Gators split series with Sonoma State

Natalie Minteer picked up both of SF State's wins on Saturday. Courtesy of San Francisco State Softball.

Natalie Minteer picked up both of SF State's wins on Saturday. Courtesy of San Francisco State Softball.

Grady Duggan

The San Francisco State softball team traveled to Sonoma State this past weekend as they embarked on the beginning half of their California Collegiate Athletic Association schedule.  The Gators didn’t get off to the start they had hoped for this weekend, but quickly bounced back. SFSU dropped the first two games on Friday, Feb 14, before they recovered and won both games of the double header on Saturday. While the two teams split the series 2-2, all four games were closely tested the whole time – all but one game was decided by one run. Senior infielder Katie Rohrer accredited their two bounce back wins to a different mindset on Saturday.

Katie Rohrer went 2-for-3 in game one at Sonoma State. Courtesy of San Francisco State Softball

 

“We weren’t playing to our potential on Friday,” Rohrer told Xpress. “No adjustments were made at the plate and our pitchers carried us. On Saturday, we came in with a difference mind set. We went home Friday night and reflected on the many factors of our mistakes and came into the next day with a refuse to die attitude.”

Rohrer has been one of the top offensive performers so far this season. Through the 12 games she has played in, the senior has posted a .316 batting average and a team high six doubles. She hasn’t been alone in this high-octane offense.

Through 13 total games, it hasn’t been the offense that has handicapped the Gators. The team is hitting for a combined .300 average. Sophomore Brylynn Vallejos has been leading the charge thus far, batting an impressive .419 with 15 runs, 10 walks, and 17 stolen bases. Vallejos has been selected to the “watch list” for the 2020 Schutt Sports NFCA Division II National Player and Pitcher of the Year award. 

San Francisco struggled to get things going the first two games against Sonoma State, as the pitching did keep them in both games. They entered the series averaging 6.89 runs per game but could only manufacture three runs through two games on Friday. That changed on Saturday.

San Francisco got out to an immediate lead on Saturday afternoon and never looked back. Vallejos, sophomore Katelyn Sturm and Rohrer all sparked the offense Saturday. All three had hits that scored runners which resulted to play a big factor in a nail biting 9-8 extra-inning victory in game one on Saturday. 

“Saturday’s wins set the standard for us as a team, we have incredible talent and we have to use our full potential.” Rohrer said.

The Gators saw strong performances from their pitchers on Saturday. Senior Emily Mitchell pitched the first game and threw six innings, keeping Sonoma State off the board until the fifth. She left the game 7-3, but Sonoma would eventually claw their way back into the game until San Francisco State shut the door when sophomore Nina Revior scored on an error in the ninth inning. 

It wasn’t until the final game of the series when San Francisco saw their strongest pitching performance of the season. Sophomore Natalie Minteer, who picked up wins in both games, was dominant. The lefthander only gave up one run on four hits and threw a complete game shutout in what was one of the best games of her career as a Gator. She trusted her abilities as well as her teammates to propel them to a 2-1 victory over Sonoma State.

“I made sure to hit my spots and trust my defense,” Minteer said. “I relied on my spin to hit my pitches; Sonoma is a good hitting team, so I made sure to keep them on their toes by using my variety of pitches.”

It’s a performance she will look to build off. Trusting her teammates and staying within the game will be key factors in leading the Gators to more commanding victories down the stretch.

“Moving forward I just have to keep reminding myself to trust my team and control what I can control within the game. If I’m hitting my spots, and trusting my defense, our team is going to accomplish a lot.” Minteer said.

The San Francisco State softball team will look to build off Saturday’s success with six home games this coming week. They play two games on Tuesday, Feb. 17, against San Francisco Academy of Art before hosting a big CCAA conference series against second place Cal State San Bernardino. The Gators are currently tied for third place with five teams at 4-4.