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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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SDSU won its 13th straight home game, finishing with a 24-4 (.857) record at SDSU Softball Stadium, its best home mark in program history. (GoAztecs)

SDSU Run-Rules SJSU, 8-0, for Second Straight MW Title

The Aztecs earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament
By GoAztecs

San Diego State run-ruled San Jose State, 8-0, in five innings to capture its second straight Mountain West Championship Saturday afternoon at SDSU Softball Stadium. The second-seeded Aztecs (35-15), who went 3-0 in the first MW Tournament since 2006, earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with the victory.


It was the ninth MW championship overall for SDSU, but the first MW Tournament title. San Diego State had five runner-up finishes in the seven years the tournament was contested prior from 2000-06. The Aztecs also have a league-best eight regular-season championships.


A day after three SDSU pitchers combined on a five-hit, 7-0 shutout over the fourth-seeded Spartans (26-28), two San Diego State pitchers combined on a one-hit shutout in today's championship game.


Sarah Lehman drew the start but got one out while walking the based loaded. Dee Dee Hernandez replaced Lehman in the top of the first inning and struck out Jessica Giacoma looking before getting Adrianna Noriega to ground into a fielder's choice to shortstop Jillian Celis as the Aztecs escaped unscathed. Hernandez (8-3) allowed only one baserunner the rest of the way on a one-hit single by Giacoma in the fourth. Overall, Hernandez tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings with one hit and no walks allowed, while striking out three.


It was SDSU's second one-hitter of the season (Lehman/Allie Light vs. Long Beach State on March 3) and 39th in recorded program history.


Like yesterday's win over SJSU, San Diego State jumped out to a hot start with a quick two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Bella Espinoza and Mac Barbara had back-to-back singles to start the game, before Celis hit a hard shot off San Jose State pitcher Lacie Ham's glove for a third straight single, which allowed Espinoza to score. Cali Decker followed with a fourth consecutive single to plate Barbara. Ham (7-14), however, stuck out AJ Murphy swinging and got Jeweliana Perez to fly out to center field.


San Diego State added a run in the second when Barbara's groundout scored Elianna Reyes.


On the second pitch after usual Spartan starter Janessa Ullegue entered the game in the third, Decker homered off the right-field foul pole to make it 4-0 Aztecs.


SDSU extended its lead in the fourth as Celis stroked a two-run double and later scored on a Decker single. Makena Brocki then doubled down the left-field line to plate Ally Dueker with the final run of the game.


Hernandez retired SJSU in order in the fifth on just six pitches to secure the championship for San Diego State.


Decker and Espinoza each went 3-for-3 for the Aztecs, who outscored their opponents, 20-4, over their three tournament games and outhit the opponents, 30-14, averaging .400 for and .197 against. Decker had three RBIs for the game and a run scored, while Espinoza had two runs and two stolen bases. Celis added two hits, three RBIs and a run scored.


SDSU will play Liberty in the NCAA Los Angeles Regional, the NCAA announced Sunday. The Aztecs will play the Flames (38-20) at 8 p.m. PT Friday at Easton Stadium in Los Angeles on the campus of No. 2/2 UCLA (52-5), the tournament's No. 2 overall seed. Grand Canyon (46-11) is the other team in the double-elimination regional. It is the 13th NCAA tournament bid for the Aztecs (35-15) and second under second-year head coach Stacey Nuveman Deniz. 




Four SDSU players were named to the all-tournament team, including SS Jillian Celis as the tournament's most valuable player. Celis batted .556 (5-for-9) with a home run, seven RBIs and four runs over the three games. She was joined by C Cali Decker (7-for-10 (.700), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R), LF Bella Espinoza (5-for-9 (.545), 1 RBI, 5 R, 2 SB) and LHP Dee Dee Hernandez (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 combined shutouts, 5 K, 0 BB, 6.2 IP, .200 avg.).



San Diego State recorded back-to-back shutouts against the same team for the first time since beating Colorado State, 2-0 and 13-0, on March 19-20, 2022. The Aztecs went 5-0 against San Jose State this year and have won 10 consecutive games in the series.



SDSU won its 13th straight home game, finishing with a 24-4 (.857) record at SDSU Softball Stadium, its best home mark in program history. The 13-game home winning streak is tied for the seventh-longest active streak in the country.


[2] San Diego State 8, [4] San Jose State 0 (5 innings)

San Jose State (26-28) 000 00 -- 0 1 0

San Diego State (35-15) 211 4x -- 8 11 0

Ham, Ullegue (3) and Hutchingson; Lehman, Hernandez (1) and Decker d Decker

W - Hernandez, 8-3; L - Ham, 7-14

HR: San Diego State, Decker (4)


2023 Mountain West Softball Championship

SDSU Softball Stadium - San Diego, Calif.

All Games on Mountain West Network


Thursday, May 11

Game 1: [4] San Jose State 1, [5] Fresno State 0 (Fresno State eliminated)

Game 2: [6] Nevada 11, [3] Colorado State 0 (5 innings) (Colorado State eliminated)

Game 3: [4] San Jose State 6, [1] Boise State 4

Game 4: [2] San Diego State 5, [6] Nevada 4


Friday, May 12

Game 5: [2] San Diego State 7, [4] San Jose State 0

Game 6: [1] Boise State 4, [6] Nevada 3 (8 innings) (Nevada eliminated)

Game 7: [4] San Jose State 2, [1] Boise State 1 (Boise State eliminated)


Saturday, May 13

Game 8: [2] San Diego State 8, [4] San Jose State 0 (5 innings) (San Jose State eliminated)


2023 Mountain West Softball All-Tournament Team


Most Valuable Player: Jillian Celis, IF (San Diego State)


All-Tournament Team

Jillian Celis, IF (San Diego State)

Cali Decker, C (San Diego State)

Bella Espinoza, OF (San Diego State)

Dee Dee Hernandez, P (San Diego State)

Aubrie Thomas, OF (San Jose State)

Makenzie Hutchinson, C (San Jose State)

Jenessa Ullegue, P (San Jose State)

Autumn Bennett, IF (Boise State)

Taylor Caudill, P (Boise State)

Black Craft, P (Nevada)

Aaliyah Jenkins, UTL (Nevada)