Taylor Stewart's Walk-Off Home Run Powers Aztec Softball Past Texas 4-3
LOS ANGELES (GoAztecs.com) -- Freshman Taylor Stewart (Bellflower, Calif.) hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the San Diego State softball team a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Texas Saturday night at Easton Stadium in Los Angeles. With the win, the Aztecs (38-19) advance to the NCAA Los Angeles Regional final to face No. 7/8 UCLA (47-10) at noon PT Sunday.
This is SDSU’s third regional final appearance since 2011 and its fifth in 11 overall tournament appearances. San Diego State will have to beat the Bruins twice to move onto the NCAA Super Regionals.
After rallying from one-run deficits twice with solo homers in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, Stewart put the game away when she took a 1-1 pitch just over the right field wall. It was her fourth home run of the season and second walk-off hit of the year. The Aztecs now have four walk-off wins in 2015.
The Aztecs got nine innings of gritty ball from sophomore Erica Romero (Corona, Calif.). Romero (36-16) allowed three runs on nine hits, four walks and a hit batter over all nine innings, while striking out four. This came after pitching all seven innings in a 5-4 SDSU win over CSUN earlier in the day. In all, the right-hander threw 235 pitches over the two games.
Romero, who has thrown San Diego State’s last 837 pitches and 55 innings, has the Aztecs last 37 decisions. She now has four single-season school records on the year, including wins (36), innings pitched (313.1), games started (46) and appearances (55).
SDSU broke up a scoreless tie with its first hit of the game in the bottom of the third inning. Senior Hayley Miles (Antelope, Calif.) drew a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Samantha Camello (Temecula, Calif.). Senior Kayla Jordan (San Diego/Bonita Vista HS) then followed with a single to center field for the first run of the game.
The Aztecs threatened again in the fifth as sophomore Sydnee Cable (Huntington Beach, Calif.) singled and was replaced by senior Jacki Campa (La Verne, Calif.), who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Kayla Bufardeci (Castro Valley, Calif.). Camello drew a walk and Jordan reached on an infield single to load the bases with two outs. UT reliever Tierra Davis, however, got out of the jam by getting SDSU junior Leia Ruiz (Chino, Calif.) to ground out to the Texas shortstop.
The Longhorns finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth when Mickenzi Krpec drew a pinch-hit walk and Devon Tunning followed with a two-run homer over the center field wall. This came after Romero recorded back-to-back strikeouts.
Jenavee Peres (Garden Grove, Calif.), the Mountain West Freshman of the Year, tied it up for the Aztecs in the sixth with a one-out solo home run well over the center field fence. It was her ninth of the season.
UT answered in the top of the seventh, however, when Erin Shireman drilled a two-out homer over the left field scoreboard.
Like it had done all year, SDSU refused to give up and Miles delivered with a one-out solo home run on a 2-2 pitch to force extra innings. It was the senior’s sixth of the season.
Texas got two runners on base with a leadoff walk and a single, but Romero got Stephanie Ceo to pop out to Ruiz at second base, Tunning to fly out to Miles in center field and Stephanie Wong to strike out looking.
Neither team would threaten again until Stewart ended the game with one swing in the ninth.
Jordan had two of San Diego State’s six hits and added an RBI and her 21st stolen base of the year. Miles had the solo home run, two runs and a walk, while Peres and Stewart continued their solid debut seasons with the solo homers.
2015 NCAA Division I Softball Championship
Regionals - Double-Elimination
Easton Stadium - Los Angeles, Calif.
All Games on ESPN3
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Game 5: San Diego State 4, Texas 3 (9 inn.) (Texas eliminated)
Texas (38-17) 000 002 10 -- 3 9 0
San Diego State (38-19 001 001 11 -- 4 6 1
Romero and Peres; Wright, Davis (5), Wright (8) and Shireman
W - Romero, 36-16; L - Wright, 18-9
HR: Texas, Tunning (7), Shireman (10); San Diego State, Peres (9), Miles (6), Stewart (4)
Game 3: UCLA 4, Texas 1
Game 4: San Diego State 5, CSUN 4 (CSUN eliminated)
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Game 6: Noon PT - UCLA vs. San Diego State
Game 7: 2:45 p.m. PT - *if necessary
Friday, May 15, 2015
Game 1: Texas 8, San Diego State 3
Game 2: UCLA 9, CSUN 1 (5 inn.)