Saturday, February 9, 2013

SATURDAY: Boise State blasts Northwestern 11-3

Eleven games were on tap Saturday in Mountain West softball, and some marquee opponents were on the slate.

Boise State, which won twice, took down 2012 NCAA Tournament participant Northwestern. It was the second Mountain West win over the Big Ten's Wildcats this weekend.  Elsewhere, San Diego State went 1-1 and lost a heartbreaker to powerful Arizona, while Fresno State saw a 4-0 start to the season evaporate on the international tiebreak rule.  Colorado State errors contributed to a Rams loss, Nevada notched a comeback win, and New Mexico suffered a winless weekend.  UNLV had a wild evening, holding on for victory after blowing a 9-run lead in its opener, and then losing a game that ended shortly before midnight.

The results from Saturday:

Boise State 11, Northwestern 3 -- The Broncos picked up their first win of the season in a big way, pounding the Wildcats of the Big Ten at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe.  Boise State belted three home runs, including two by freshmen who connected on round-trippers for the first time as collegians.  The Broncos tallied 6 runs on five hits and three Wildcat errors in the fifth inning to break open what had been a close game.  Freshmen Ashley Palmer and Sarah Barnes blasted back-to-back home runs to key that Broncos' rally.  In the sixth, All-MW junior Devon Bridges hit her first home run of the season, and BSU added a pair of additional runs in the seventh.  All of the runs came in support of Cal Poly transfer pitcher Rebecca Patton in her Broncos debut. Patton earned the complete-game win, scattering seven hits, striking out four and allowing two earned runs.  Holly Bourke had three hits and three RBI for Boise State. 

Oklahoma State 4, Colorado State 1 -- Five Rams errors told the story of this one as Oklahoma State rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 1-1 tie at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah.  Starting pitcher Molly Randle didn't allow an earned run, but committed a pair of errors herself in that crucial sixth inning when OSU scored the eventual game-winning runs.  Colorado State committed three errors as a team in the bottom of the sixth after just rallying to tie the game in top of that frame on an RBI triple by Shae Rodriguez.  The Rams were limited to four hits by OSU's Kat Espinosa.

Oklahoma 11, New Mexico 1 (5 innings) -- Though they didn't have to face All-American Keilani Ricketts, the Lobos still found out why OU is ranked No. 2 in the country.  New Mexico completed a tough opening weekend, falling via the run rule as Oklahoma blasted a pair of home runs and scored in every inning.  UNM starter Carrie Sheehan took the loss, allowing seven earned runs in 2+ innings.  The Lobos, who finished the weekend 0-5 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, had three hits in the game -- all singles -- against three different OU pitchers.

Arizona 3, San Diego State 2 -- Brigette Del Ponte hit a walk-off, solo home run with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning to send San Diego State to a heartbreaking defeat.  The homer gave Arizona its first and only lead of the game as the teams scored single runs each in the second and fifth innings.  Shortstop Monica Downey had three of the Aztecs' eight hits.  Rebecca Arbino took the loss after entering in relief of freshman Danielle O'Toole, who allowed only one earned run in 4 1/3 innings.

San Diego State 5, Western Michigan 1 -- The Aztecs defeated the Broncos of the Mid-American Conference at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe.  

Southern Miss 5, Fresno State 3 (8 innings) -- The Bulldogs blew numerous opportunities and lost an extra-inning game to the Golden Eagles at the Fresno State Kick-Off Classic. Fresno State lost twice in this same tournament a year ago via the international tiebreak rule, and it happened again today.  The Bulldogs had runners at second and third base with one out in the sixth inning of a tie game and failed to score during a botched squeeze play.  In the seventh inning of a game tied 3-all, Fresno State wasted a leadoff triple by Michelle Solomon. The Bulldogs had the bases loaded with nobody out in the seventh and failed to score, invoking the ITB,.  After Southern Miss scored on a sac fly, freshman Jillian Compton (who entered in relief of freshman starter Hannah Harris) gave up her first home run for the final margin. Fresno State again tried to rally in the bottom of the eighth, getting a hit from Diane Runge to put runners at the corners with no outs.  Still, Fresno State was unable to score and left the potential tying runs in scoring position. The 'Dogs stranded 13 base runners in the contest as Compton was saddled with the loss.  Two Bulldog errors in the game also led to three unearned runs.  Stesha Brazil homered for Fresno State.

