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Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Weekend split against Chico State maintains playoff spot for softball team

The softball team sits above the playoff line after splitting home series against Chico State
Vanden Harris
San Francisco State University’s softball team cheers as Rylee McDaniel (6) cruises into home plate in a game versus Chico State at SFSU’s Softball Field on Friday, April 19, 2024. (Vanden Harris for Golden Gate Xpress)

The San Francisco State University softball team went 2-2 in its home series game against Chico State University over the weekend, remaining in a playoff position going into the final weekend of the season.

The Gators clinched game one of the series on Friday with a commanding 5-0 victory, only to stumble later in the day with a 4-1 loss. Saturday brought another setback as they lost  5-1, but they rallied in the late afternoon with a strong 5-1 win of their own, concluding the crucial home series on a positive note.

“You always want to take that momentum, so finishing the series with a win is huge looking into next week,” said SFSU head coach Alicia Reid. “A split hurt us a little bit but, at the same time, didn’t kill us because we still are in the same spot.”

The Gators currently hold the fifth spot in the California Collegiate Athletic Association conference with a record of 16-16 and 20-23 overall, slightly above California State, East Bay and Cal Poly Humboldt. They are ahead of East Bay due to the head-to-head tiebreaker the Gators hold against them.

The top six teams in the conference earn a spot in the CCAA Softball Tournament, which will take place from May 1 to 4 at the California State University, San Marcos Softball Field in San Marcos. 

“We’re in the driver’s seat of our own destiny,” Reid said. “That’s a good spot to be in versus trying to rely on someone else winning or losing games to help you.”

SFSU has not qualified for the CCAA Softball Tournament since 2019, and they will go into the final weekend of the regular season with a spot in the tournament on the line. 

The Gators will close their season this weekend with four away games split between Friday and Saturday against Sonoma State, the first-place team in the conference. If SFSU can win all of these games, they will qualify for the postseason and get more games. 

San Francisco State University’s Marley Gonzales (11) watches a ball fall into left field in a game versus Chico State at SFSU’s Softball Field on Friday, April 19, 2024. (Vanden Harris for Golden Gate Xpress)

The highest they could finish is third place, and the lowest they could finish is seventh. The Gators finished seventh in their last two seasons and will be looking to change that outcome this weekend. 

“Every game in our conference is a dogfight — everybody’s pretty close to each other at this point,” said right-handed pitcher Kaitlyn Maddux. “We just gotta go in there hoping to do the best we can.”

Teams from all over the conference standings can beat each other on any given day, and a game isn’t over until it’s been played. 

“Teams can take games from each other, and that’s what makes our conference fun,” Reid said. “You can never overlook anybody. You gotta get after it and take it one game at a time.”

Reid mentioned pitching as something the team has excelled in all season. It was the main strength that helped earn the Gators’ two wins this weekend. On the season, their team earned run average is 2.92 per game, which is fifth-best in the CCAA.

“I think I did good going side-to-side because that’s my specialty,” said first-year right-handed pitcher Elise Roy. “I did good keeping the ball off the plate and making them chase.”

Roy lost her first pitchers duel of the weekend on Friday but bounced back on Saturday with a victory to improve to 12-7 this season. Maddux also stepped up to the plate in two games and had a successful weekend pitching for the Gators, getting five strikeouts in 2.2 innings pitched.

“I think my change-up was working really well this weekend,” Maddux said. “It was keeping people off balance, which is obviously the best.”

Roy was recently named CCAA Pitcher of the Week during the week of April 8-14. She is ranked fifth out of all the pitchers in the conference with an ERA of 2.31 per game and a record of 12-7. 

Mari Takeda Bajan, junior pitcher for SFSU, was named Pitcher of the Week during the week of March 4-10 and is ranked seventh out of all the pitchers in the conference, with an ERA of 2.45 and a record of 7-11.

Pitching is not the team’s only strength. According to Roy, the Gators are a team on and off the field, which allows them to bond and leads to better results during gameplay.

“I think that we’ve grown closer,” Roy said. “A lot of things happen during the season and I think it brought us together. It helps us in games.”

The Gators’ season comes down to the last four games, and it’s a huge opportunity to extend it and clinch a spot in the tournament. 

“If we take care of business, it’ll put us in a good position to still stay in the top six for the conference,” Reid said. “We’re in a good spot, where we wanna be, going into the last weekend.”

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About the Contributor
Jake Knoeller
Jake Knoeller, Staff Reporter
Jake Knoeller (he/him) is a reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in communications. He was born in Eureka, California and raised in Humboldt County. He currently lives in San Francisco. He previously worked for The Lumberjack, the student newspaper of Cal Poly Humboldt. During his free time, Jake enjoys playing or watching soccer, listening to music, and exploring neighborhoods in San Francisco.

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