Friday, February 8, 2013

FRIDAY: Big wins for the Mountain West

All seven Mountain West teams have officially begun their 2013 seasons -- and if Friday's results are a preview of what's to come, it'll be an exciting season.

UNLV and Fresno State scored 10 runs apiece in their first games with new head coaches, San Diego State knocked off a Big Ten school, and Nevada posted the Mountain West's second win in as many days against BYU.

Along the way, there was a UNLV win over a Top 25-ranked opponent and three victories over 2012 NCAA Tournament teams.  But it was Mountain West newcomer Fresno State that emerged as the last remaining unbeaten team in the conference as two Bulldog freshman pitchers were victorious in their collegiate debuts Friday.

UNLV 10, No. 18/18 Louisville 1 (5 innings) -- Coach Lisa Dodd's Rebels made a major statement on opening day, pounding 18th-ranked Louisville in Las Vegas.  Amanda Oliveto earned the victory with a 4-hitter, and got help in the first inning when Katie Uriarte's 3-run home run put the Rebels in front to stay.  The first eight batters in the UNLV lineup all had at least one hit. Samantha Juarez, Tayler Van Acker and Jaexie Balilea had two hits each, while Garie Blando had a pair of stolen bases.

San Diego State 7, Northwestern 5 -- Lorena Bauer hit a 3-run home run as the Aztecs emerged from a 2-run deficit and went on for the win over the Wildcats of the Big Ten at the Kajiakwa Classic in Tempe.  Bauer's shot in the fifth inning put San Diego State in front to stay as the Aztecs pounded out nine hits.  Kamerin May had three hits, while Bauer, Dominique Dinner and Patrice Jackson added two apiece.  Rebecca Arbino scattered nine hits to pick up the complete-game pitching win for SDSU, which won its second straight to start the season.

Fresno State 10, UTEP 2 (5 innings) -- The Trisha Ford coaching era at Fresno State got off to a strong start as the Bulldogs pushed eight runs across in their first inning of the season and never looked back in beating the Miners at the Fresno State Kick-Off Classic.  Junior Vonnie Martin provided the big blow in the first inning with a 2-out grand slam to left-center that put the Bulldogs up early 4-0.  Sophomore Brenna Moss followed with a bases-loaded triple as the Bulldogs pounded out 12 hits.  Freshman Jillian Compton got the pitching start in her collegiate debut and tossed two perfect innings.  With a 9-0 lead, Ford turned to freshman pitcher Taylor Langdon in the third inning and sophomore Destinee Levesque in the fifth.  Langdon and Levesque allowed one hit each, and Langdon got the win.  Five Bulldogs (Martin, Moss, Brooke Ortiz, Michelle Solomon, and freshman catcher Paige Gumz) had two hits apiece.

Nevada 14, BYU 6 -- The Wolf Pack bats were nearly unstoppable in their season opener and Nevada rolled to a 14-6 thumping of BYU in St. George, Utah, at the Red Desert Classic.  It was the second day in a row that a Mountain West team whipped the former MW member Cougars (Colorado State beat BYU 4-1 Thursday).  Today, Northern Illinois transfer pitcher Megan Dortch got the win in her Wolf Pack debut and was aided by a powerful offense.  Dortch walked nine batters in the game, but it wouldn't matter as seven different Nevada players got hits and the top of the lineup delivered in a big way.  The first four batters in the Pack lineup combined to go 11-for-18 with 10 RBI against a Cougars team that has advanced to eight straight NCAA tournaments.  Erin Jones, who missed the entire 2012 season with injury, came back in a huge way by going 4-for-5 with three doubles and a game-high 5 RBI.  Freshman Megan Sweet hit a home run in her first collegiate game and Karley Hopkins had three hits and three RBI for Nevada.

Fresno State 7, UC Riverside 3 -- The Bulldogs exploded for a 6-run bottom of the fourth inning to erase a deficit and hand the Highlanders their first defeat of 2013.  Brenna Moss and Stesha Brazil had two hits apiece in the game, as well as in the all-important fourth inning when Fresno State broke the game open.  The Bulldogs bunched three hits together along with two walks, a stolen base and a pair of UC Riverside errors.  Freshman pitcher Jillian Compton went the distance for her first complete game as a collegian and grabbed the win.  Compton allowed two earned runs and scattered six hits.  

Colorado State 4, Utah State 3 -- Against future Mountain West member Utah State, the Rams got fine pitching outings from Molly Randle and Holly Reinke to pull out the win in St. George, Utah.  Randle and Reinke threw a combined 2-hitter, with each allowing a hit and Reinke picking up the win.  CSU had 10 hits of its own with Chelsea Biglow belting a homer and Cassy Mosser hitting a triple.

Portland State 2, Boise State 1 -- The Broncos fell to the Vikings in their season-opening game at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe.  Lela Work went the distance for Boise State, allowing just three hits.  Unfortunately two of the three hits were solo home runs, both off the bat of Carly McEachran, who also had a home run for Portland State Thursday.  The Broncos out-hit the Vikings six to three, with Tara Glover going 2-for-4 to lead BSU offensively.

Cal Poly 3, New Mexico 2 -- Freshman Mariah Rimmer delivered a clutch, 2-out, RBI double in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game, but it wasn't enough as Cal Poly rallied for the win in Tempe.  The Mustangs got a walk-off home run from Lauren Moreno in the bottom of the seventh to seal the comeback win and send UNM to its third straight loss to begin the season.  Freshman pitcher Lisa Rodrigues allowed only three hits and had a no-hitter going until the fifth inning, but took the loss.  She had six strikeouts but issued six walks, and UNM out-hit the Mustangs six to three.

Arkansas 5, Colorado State 4 (9 innings) -- With the international tiebreak rule in effect at the Red Desert Classic, the Rams lost a hearbreaker in nine innings.  Colorado State scored a pair of runs in the top of the eighth to go up 4-2 and was one strike away from a win in the bottom of the inning.  On a 2-2 pitch with two outs in the eighth, Chloe Oprzedek singled to tie it, and the Razorbacks would win it an inning later on a bunt and an errant Rams throw with the ITB in effect.

San Jose State 9, New Mexico 0 (6 innings) -- After losing in walk-off fashion earlier in the day, the Lobos fell flat in their second game and were run-ruled by the Spartans in Tempe.  San Jose State, which joins the Mountain West later this year and will be a MW softball member next season, improved to 3-0.  New Mexico lost its fourth straight game to begin the year.  Dating to last season, UNM has lost 19 of its last 22 games.

DePaul 9, UNLV 0 (5 innings) -- After picking up a big win over Louisville earlier in the day, the Rebels didn't have much left against the Blue Demons and were run-ruled at home.  Freshman Francesca Foti got her first collegiate start and took the loss, allowing nine hits and eight earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.  DePaul scored in each of the first four innings

Stephen F. Austin 2, San Diego State 1 -- The Aztecs were held to three hits and fell to Stephen F. Austin in their second game of the day.  It was San Diego State's first loss of the young season and came on the heels of beating Northwestern earlier Friday.  Aztecs freshman pitcher Danielle O'Toole took the loss, despite allowing just one earned run in 4 1/3 innings.  Kamerin May had two of SDSU's three hits.

Idaho State 5, Nevada 4 -- After crushing BYU earlier in the day, the Wolf Pack came up short in their second game Friday, falling to the Bengals.  Nevada got 10 strikeouts from starting pitcher Karlyn Jones, but three home runs paved the way for Idaho State's victory.  Megan Fincher hit a home run for the Pack, who were also stymied by some key defensive plays by the Bengals.