Saturday, February 23, 2013

Freshman pitchers lead the way Saturday

Fresno State's 2013 freshman class (Compton, second from left)

All seven Mountain West teams were in action Saturday as tourney play continued for everyone.  Boise State and Fresno State both won twice, while San Diego State and New Mexico picked up victories over the Big Ten and SEC behind strong freshman pitching performances.  And it was Fresno State freshman Jill Compton who made the most noise, tossing her first career no-hitter.

Keep checking back as we update throughout the day.

Fresno State 4, St. Mary's 0 --  Bulldog pitcher Jill Compton threw the 70th no-hitter in program history and became the first freshman to do so in seven years as Fresno State rolled past the Gaels at the Santa Clara Broncos Invitational.  Compton struck out the side in the seventh inning and picked up her fifth win of the year (tops among freshman pitchers in the Mountain West) and her sixth complete game.  She joins former All-Americans Jamie Southern (2002) and Robin Mackin (2006) as the only Fresno State freshman pitchers since 2000 to toss no-hitters.  Compton is the only one of the three to have done it in the month of February.  The Bulldogs pounded out eight hits in support of her, including a 3-for-3 day from Brooke Ortiz.  And the Bulldogs did it against Lujane Mussadi, the reigning Pacific Coast Softball Conference Pitcher of the Week, who was coming off a 3-hit shutout in her last outing. Brenna Moss had a hit, scored two runs and had two steals to complete an afternoon where she stole four bases.   Michelle Solomon had a single and two RBI, and freshmen Paige Gumz and Whitney Smith both had hits as the Bulldogs scored single runs in four separate innings.  The game matched first-year Bulldogs coach Trisha Ford against her alma mater, where she still owns multiple hitting records.  This marks the fourth straight season a Fresno State pitcher has thrown a no-hitter.

Boise State 1, San Diego 0 -- At the Amy S. Harrison Classic in Riverside, the Broncos prevailed in a game where they were held to just two singles.  San Diego had hits off Boise State starter Rebecca Patton in all seven innings, but was unable to score.  Conversely, Boise State bunched its only two hits of the game together in the fourth inning to squeak by with a win.  In the fourth, Devon Bridges led off with a single for the first hit off tough-luck losing pitcher Cassidy Coleman of USD.  With one out, Bridges scored on Sarah Palmer's RBI single to left. And that was it.  Patton earned her first complete-game shutout as a Bronco, allowing seven hits, while striking out six and walking none.  San Diego is now 5-5 on the year.

Fresno State 2, Cal State Northridge 1 -- At the Santa Clara Broncos Invitational, Brenna Moss and Brooke Ortiz were involved in both scoring plays as the Bulldogs edged the Matadors for a third time this season.  Trailing 1-0 in the third, Ortiz tripled to score Moss, who had singled with two outs in the inning.  In the sixth, Ortiz hit an RBI single to score Moss with what would turn out to be the game-winning run.  Prior to Ortiz's second hit of the game, Moss had singled and stolen a base.  Moss stole a pair of bases in the game, giving her 10 on the season.  Bulldog freshman starter Taylor Langdon held the Matadors to one run on four hits in four innings of work, while freshman reliever Hannah Harris picked up the victory (despite the fact the official box score incorrectly listed Langdon as the winning pitcher).  Harris didn't allow a hit in the three innings she pitched.  Northridge fell to 5-11 (0-3 versus the Bulldogs).

New Mexico 2, Auburn 1 -- At the Islander Invitational in Corpus Christi, the Lobos got a strong pitching performance from freshman Lauren Soles to defeat the Tigers of the Southeastern Conference.  New Mexico continued its hot streak, winning for the eighth time in its last nine games and evening its record at .500 (8-8 overall) for the first time this season.  Soles had a no-hitter going through four innings and finished with a 3-hitter to grab the win.  Chelsea Anaya had three of New Mexico's five hits in the game, including a solo home run in the fifth.  Auburn entered the game 12-3 overall, albeit against a soft schedule.  Soles got out of her most problematic jam in the sixth after Auburn had a run in and a runner in scoring position with just one out.  A strikeout and groundout ended the Tigers threat.

Boise State 4, UC Riverside 2 -- The Highlanders appeared to be firmly in control of this one through six innings.  Starting pitcher Alyssa Razo had a 2-0 shutout intact and had allowed only four hits to the Broncos through six full frames.  In the seventh, however, first-year Riverside coach Linda Garza replaced Razo with freshman reliever Ashley Ercolano in the circle and the move backfired in a big way as the Broncos scored all four of their runs with two outs in the seventh.  An error by shortstop Nicolette Lujan, on a play that would have ended the game, allowed Boise State to load the bases. From there, it was a nightmare for UCR and a dream for the Broncos as Ercolano gave up three hits and two walks -- all still with two outs in the seventh -- as Boise State surged from behind for the improbable win.  It was Devon Bridges' single up the middle that put the Broncos in front to stay.   Kenzie Cole allowed one hit in three innings of relief to pick up the win in a game started by Lela Work.  The Broncos moved a game above .500 at 7-6 overall with their third straight victory in the tourney.

