific Tigers come to town with an overall record of 17-19. Like USD, their last game played was on March 29th, a 5-4 loss at Fresno State. The Tigers will be looking to snap a 2-game losing streak. Junior OF Molly Bourne leads the team in hitting with her .338 batting average. She is followed by freshman INF/OF Caitlyn Sung (.326 B.A.). Senior P/UTL Cassidy Gustafson leads the team with 7 HR and and 27 RBI. Freshman RHP Hailey Reed owns a team-best 1.84 ERA to go with her 4-4 record. Junior RHP Marissa Young is 5-4 with a 2.23 ERA and team-leading 62 strikeouts.
TORERO SOFTBALL NOTES:
MAC ATTACK: Head Coach Melissa McElvain (16th season), the 2016 WCC Co-Coach of the Year, enters the season with 314 career wins, the most in program history. In 2016, the Toreros hit .300 for the first time in her tenure and had two players named to the NFCA All-Region team (Mary Grabowski and Taylor Spence), a program first.
BACK FOR MORE: The Toreros return 14 letterwinners from last year's team, including All-WCC honorees Megan Sabbatini (1st Team), Lauren Kane (2nd Team & WCC Freshman of the Year), Olivia Sandusky (2nd Team) and Taylor Spence (2nd Team). Sandusky, Spence, and Sabbatini were named to the preseason All-WCC team.
FRESH FACES: USD has six freshmen joining the team this season. Coach McElvain expects 3B Lindsay Clare, SS Sara Silveyra and C Madison Casiano to make an immediate impact for the Toreros. Clare (Saugus, Calif.) was a three-time All-league selection and was named Foothill League Player of the Year last season. Silveyra (Camarillo, Calif.), a four-time All-League pick, hit over .400 all four seasons. Casiano (San Diego, Calif.) won back-to-back MVP awards at Mira Mesa HS after hitting above .450 in consecutive seasons. She was also an All-League selection all four years.
FEEL THE BYRNE: Sarah Byrne (pronounced Burn) joins Coach McElvain's staff for the 2017 season. Byrne comes to USD after spending the past four years as the Head Coach of Dominican University of California.
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