First-Place Aztecs Host Second-Place Nevada for Series

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SAN DIEGO -- After a weekend off from action, San Diego State plays home for the final time this season in a series against Nevada at SDSU Softball Stadium. It will be a battle between league-leading Aztecs (26-14, 13-3 MW) and second-place Wolf Pack (36-13, 12-7 MW) with games set for 6 p.m. PT Friday, 4 p.m. PT Saturday and noon PT Sunday.
Following Sunday's game will be a ceremony honoring nice SDSU seniors, including Katie Goldberg, Alyssa Garcia, Cassidy West, Macey Keester, Allie Light, Mac Barbara, Elianna Reyes, Jeweliana Perez and Makena Brocki. Most of the nine have been a part of a 2022 MW regular season championship, a 2023 MW tournament championship (first held since 2006) and a trip to the NCAA Super Regionals last season for the first time in program history, coming up a win short of making the Women's College World Series.
SDSU (13-3) currently has a 2.5-game lead on Nevada (12-7) in the MW standings, and a three-game lead on Fresno State (10-6) and UNLV (10-6). After hosting the Wolf Pack this weekend, San Diego State plays at UNLV next weekend and owns the tiebreaker with Fresno State after winning the series earlier this season. The Aztecs are looking to extend their league record with a ninth regular-season title, although only the MW tournament winner (May 9-11 at Boise State) received the automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
San Diego State, which has won 17 of its last 20 games (17-3), has played the 15th-toughest non-conference schedule this year, according to the latest NCAA RPI, released Tuesday. The Aztecs are ranked 39th overall in the metric. Out of SDSU's 24 non-conference games this season, 17 have come against teams that made the 2023 NCAA tournament (San Diego State is 7-10 in those games), including three against Women's College World Series programs, and nine have been against nationally ranked squads (the Aztecs are 2-7).
Barbara leads SDSU in a host of categories, including batting average (.343), home runs (9), RBIs (37), walks (28), slugging percentage (.648) and on-base percentage (.478). Garcia is hitting .323 (30-for-93) with 17 RBIs, coming on strong in league play (.404/.462/.511), while Lala Macario (.319) leads San Diego State in runs (35), hits (37) and stolen bases (16).
The SDSU pitching staff has continued to produce, combining for a 2.33 ERA, 10 saves and 149 strikeouts in 276 innings against just 45 walks, ranking 15th in the country in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.31) and 26th in ERA (2.33), backed by a defense that has the 13th-most double plays per game (0.55) and ranks 35th in fielding percentage (.972).
Dee Dee Hernandez leads the staff with an 8-2 record, two saves and 1.76 ERA in 51 2/3 innings, striking out 30 with eight walks, limiting the opposition to a .242 average. Cece Cellura has made the most of her first season of collegiate softball, going 7-3 with four saves and a 2.42 ERA in 89 2/3 innings. Cellura is tied for first in the country in fewest hit batters (1), while ranking fourth in walks allowed per seven innings (0.55), 16th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.71) and tied for 34th in saves (4). Defending MW Pitcher of the Year and the preseason pitcher of the year Allie Light is 10-7 with two saves and a 2.53 ERA in 102 1/3 innings, striking out 55 with 25 walks.* Individually San Diego State's conference ERA is 0.69 by Dee Dee Hernandez (20.1 IP), 1.24 by Cassidy West (11.1 IP), 1.89 by Allie Light (44.1 IP) and 2.46 by Cece Cellura (37.0 IP). Those ranks are first, second, third and sixth respectively, (min. just 3.1 IP).