San Diego State 5, Ohio State 0 -- Freshman pitcher Danielle O'Toole turned in a strong effort, tossing a 3-hit shutout as the Aztecs beat the Buckeyes at the MNCC in Palm Springs.  O'Toole struck out three and walked two in improving her record to 2-3 on the season.  The Aztecs had nine hits against the Buckeyes (9-5), including a 3-for-3 game from leadoff hitter Kayla Jordan.  San Diego State got all the runs it would need in the first, taking a 2-0 lead on a Lorena Bauer RBI single and a catcher's throwing error.  In the third, the Aztecs added two more runs as Jordan led off with a double, and Bauer and Kristin May each had RBI. Though San Diego State's overall record of 8-6 isn't all that gaudy, the Aztecs have stockpiled the most impressive list of non-conference wins.  Add Ohio State now to a list that includes Northwestern, Notre Dame and Syracuse among teams who have all fallen to SDSU in the first three weeks of the season.  The Aztecs get a chance to take down a ranked foe in Oregon on Sunday to conclude the tourney.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 6, New Mexico 5 (8 innings) -- The Lobos banged out 14 hits but it wasn't enough to stop the hometown team at the Islanders Invitational in Corpus Christi.  New Mexico rallied in the seventh when it had six hits alone and scored three runs to tie it before leaving the bases loaded.   A&M-Corpus Christi had nine hits in the game, eight against UNM starter Carrie Sheehan.  Lisa Rodrigues picked up the loss in relief, however, as UNM lost with the international tiebreak rule in effect.  With one out and the bases loaded in the eighth, the Islanders scored on a fielder's choice.  Mariah Rimmer's impressive freshman campaign continued with a 3-for-5 performance and two runs scored. 

Utah 5, Nevada 2 -- The Wolf Pack suffered another heartbreaking defeat at the MNCC and errors played a big role again.  Nevada lost a day earlier when an error in the 11th led to Oregon State scoring the game-winning run.  Today, it was two errors in the seventh inning that spoiled what had been a terrific pitching outing from Bailey Brewer.  Entering the seventh, Brewer had allowed just one hit and the Wolf Pack were in front 2-0.  A leadoff double in the seventh was followed by a Nevada infield error and a Brewer wild pitch.  After getting a line out for the first out of the inning (which should have actually been the second), Brewer gave up consecutive run-scoring singles to tie the game.  Another infield error loaded the bases and all three runners ended up scoring on a double by senior shortstop Kelsi Hoopiiaina.  Prior to the seventh, it looked like Nevada's 2-run uprising in the fourth would hold up. In that frame, Sara Parsons and Ashley Butera singled and both scored on Megan Fincher's 2-run double.  It was the second meeting between the two schools in three weeks and Utah got a bit of revenge from an earlier 6-4 loss to the Pack.

Nevada 3, Long Island 0 -- Megan Dortch tossed a 2-hitter as the Wolf Pack defeated the Blackbirds of the Northeast Conference at the MNCC.  Dortch struck out 12 and walked two to earn her second victory as a member of the Wolf Pack squad after transferring from Northern Illinois.  All thee Nevada runs were scored in the fourth inning.  Ashley Butera hit an RBI double, and Jasmine Jenkins and Megan Fincher had run-scoring singles in the game.  Nevada had seven hits in the contest, all from different players.

Virginia 7, Colorado State 1 -- Cavaliers pitcher Melanie Mitchell handed the Rams a fourth straight tourney loss in Palm Springs and their fifth overall.  It was a pitching matchup between Mitchell, a 2012 second team All-ACC selection, and Kacie McCarthy, the reigning Mountain West Pitcher of the Year.  Mitchell struck out 11 and allowed four hits in the win, while McCarthy had seven strikeouts and gave up seven hits.  Virginia went in front 5-0 early in the game before CSU answered in the fifth with its only run.  Brianna Donahue doubled to lead off the inning and later scored on an error.

Loyola Marymount 4, UNLV 1 -- Senior pitcher Dana Waldusky allowed five hits in LMU's late-night win over the Rebels Saturday in Palm Springs.  UNLV junior Tayler Van Acker had an RBI single in the fourth for her team's lone run of the game as the Rebels had chances to score, but couldn't quite come up with a clutch hit.  After being held hitless through the first three innings of the game, UNLV stranded runners on base in each of the final four innings.  They left the bases loaded in the fourth when trailing by a run, and their first two batters of the seventh reached base safely, bringing the tying run to the plate with no outs in the final inning.  Rebels starter Amanda Oliveto allowed eight hits and absorbed the loss.  It was the fifth straight defeat for UNLV as its record fell to 5-8.

Syracuse 4, Colorado State 2 -- The Rams completed an 0-5 weekend in Palm Springs, falling to the Orange in the final game of Saturday night played at the Big League Dreams complex.  Colorado State, picked to finish second in the Mountain West in preseason coaches balloting, has lost six consecutive games.  The 6-game losing streak is the longest for CSU since the 2011 season, Jen Fisher's first at the school, when the Rams finished last in the conference.