Friday, May 1, 2009

Aztec softball post, Sat. May 2nd


To some, the San Diego State softball team's season was over even before it started. That's because the Aztecs -- in trying to win their fifth Mountain West Conference title in the past eight years -- would have to do it without their ace, All-American pitcher Christina Ross, who graduated after leading SDSU into the NCAA Tournament last season.

Nobody told coach Kathy Van Wyk's team the news, however.

Behind emerging pitching stars, sophomore Samantha Beasley (Steele Canyon HS) and freshman Bailey Micetich, the Aztecs overcame a slow start (5-8) to put together winning streaks of seven and nine games and put themselves in position for yet another conference crown.

Certainly, though, the dream was going to die for good Friday night against conference-leading BYU. Needing to beat the first-place Cougars in all three games this weekend at the SDSU Softball Stadium to have a chance at repeating, SDSU was down to its final out in the series opener, trailing, 4-0.

Once again, the gutty-little Aztecs failed to get the message. Improbably rallying for four
two-out runs in the 7th-inning to tie the game, SDSU stayed alive on Jessica Camello's
game-winning single in the 8th-inning, beating BYU, 5-4, and snapping the Cougars' 16-game win streak in the process.

The two teams meet again today (Saturday) in a 1 p.m. double-header. BYU (35-18, 8-1 in conference) still has the inside track to the title. But two more wins today by the Aztecs
(32-16, 9-3) would pull them even in the loss column and give them the leg-up on another championship.

None of it would even be possible were it not for a rather impossible rally Friday night.

Held to just two hits through 6 2/3 innings by BYU's Christie Zinanti, SDSU had the bases empty with two outs in the seventh. One more out, and the MWC title would change hands.

But freshman pinch-hitter Ashley Rose singled. Shortstop Jen Wisneski followed with a single, and center fielder Brittany Knudsen was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Another pinch-hitter, Chrstine Kulick, walked to force in a run and make it 4-1.

Catcher Erin Floros, an All-American for SDSU two seasons ago as a sophomore, drilled a
two-run single...and when BYU center fielder Angeline Quiocho bobbled the ball, pinch-runner Felicia Reifschneider (Morse HS) came around all the way from first and tied the game, 4-4.

After Micetich retired BYU in the top of the eighth, left fielder Tonye McCorkle reached on an error to start the bottom of the eighth. McCorkle stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored the winning run on Camello's (Temecula HS) one-out single.

The comeback complete, the Aztecs live to fight another day. A day in which they must win two more. Don't anybody tell them they can't do it.

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