Softball Opens West Coast Swing at San Diego Classic

Softball Opens West Coast Swing at San Diego Classic

Melissa Lacro and the Crimson head west for 12 games over spring break (Envision Sports Media).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard softball team returns to action this weekend, beginning its spring break trip to California at the San Diego Classic II. The Crimson is slated to play five games beginning with a doubleheader Friday at 7:30 p.m. EST against Weber State. Games against New Mexico State, Santa Clara, San Jose State and Utah State will follow.

Harvard has been on an almost two-week absence from competition. The Crimson last took the field at the Winthrop Invitational against Coppin State and South Carolina Upstate February 28. Taking on Coppin St. in its first game of the tournament, Morgan Groompitched a two-hit shutout to lead the Crimson to an 8-0 victory in five frames. Harvard was unable to keep that momentum going into its second game of the day, falling to S.C. Upstate, 3-0, despite outhitting the Spartans, 6-5.

Taylor Cabe has seen the most time in the circle thus far, tossing 21.1 innings. Her 2.62 ERA is second on the team, trailing Morgan Groom's 2.27 mark. Cabe and Groom are each holding opposing hitters under .235.

Catcher Katherine Appelbe paces the Crimson offense, leading the team with a .438 average, six RBI and .625 slugging percentage. Freshman Maddy Kaplanand junior outfielders Zoe Galindo and Haley Davis have made the entire Harvard lineup formidable through the early stages of the season. The trio is each batting over .300 with Kaplan bursting onto the scene with a .389 average and seven hits. Galindo has a team-best four steals, as the Crimson are 18-of-20 on stolen base attempts.

WEBER STATE (13-9) – Friday – 7:30 p.m.
All-time series: First-ever meeting
The Wildcats face Harvard in their second game of the San Diego Classic II. Weber St. enters the weekend with a 13-9 record after splitting a midweek series with UC Riverside. Over their last seven games, the Wildcats are 5-2, scoring eight runs or more in four of those victories.

Infielders Aubrey Whitmer and Alyson Kulp have provided the Weber St. offense with a combined 34 RBI, while hitting at .439 and .400, respectively, to lead the team. Kulp accounts for a large portion of the power in the Wildcats lineup, launching three homers and eight doubles.

Bailey Seek has the most innings in the circle at 44.1, but her three wins is one shy of Seirra Whitmer and MaCauley Flint who each have four. Whitmer boasts the low ERA on the staff at 2.46, while Flint has a team-high 40 strikeouts.

NEW MEXICO STATE (18-8) – Friday – 10 p.m.
All-time series: 1-0
The Aggies had a nine-game win streak snapped on Tuesday, falling at home to Middle Tennessee, 6-5. Last weekend, New Mexico St. hosted the NM State Round Robin, winning each of its five games and will enter the weekend with an 18-8 overall mark.

A trio of hurlers comprise the Aggies' pitching staff. Karysta Donisthorpe boasts a 10-2 record in 20 appearances. Her 2.68 ERA is the low standard. Dallas McBride is 5-4 over 17 appearances, sporting a 6.37 ERA, while Makayla McAdams is 3-2 with a 5.02 ERA.

At the dish, Brennalyn Nakamura has a team-high .459 batting average having played in half of the Aggies' games. Emma Adams has the highest average among all starters at .447, with nine doubles and 24 RBI. New Mexico St. has hit 42 homers as a team, led by Fiana Finau's seven.

SANTA CLARA (5-17) – Saturday – 7:30 p.m.
All-time series: 1-0
Santa Clara has lost five of its last six, including its most recent four games entering the weekend. In those last four games, the Broncos have been outscored 37-15 with losses to Washington, Minnesota and Stanford twice.

The Broncos have consistency in its lineup, as five of its starters are betting between .300 and .338. Brezzy Bernard leads the way at .338 and seven doubles. Gianetta France has driven in a team-high 17 runs on six long balls and four doubles.

Pitching has been an area of concern though, as the Broncos' team ERA stands at 5.37. Ciara Gonzales is the leader with a 3.76 ERA anda 5-7 record over 63.1 innings. The three other pitchers on the Broncos' staff are all winless.

SAN  JOSE STATE (16-9) – Saturday - 10 p.m.
All-time series: 0-3
At its last two tournaments, San Jose State went 2-3 and will enter the San Diego Classic with a 16-9 record. Playing in the Judy Garman Classic in Fullerton, California last weekend, the Spartans lost to ranked foes Florida, Michigan and Arizona State, but picked up wins over Long Beach State and Iowa.

Junior infielder Jessie Hufstetler has stood out among her teammates, racking up a team-high 41 RBI and a .487 batting average. Her eight homers and eight doubles are tied for the team lead. Sharon-Renae Estrada has also knocked eight homers and is second on the team with 28 RBI.

Allison Lang and Madison Fish serve as the workhorses in the circle, with Lang throwing 71.2 innings and Fish tossing 50. Fish maintains an 8-3 record, 37 strikeouts and a 4.34 ERA, while Land is 5-4 with 38 K's and a 3.32 ERA.

UTAH STATE (5-14) – Sunday – 2:30 p.m.
All-time series: 2-0
Utah State had a rough start to the season, going 1-12, but has four victories over the course of its six most recent games. At the Springhill Suites Invitational in Boise, Idaho last weekend, the Aggies topped Montana, Saint Mary's and Weber St.

Sarah Chow has been the most consistent bat in the Utah St. lineup, hitting .443 with 11 runs scored. The power comes from Alleyah Armendariz, who has six home runs and is tied for the team-lead in RBI with 12.

Noelle Johnson has four of the five wins in the circle, posting a 3.81 ERA and 50 strikeouts. Armendariz has the other win to go with seven losses and a 6.49 ERA.