Fresno State 4, UC Davis 2 -- Freshmen led the way again for the Mountain West's youngest team as the Bulldogs bounced back from the day's earlier loss.  Compton went the distance for her second win of the season and had a shutout going until the sixth inning.  Freshman third baseman Whitney Smith hit an RBI single, reaching base safely for the ninth time in her first 12 collegiate at-bats.  Freshman catcher Paige Gumz made a nice catch on a tough play behind home plate to end the top of the fifth inning and thwart an Aggies rally, and then delivered the big hit in the bottom of the inning. Gumz hit a 2-out, 2-run double to left that gave Compton a 4-run cushion.  The top of the lineup delivered as Brenna Moss, Brooke Ortiz and Solomon went 7-for-12, with Ortiz grabbing three hits and the others two.  

Nevada 13, Weber State 7 -- At St. George, Utah, the Wolf Pack rallied from behind, scoring a combined eight runs in the final two innings to pull out the win over Weber State.  Nevada scored four runs in both the sixth and seventh innings.  Karlyn Jones came on in relief of starter Bailey Brewer and earned the pitching victory, her first of 2013.  Nevada's bats stayed hot with 13 hits overall, and five players having at least two hits apiece.  Karley Hopkins had three hits (including a double), Megan Fincher had a home run and three RBI, and Lauren Lastrapes had two hits and three RBI.  Freshman Megan Sweet had two hits, including a triple, with two RBI and three runs scored.

Boise State 8, Stephen F. Austin 4 -- Kenzie Cole picked up the complete-game victory in her first pitching start of the season as the Broncos won their second game of the day at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe. Tara Glover had three hits for Boise State.  The Broncos' 19 total runs on the day tied the most the team had scored on a single day in nearly two years.  Boise State last scored 19 runs as a member of the WAC in a doubleheader against Louisiana Tech on April 9, 2011.

UNLV 12, Central Florida 10 (8 innings) -- The Rebels lost a 9-run lead in regulation play, but managed to pull out a wild win in extra innings over the Golden Knights in Las Vegas.  Amanda Oliveto got the start for UNLV in the circle, was replaced when the Rebels stormed to a big lead, and then was re-inserted.  She ended up picking up the win, but only after Central Florida rallied from nine runs down to tie the game and send it to extra innings.  With the ITB in effect during extra innings of tournament play, UNLV capitalized on an eighth inning error by the Knights, followed by a passed ball.  The teams combined for 22 runs on 23 hits with five errors in a wild game that saw UCF score four times in the sixth and twice in the seventh to force extra innings.  Defensive problems for the Knights meant nine of UNLV's 12 runs were unearned in the game.

Texas Tech 10, UNLV 6 -- In a game that ended about a half hour before midnight local time in Las Vegas, the Rebels staved off a run-rule defeat, but fell to the Red Raiders.  Texas Tech scored four times in the top of the first inning and stormed to a big lead.  Ahead 9-1 with two outs in the fifth inning, it appeared as though Tech was on its way to handing UNLV its second run-rule loss in as many days at home.  However, down to its last strike, UNLV sprung to life when Jaexie Balilea hit a grand slam that pulled the Rebels to within 9-5. The Rebels would get no closer than four runs, however.  Each team added a run in the sixth inning and the teams combined for five errors.  Oliveto, in her second start of the day, had control issues, walking 11 batters and striking out four.  She allowed 11 hits and seven earned runs.  Cara Custer went the distance for the Red Raiders, allowing five earned runs.  Taylor Aleman hit a home run for UNLV in addition to Balilea's shot.