Linford leads Spartans to seventh straight win

By Ernie Gonzalez: In February 2015, the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX. That same month, San Jose State won seven consecutive games.

History has repeated itself as the Pats have once again won the Super Bowl and the Spartans, who haven’t suffered a loss since the fourth of March, are on another seven game winning streak after defeating the Iowa State Cyclones this morning, 4-1.

SJSU went 6-0 at the Davis Invitational with notable victories over the host Aggies (twice) and the Seton Hall Pirates.

Spartan head coach Peter Turner, who recently achieved win number 300, was pleased by his team’s performance over the past few days.

“Good teams win close games and bad teams lose close games,” Turner said. Turner believes tight games such as these can only help the Spartans moving forward.

“I’m pretty pleased that we had a lot of close games and we came out victorious,” Turner said. “It will help this young team grow.”

SJSU’s pitching during the win streak has been nothing short of magnificent, giving up just 11 total runs in 50 innings pitched for a 1.57 ERA.

A significant reason for the streak has been Spartan ace Katelyn Linford who finished the week with five wins, and was even wrist-tapped in relief by Coach Turner Friday against UMASS for her third save of the year.

It’s safe to say that without Linford, SJSU would not have swept the tournament, as she has pitched tirelessly over the past week. “It’s a little more than I’m used to, but I will get used to it and adjust to it,” Linford said.

Linford’s aggressiveness and command has been her signature throughout the first quarter of the season, but she said will make changes to improve her durability in counts.

“Instead of trying to make them hit a bad pitch, I’m making them hit my best pitch,” Linford said.

Linford has now thrown six complete games, is 10-2 and hugging a respectable 2.64 ERA on the season.

The Spartans were held hitless up until the fifth inning by Cyclone freshman Brianna Weilbacher, who set an Iowa State record her last time in the circle, striking out 14 in a 2-0, one-hit shutout versus Seton Hall.

It only took three hits to knock in four runs Saturday morning for the Spartans. Two of the three were triples.

But the Spartans’ Emma Entzminger was hit by a pitch, and later scored from first thanto a triple by Casey Watt.

Madison Aurin then drove Watt in one a sac fly. SJSU later added two more in the sixth, extending the lead to four. Aurin would go on to tack another RBI  in the sixth, giving her 13 on the year.

Hitting .351, Aurin leads the team in total bases and has been arguably the most consistent bat for the Spartans. “Sweeping the week, it felt really nice,” Aurin said. “It gave us a lot of confidence.”

The Spartans have been tight-lipped about their win streak, putting the focus of seven innings at-a-time.

“We just go game by game,”Aurin said.

The Spartans earned themselves a six-day break as they improve to 17-9 on the season.

SJSU will turn the calendar to conference play Friday in Stockton for a St. Patrick’s Day matchup against the Nevada Wolfpack (13-8).

The Spartans have yet to rally together an eight-game winning streak since March of 2013.

First pitch against Nevada is set for 7 p.m.


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