Ranked opponents were on the menu again for Mountain West softball teams today and we saw some amazing performances. Both Fresno State and San Diego State took 6th-ranked Cal to the wire in 1-0 thrillers, including one where Bulldog freshman pitcher Jill Compton took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Bears in front of a noisy crowd of 1,483 fans.
The defending Pac-12 champion Bears were tied 0-0 with both the Bulldogs and Aztecs before escaping with a single run in the seventh inning in both games. Elsewhere, UNLV picked up an impressive win before suffering an embarrassing loss in Long Beach. Boise State fell to No. 16/20 Arizona in a doubleheader, New Mexico was blasted by No. 19/16 Washington in Seattle, and Nevada won a pair of games.
No. 6/6 California 1, Fresno State 0 -- Bears senior pitcher Jolene Henderson proved why she's a first team All-American, but Fresno State freshman pitcher Jill Compton proved she's ready to make some noise herself. Compton, who already has a no-hitter to her credit this season, gave an outstanding effort against the defending Pac-12 champions and narrowly missed picking up a marquee win. The freshman took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against Cal and struck out a career-high 10, but fell victim to the bat of Henderson. The Bears pitcher broke up Compton's no-hitter with a solo home run on an 0-2 pitch to lead off the seventh inning. It would be the only hit of the night for the Bears, who continually whiffed at Compton's devastating riseball. At one point, the freshman struck out six Cal batters in a row. Fresno State (14-11 overall) couldn't capitalize on two strong scoring chances against Henderson, who tossed a 2-hitter herself after throwing a 1-hitter earlier in the day against San Diego State. Twice, the Bulldogs had runners at third base with only one out and failed to score. In the third, Whitney Smith walked and Maria Sio reached on a fielder's choice to begin the inning. After Brenna Moss advanced both runners, Henderson got out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts. In the sixth, Moss led off with a single and stole her 18th base of the year to give the Bulldogs a runner in scoring position with no outs. A groundout moved Moss to third, but she remained there after a groundout and a fine Cal defensive play. The Bulldogs were looking for their 64th win against Cal all-time. After playing the Bears as tough as they did, we may have learned more about this young Fresno State team in this loss than in any of their wins this season. Cal won its 18th straight game to improve to 19-2 overall.
No. 6/6 California 1, San Diego State 0 -- Bears pitcher Jolene Henderson tossed a complete-game, 1-hitter as the Bears edged a valiant Aztecs team. San Diego State nearly pushed Cal to the limit behind another strong pitching outing from Rebecca Arbino. The senior from nearby Clovis, playing in front of friends and family in Fresno, scattered seven hits and held the Bears scoreless until the seventh inning. Henderson led off the top of the seventh with a single and came home on an RBI single by freshman Khala Taylor with one out for the game's lone run. Henderson struck out five and didn't walk a batter in a sterling effort. San Diego State missed out on a strong scoring opportunity early in the game when Lorena Bauer hit a triple down the line to begin the second inning. Henderson was able to induce three consecutive groundouts to the left side of the infield to end the threat, and San Diego State didn't have a hit the rest of the way. The Aztecs fell to 11-11 overall, while Cal improved to 18-2 with its 17th straight win.
UNLV 3, No. RV/23 Virginia Tech 1 -- A day after the Hokies upset 12-time NCAA champion UCLA, they were upset themselves by the Rebels in Long Beach. Pitcher Amanda Oliveto captured her second win of the season over a ranked opponent in a complete-game effort. UNLV, which had lost 11 of its past 13 games entering the contest, snapped the Hokies' 12-game winning streak. Pauline Monreal and Tayler Aleman each hit solo home runs for UNLV. The Rebels moved to 8-14 overall, while Virginia Tech dropped to 15-2.
No. 19/16 Washington 12, New Mexico 0 (5 innings) -- Kaitlin Inglesby and starting pitcher Bryana Walker tossed a combined 1-hitter, and the host Huskies scored in every inning to rout the Lobos at the Husky Classic in Seattle. Washington scored three or more runs in every inning but one, and New Mexico never threatened. Kaela DeBroeck took the loss, allowing eight earned runs in 2 1/3 innings.
No. 16/20 Arizona 14, Boise State 4 (5 innings) -- The Broncos got three home runs in the game, including two from Tara Glover, but it wasn't nearly enough in a run-rule loss to Arizona in Tucson. The Wildcats trailed 1-0 after the top of the first inning, but quickly took the lead with two in the bottom of the first. The bottom of the second inning turned out to be a nightmare for Boise State as Arizona put a nine spot on the board, thanks to seven hits and a Broncos error. Kenzie Cole took the loss, going two innings and allowing 10 earned runs. Game three of the series was to follow later Saturday.
No. 16/20 Arizona 10, Boise State 2 (5 innings) -- Boise State took a first inning lead for the third consecutive game against the Wildcats, but Arizona's big bats stole the show in a record-setting display of offense. Arizona struck for six home runs in the game and an all-time school record of nine homers in one doubleheader to rout the Broncos. In the 3-game series, Coach Mike Candrea's club blasted 12 round-trippers as the Wildcats offense exploded. Lauren Young hit four homers in Saturday's two games. Starting pitcher Rebecca Patton gave up 13 hits and eight earned runs in 3+ innings to get the loss. Nancy Bowling got the win for Arizona, which moved to 18-5 overall.
San Diego State 7, St. Mary's 0 -- Freshman pitcher Danielle O'Toole allowed four hits in a complete-game effort as the Aztecs knocked off the Gaels in Fresno. San Diego State scored five runs in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead and the Aztecs finished with seven hits in the game. St. Mary's committed three errors and saw its record drop to 4-14, while the Aztecs moved a game over .500 at 12-11.
Weber State 7, UNLV 3 -- All of the RPI points the Rebels gained in their win over Virginia Tech were quickly thrown away during an embarrassing loss to one of the nation's perennial worst teams, Weber State. The Wildcats entered the game 1-17 overall and losers of 24 of their past 25 games spanning two seasons. Weber State had just been shut out by Oliveto and the Rebels 6-0 a week ago. This time, UNLV freshman pitcher Francesca Foti (0-5) took the complete-game loss, allowing eight hits and seven earned runs. The seven runs for Weber State tied a season-high set earlier this season against Nevada. The Wildcats erased a 2-0 deficit by scoring five runs on four hits in the fourth inning to take a lead they never relinquished.
Nevada 2, Rutgers 1 (8 innings) -- In San Luis Obispo, the Wolf Pack got a walk-off win over the Scarlet Knights with the international tiebreak rule in effect in extra innings. Caylin Campbell hit a pinch-hit single with one out in the eighth to score the placed runner, making a winner out of pitcher Karlyn Jones. The junior Jones tossed a complete-game, 4-hitter and struck out nine. Nevada improved to 11-12 overall, while Rutgers fell to 7-7.
Nevada 5, Cal Poly 2 -- Pitcher Ariel Craig picked up her first win of the season as the Wolf Pack defeated Cal Poly on its home field in the Mustang Classic in San Luis Obispo. Craig went the distance and allowed five hits as the Mustangs fell to 7-15-1 on the season. Nevada reached the .500 mark (12-12) with its second win of the day. The Pack pounded out 12 hits and got a 4-for-4 game from Lauren Lastrapes, who finished with three RBI. Lastrapes had both a home run and double, and was one of three Nevada players with multi-hit games. Jasmine Jenkins had three hits (including a pair of doubles), and Megan Fincher had two singles.