SAN DIEGO - The Torero softball team (16-16, 2-1 WCC) continues league play with a three-game series at Saint Mary’s College this coming Friday and Saturday. The Toreros and Gaels will play a 3:00 p.m. contest on Friday, April 14th at Cottrell Field. On Saturday, April 15th, first pitch for the doubleheader is slated for 12 noon.
SABBATINI EARNS WCC HONOR: Senior Megan Sabbatini (Hollister, Calif.) was selected West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week (April 10) after she earned both of USD’s wins this past weekend against the Pacific Tigers. Sabbatini posted a 1.56 ERA across 18 innings to help the Toreros win two of three over the Pacific Tigers over the weekend. In game one of the series on Friday, Sabbatini pitched 11 innings and struck out a season-high 11 batters in the Toreros 4-3 extra inning win. On Sunday, in the series’ rubber match, Sabbatini tossed another complete game where she allowed just one earned run and struck out six in the Toreros’ 8-3 win.
A GLANCE AT TORERO LEADERS: The Toreros head into Friday’s game at Saint Mary’s with a 16-16 overall record, and 2-1 WCC mark. Sophomore Taylor Spence (.429 B.A., 45 hits) continues to lead all WCC players in both departments. Sara Silveyra ranks seventh in the WCC in batting average (.333). Olivia Sandusky (.295 B.A.) leads the Toreros with 5 HR and 26 RBI, and currently owns a 12-game hitting streak. Kailey Hill owns a team-best 9 doubles, and is second behind Sandusky with 24 RBI and 4 HR. Lauren Kane ranks third in batting average (.301) and has contributed 7 doubles, 3 HR and 19 RBI. In the pitching department, Delaney Heller owns a team-best 3.75 ERA. Megan Sabbatini leads the team in innings pitched (95.1), strikeouts (72), wins (7) and complete games (5). USD’s .294 overall team batting average, along with its .313 WCC team batting average, are both top marks among WCC teams. Taylor Spence leads the team with 14 multi-hit games, and Olivia Sandusky leads with 6 multi- RBI games.
WCC STANDINGS (thru April 10): BYU (3-0 WCC, 27-10), San Diego (2-1, 16-16), Santa Clara (2-1, 10-22), Pacific (1-2, 18-21), Saint Mary’s (1-2, 14-21) and Loyola Marymount (0-3, 14-25).
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: The Toreros won their opening WCC series with two wins in three outings against visiting Pacific. In Saturday’s first game the Toreros came away with a thrilling 4-3 victory in 11 innings. The Toreros jumped out to a 3-0 lead through 3 innings, only to see the Tigers knot the score at 3-all in the 6th. USD’s game-winning run came in the 11th with Lauren Kane reaching on a fielder’s choice and advancing to second on a wild pitch. Kailey Hill then hit a sharp single to the opposite field and Kane beat the throw to win the game. Megan Sabbatini pitched all 11 innings, striking out a season-high 11 batters. Taylor Spence (3-for-6) and Frankie Perales (3-for-5) paced the offense. In Saturday’s second game, Pacific jumped out to a 7-0 lead through 3 innings and never looked back in taking an 8-2 victory. Sara Silveyra knocked a double with USD adding 5 other singles. Torero starter Delaney Heller (4-4) was charged with six runs (four earned) in 2.1 innings. Lauren Berriatua pitched the final 4.2 innings, giving up two runs on four hits. In Sunday’s rubber match the Toreros used a 5-run 3rd inning to spearhead their 8-3 victory. USD sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the third, scoring five runs on five hits, all coming with two outs. Taylor Spence got things started with an infield single; she then scored on an Olivia Sandusky double down the left field line. A pair of walks would load the bases for Kailey Hill, who roped a double to the right center gap to plate two more Toreros. Madison Casiano and Frankie Perales then recorded back-to-back RBI singles to bring the score to 6-0 USD. For the game, Sandusky, Hill and Casiano all totaled 2 RBI. Megan Sabbatini pitched her second complete game in the series, totaling 6 strikeouts and giving up just one earned run.
SCOUTING THE SAINT MARY’S GAELS: The Saint Mary’s Gaels (15-21, 1-2 WCC) opened up league play last weekend against Santa Clara. They opened with a 5-4 loss before rallying for a 2-1 victory in the second game of the DH. On Sunday they lost 4-2 to the Broncos. Freshman INF Nikki Alexander leads the offense in batting average (.388), runs (22), hits (40) and walks (18). Junior UTL Hailey Sparacino leads the power game with 9 doubles and 24 RBI. Senior RHP Katie Moss is the workhorse on the mound with her 8-8 record, 9 complete games, 113.1 innings of work and 103 strikeouts. Head Coach Jessica Rogers is in her 13th season.
LOOKING AHEAD: Next week will already be the team’s final home stand when they play host to the Santa Clara Broncos on Saturday, April 22nd (12 & 2 pm) and Sunday, April 23rd (12 pm, Senior Day).
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 letter winners 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 2017 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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