SAN DIEGO - The Torero softball team (20-18, 6-3 WCC), coming off its third straight WCC series win, plays a pivotal WCC series this weekend when they travel to Provo, Utah to take on first place BYU (32-10, 6-0). On Friday, April 28th, the teams will face off in a doubleheader beginning at 4:00 p.m. (PDT). On Saturday they’ll play a single game at 12:00 p.m. (PDT) with the contest airing on BYUtv.
SABBATINI EARNS 2ND WCC HONOR: San Diego senior pitcher Megan Sabbatini (Hollister, Calif.) has been named the West Coast Conference Softball Pitcher of the Week, the conference office announced Monday. It is the second honor this season for Sabbatini. She started all three games against Santa Clara to lead the Toreros. On Saturday, she pitched back-to-back complete games, giving up just one run in each contest, as the Toreros earned 3-1 and 2-1 victories. In game one on Saturday, Sabbatini scattered six hits while collecting five strikeouts and walking two. In game two of the doubleheader, she scattered seven hits with three strikeouts and no walks. In Sunday’s finale, she pitched 4.2 innings over two separate appearances. For the week, Sabbatini was 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA. She pitched a total of 18.2 innings and collected 10 strikeouts to improve to a team-best 10 victories and 8 complete games pitched this season. For the season she is now 10-9 with a 3.84 ERA over 124.0 innings of work with 91 strikeouts.
A GLANCE AT TORERO LEADERS: The Toreros enter the week with an overall record of 20-18. This marks the ninth straight year USD has won 20 or more games. The Toreros are currently in second place in the WCC standings with their 6-3 record, trailing only BYU (6-0). USD has won back-to-back WCC series against Pacific (2-1) and Saint Mary’s College (2-1) to open league play. Sophomore Taylor Spence (.400 B.A.) continues to lead all WCC players in batting average, and ranks second in hits with 50. Freshman Sara Silveyra ranks 10th in the WCC in batting average (.311). Senior Olivia Sandusky (.295 B.A.) leads the Toreros with 6 HR and 31 RBI. Kailey Hill owns a team-best 9 doubles, and is second behind Sandusky with 25 RBI and 4 HR. Lauren Kane ranks fourth in batting average (.292) and has contributed 8 doubles, 3 HR and 21 RBI. Taylor Spence leads the team with 15 multi-hit games, and Olivia Sandusky leads with 8 multi- RBI games. In the pitching department, Megan Sabbatini leads the team in innings pitched (124.0), strikeouts (91), wins (10) and complete games (8). USD’s .283 overall team batting average ranks second in the WCC behind BYU (.306).
WCC STANDINGS (thru April 23): BYU (6-0 WCC, 32-10), San Diego (6-3, 20-18), Pacific (4-5, 21-24), Santa Clara (4-5, 12-29), Saint Mary’s (2-4, 15-23) and Loyola Marymount (2-7, 16-29).
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: For the third straight WCC series, the Toreros won 2-of-3. This time against the Santa Clara Broncos, USD swept Saturday’s DH by scores of 3-1 and 2-1. Senior pitcher Megan Sabbatini pitched back-to-back complete games against the Broncos to improve her season record to 10-9. Lindsay Clare paced the Toreros in game one on Saturday with a 2-for-3 performance; Shannon McKeon paced USD’s offense in game two with a 2-for-3 outing. In Sunday’s 7-3 loss, Olivia Sandusky paced USD with a 2-for-3 outing with 1 run and 2 RBI from her first inning triple. Lauren Kane chipped in with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate as well. Lauren Berriatua (1.2 innings, 1 run, 4 hits) suffered the loss to drop to 6-5 on the season.
SCOUTING THE BYU COUGARS: The BYU Cougars, the preseason favorite in the WCC Coaches Poll, is coming off a bye week. With a record of 32-10 and 6-0 in the WCC, they will host Utah Valley on Wednesday before the San Diego series. The Cougars enter Wednesday’s nonconference game riding an 11 game winning streak, including four straight shutouts. As of April 18th they were ranked No. 19 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll and No. 21 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll. Senior RHP McKenna Bull is a 6-time WCC Pitcher of the Week this season. She owns a record of 21-4 with a 1.56 ERA and 159 strikeouts. She is 4-0in WCC play and has yet to give up a run over 22 innings. Sophomore OF Lexi Tarrow leads the team in batting (.429), while a trio of players have at least 7 HR and 30 RBI – sophomore catcher Libby Sugg (9 HR, 37 RBI, .345 B.A.), junior 3B Caitlyn Allredge (7 HR, 30 RBI, .347 B.A.) and senior 1B Ashley Thompson (7 HR, 30 RBI, .306 B.A.). BYU owns a league-best .306 team batting average. Head Coach Gordon Eakin is in his 15th season.
LOOKING AHEAD: Following the BYU series, the Toreros will be off until their final regular-season WCC series at Loyola Marymount (May 12 @ 2:00 p.m.; May 13 at 12:00 p.m. & 2:00 p.m.).
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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