Posted by Staff Writer Eric Branch:
Off to its best start in school history with a 18-5 record, the Sonoma State softball team is ranked 21st in this week’s National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll released Wednesday.
The Seawolves went 3-1 against then-18th-ranked Cal State Monterey Bay last weekend, propelling them into the national rankings after receiving votes in each of the previous two polls.
“It is great to be recognized for our hard work and achievement so far this season,” coach Jennifer Bridges said. “It only solidifies that we are on track in reaching our ultimate goal of becoming conference champions.”
Led by junior LeeAnn Stroud, who leads the CCAA with a .481 batting average, SSU leads the conference in nine offensive categories: batting average (.330), slugging percentage (.529), on-base percentage (.399), runs scored (125), runs batted in (118), doubles (39), triples (6), home runs (24), and total bases (327).
Senior Simone Brandalise belted her team-leading fifth home run in extra innings Saturday, helping the Seawolves defeat the Otters in cone-from-behind fashion. The home run was the team’s 24th, tying the school record for most home runs in a season.
Freshmen pitchers Julianne Martinez and Samantha Lipperd have also been instrumental in the Seawolves success this season as well. Both have garnered CCAA Pitcher of the Week awards this season; Martinez is second in the conference in ERA (1.31) and Lipperd tossed a no-hitter in her second collegiate appearance.
SSU, which sits atop the CCAA standings at 13-3, holds a two-game lead over Cal State Monterey Bay in the CCAA standings and a four-game lead over third-place UC San Diego. The Seawolves will travel to Chico State this weekend for a four-game series, starting at 1 p.m. Friday.