By Daniel Reedy
San Jose State shook off an 8-0 loss against Grand Canyon University to open up the GCU Invitational to win three of its following four games with a plus-18 run differential.
The Spartans finished 3-2 in the tournament, winning the three middle games in a row by a combined score of 22-3.
But SJSU just couldn’t beat the hosting Antelopes.
The Spartans who were shutout by the host’s ace Taylor Nowlin in the first game, managed just two runs and dropped the final game of the invitational 3-2 to GCU.
Casey Watt batted .417 over the weekend and got a hit in each of the tournament’s games. The senior outfielder has increased her .291 average last year as a part-time player to .313 in a full-time role at the top of the order this season.
Pitcher Katelyn Linford was the Spartans top performer on the mound, going 2-1 with a 3.21 ERA over 14 innings pitched in the tournament. SJSU is now 4-1 in games that Linford starts.
Centerfielder Brittany Abacherli is returning to form after a shaky start to the season.
The junior went 3-5 with a .750 on base percentage and scored three runs. She hit a three-run shot for her first homer of the season on Friday against Portland State.
Emma Entzminger started each game at the hot corner, but went hitless in the final three games during the Invitational. The junior hasn’t been great offensively out of the gate, but has been solid in the field and has yet to make an error.
Emily Rogers only threw in one game but tossed three and a half scoreless innings.
With the loss of several senior starters from last season, the Spartans are still mixing up the batting order as they try to find the right formula. Abacherli for example has batted in each of the first three spots. Watt has batted first, second, third and fifth.
Of the six teams they face in the next tournament, only McNeese State (no. 33) finished above the Spartans (no. 65) in the NCAA rankings following last season.
SJSU’s first game of the San Diego Classic begins at 9 a.m. against McNeese State.