SAN DIEGO - The Torero softball team (22-22) is heading to the postseason for the first time in program history. San Diego accepted an invitation to the National Invitational Softball Championships (NISC), presented by Triple Crown Sports, and will be one of four teams in the double-elimination regional hosted by Weber State (33-19-1) in Ogden, Utah over May 16-18. Rounding out the field is Utah State (32-16) and Boise State (30-18).
The Toreros and Aggies of Utah State will meet at 12 p.m. (Pacific) in the regional opener on Tuesday, May 16, at Wildcat Softball Complex. The host Weber State Wildcats will follow with a 3 p.m. contest against the Boise State Broncos. The winners of Tuesday's games will meet at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, with the winner of that game advancing to Thursday's 9 a.m. regional championship. The losers of Tuesday's games will play at 9 a.m., with the winner of that game meeting the loser of the 12 p.m. game to decide which team will face the Wednesday morning winner for the regional title. The regional champion will join the winners from the other five regionals in advancing to the championship round.
Live stats for USD games will be available at usdtoreros.com, and for all games through WeberStateStats.com. Tickets $35 for a regional pass, or $15 per day for adults, $8 per day for seniors, or $5 for youth and students; youth under four years of age are free.
Taylor Spence NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore Taylor Spence (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) earned her first WCC honor of the season and second of her career after batting .500 (5-of-10) with three runs for the postseason bound Toreros on the week. The sophomore was 2-of-3 with one run in Friday's 4-3 loss to LMU. She then went 2-of-4 with the lone run scored in Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Loyola Marymount. Spence finished the week going 1-of-3 with one run scored in a 4-1 victory in game two of the doubleheader. She heads into the NISC Regional with a WCC-best .415 batting average (59-142). After batting .391 her rookie season, Spence is trying to become just the fourth Torero to bat .400 or above for a season (minimum 100 at-bats). The last Torero to bat .400 or above was Jennifer Milo (.402) in 1997. Milo is currently the Athletic Director at nearby Cal State University San Marcos.
SENIOR DUO IN NUMEROUS TOP-10 CAREER CATEGORIES: Senior Olivia Sandusky heads into the NISC regional ranked in ten top-10 Torero career marks – t-3rd in HR (16); 5th in hits (187), RBI (105), TB (273); t-5th in doubles (30); 6th in runs (106); t-7th in stolen base attempts (41); t-9th in stolen bases (29) and games played (190); and 10th in game starts (186). Senior Megan Sabbatini currently ranks in four top-10 pitching categories – 4th in strikeouts (317), t-7th in shutouts (6), 10th in appearances (92) and t-10th in wins (30).
SABBATINI HONORED BY SAN DIEGO HALL OF CHAMPIONS: Megan Sabbatini was named an Amateur Star of the Month for April by the San Diego Hall of Champions. During April, the senior right-handed pitcher from Hollister, California, twice was named the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week. She earned her first league honor after picking up both wins against Pacific (4-3, 8-3) as she totaled 18 innings of work while striking out 17. She earned her second WCC honor after pitching back-to-back complete game 1-run contests against Santa Clara on April 22nd. For the month she appeared in 11 games with 10 starts and had a 5-4 record and 4.20 ERA. She totaled 44 strikeouts in 51.2 innings of work.
A GLANCE AT TORERO LEADERS: The Toreros enter the NISC regional with an overall record of 22-22. This marks the ninth straight year USD has won 20 or more games. With last Saturday’s doubleheader sweep over LMU, the Toreros placed third outright in the final WCC standings at 8-7. BYU (14-1) won the league’s AQ into the NCAA Tournament, while Pacific (10-5) will host an NISC regional. Sophomore Taylor Spence (.415 B.A.) continues to lead all WCC players in batting average, and ranks second in hits with 59. Freshman Sara Silveyra has moved up to 7th in WCC batting average (.347). Senior Olivia Sandusky (.304 B.A.) had a strong weekend at LMU and leads the Toreros with 7 HR and 34 RBIs. Kailey Hill owns a team-best 10 doubles, and is tied for second on the team with 25 RBIs and 4 HR. Lauren Kane, who blasted a grand slam in the team’s 4-1 victory over LMU, is tied with Hill with 25 RBIs and 4 HR. Taylor Spence leads the team with 18 multi-hit games, and Olivia Sandusky leads with 9 multi- RBI games. In the pitching department, Megan Sabbatini leads the team in innings pitched (148.0), strikeouts (115), wins (12) and complete games (9). USD’s .282 overall team batting average ranks second in the WCC behind BYU (.323).
WCC STANDINGS (thru May 15): BYU (14-1 WCC, 44-11), Pacific (10-5, 27-24), San Diego (8-7, 22-22), Loyola Marymount (6-9, 20-31), Santa Clara (4-11, 12-35) and Saint Mary’s (3-12, 17-31).
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).
MAC ATTACK: Head Coach Melissa McElvain (16th season), the 2016 WCC Co-Coach of the Year, enters the NISC regional with 336 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. This season marks the 9th season under her watch that the Toreros have won 20 or more games.
SCOUTING THE UTAH STATE AGGIES: Making its first postseason appearance since 1993, Utah State softball earned the Mountain West's automatic bid to the NISC, as it finished the season with the best overall record (32-16) among teams not selected to the NCAA Tournament. With an overall record of 32-16 (14-9 MWC), the Aggies are paced by senior Victoria Saucedo (.381 B.A., 10 doubles, 10 HR, 35 RBI) and freshman Riley Plogger (.367 B.A., 11 doubles, 5 HR, 38 RBI). Freshman RHP Kellie White is 17-6 on the year with an ERA of 2.58 and 88 strikeouts. Head Coach Steve Johnson is in his 4th year.
A LOOK AT BOISE STATE AND WEBER STATE: Boise State enters the postseason on a four-game winning streak and off of a three-game sweep of New Mexico in the final regular-season series of Mountain West play. The Broncos finished the regular season 30-18, posting the fourth 30-win season in program history and first since 2014. Boise State's 12-12 record in Mountain West play also marked its most victories since going 14-10 in 2014. Sophomore Rebekah Cervantes is the team’s offensive leader (.413 B.A., 59 hits, 11 doubles, 8 HR, 46 RBI) and senior LHP Christina Washington is 16-9 (3.24 ERA). Head Coach Cindy Ball is in her third year.
Weber State finished the season 33-19-1, winning the Big Sky regular season title but missing out on the NCAA Tournament as the Wildcats fell to Montana in the title game of the Big Sky Softball Championship Saturday. Freshman Takesha Saltern is the offensive leader (.467 B.A., 85 hits, 9 triples, 21 RBI), and senior OF Sara Hingsberger provides the power (.337 B.A., 13 doubles, 6 HR, 48 RBIs). Junior RHP Kirtlyn Bohling is 19-12 (2.56 ERA) with 136 strikeouts. Head Coach Mary Kay Amicone is in her 4th year.
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