Saturday, April 13, 2013

Nevada, Fresno State, New Mexico post wins

All seven Mountain West teams were in action Saturday.  San Diego State was shocked in non-conference play, while Nevada handed Colorado State its first loss in the Mountain West this season.  Fresno State clinched a series win over Boise State and moved within a game of first place, while New Mexico shut out UNLV in Las Vegas.

Nevada 4, Colorado State 3 (8 innings)

Karley Hopkins, who homered earlier, hit an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning to propel Nevada over Colorado State in Reno Saturday.

For the second consecutive weekend, the Wolf Pack handed a Mountain West team its first conference loss.  Last week, Nevada beat a previously 5-0 San Diego State squad, and today it was Colorado State that saw its 4-0 start come to an end.

For the Rams, it snapped a 10-game conference winning streak dating to last season.  Nevada is now 3-5 in Mountain West play, while CSU fell a half game behind the Aztecs at 4-1.

This one had a lot of late-game drama as Nevada took its first lead (3-2) in the bottom of the sixth on a Caylin Campbell pinch-hit, RBI single.  But Colorado State refused to go quietly in the seventh.

Kendal Butterfield hit a solo homer off eventual winning Nevada pitcher Karlyn Jones with one out in the seventh to tie the game at 3-3.  Once the teams got to extra innings, CSU mounted a rally in the top of the inning on a 2-out double by Alysa Greckel, but Jones was able to get out of a 2-on, 2-out jam.

In the bottom of the eighth, Butterfield's crucial miscue kept the inning alive for Nevada.  With two outs and no one on base, Butterfield was charged with an error on a fly ball off the bat of Megan Fincher.  After Chelsea Barilli hit a bunt single to give the Pack runners at first and second, Hopkins delivered the game-winning hit on a single up the middle.

Jones scattered nine hits while striking out four and walking two to grab the win, her first in Mountain West play after losing three straight.  Reigning MW Pitcher of the Year Kacie McCarthy, who entered in relief for CSU, took the loss.  McCarthy gave up seven hits and three runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings.

Hopkins and Lauren Lastrapes had two hits each for Nevada.  Ashlie Ortega and Chelsea Biglow had two hits apiece to lead the Rams.

Fresno State 7, Boise State 4

Freshman pitcher Hannah Harris was dominant in 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball as Fresno State beat Boise State for a second straight day to clinch the series win at Bulldog Diamond.

The Bulldogs scored in each of the first five innings and had a comfortable 7-0 lead with one out in the seventh when Harris was pulled and replaced with reliever Taylor Langdon.  It was a move that backfired and nearly affected the outcome of the game.

After Harris had extended the Bulldog pitching staff's streak to 27 straight innings without allowing an earned run at home, Boise State teed off on Langdon for four runs and four hits in just 1/3 of an inning.  Holly Bourke smacked a 3-run homer to right to make it a 7-4 game, and it was followed by a Fresno State error that gave the Broncos an additional base runner.

Harris re-entered the game and needed just one pitch to end it when she induced a groundout.  She went 6 2/3, gave up just four hits, and allowed a Boise State runner to move into scoring position in just the fourth inning.

For the first 6 1/3 innings, Fresno State played some of its best ball of the season. Vonnie Martin hit a 2-out, 2-run single in the first to get things started.  Brenna Moss used her speed to steal second base and score all the way from first on an errant throw by Broncos catcher Makenna Weir in the second. And Maria Sio laid down a nice bunt single with two outs in the third to score Paige Gumz, who walked.

Michelle Solomon had a productive at-bat in the fourth with an RBI groundout to the right side of the infield to scored Moss, who tripled.  And Kapri Angotti delivered a clutch 2-out, 2-run single in the fifth as the Bulldogs gave perhaps their best all-around effort of the season until the hiccup in the seventh.

Stesha Brazil had two hits, while Moss went 3-for-4 and now has 23 steals on the year.  Gumz continued her strong freshman campaign with a 3-for-3 game plus a walk, reaching base in all four plate appearances.  For the Broncos, Bourke had two hits and moved into the No. 1 spot on the career hits leaderboard at Boise State.  Her seventh inning home run was the 175th hit of her career. Devon Bridges also had two hits for the Broncos.

Fresno State is 5-3 in Mountain West play, while Boise State fell to 1-4.

New Mexico 10, UNLV 0 (5 innings)

New Mexico turned the tables on the Rebels in Las Vegas Saturday, shutting out UNLV a day after the Lobos were shut out themselves.

Kari Gutierrez had the biggest hit of the game -- a grand slam that was part of a 6-run
fourth inning for UNM.  The Lobos pounded out 11 hits and all 10 runs were earned against UNLV freshman pitcher Francesca Foti, who got the loss.

Mariah Rimmer had three hits, including a double, and Jordan Sjostrand had a pair of hits for New Mexico's first road win in conference action.  UNM, which had lost 15 of its past 16 road games in Mountain West play, had been shut out in three straight road contests prior to Saturday.

Kaela DeBroeck earned the complete-game win, giving up five hits, striking out one and walking none.  It was New Mexico's first run-rule win away from Albuquerque this season.  Both teams are now 3-5 in conference play.

UC Riverside 6, San Diego State 5

San Diego State suffered its worst loss of the season in a surprising setback to the Highlanders of the Big West Conference.

The Aztecs blew a 3-run lead with senior ace Rebecca Arbino in the circle.  Arbino, who came on in relief of starter Danielle O'Toole in the third inning, allowed five runs (four earned) in 3 2/3 innings.  It was only the second time in non-conference play this season that Arbino lost to a team that did not reach the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

UC Riverside entered the week 216th in the latest RPI, while San Diego State was 38th.

After Patrice Jackson belted a 3-run homer in the fifth to go up 5-2, UCR countered with a pair of runs in both the fifth and sixth to win it.  Ashley Ercolano hit a 2-run homer in the fifth to pull the Highlanders within a run, and Natalie Sanchez hit a solo shot off Arbino in the sixth to tie it.  Ariel Shore's game-winning RBI came in the sixth as well.  Shore finished with two hits.

Tiffany Corder and Kristin May had two hits apiece for San Diego State (26-14).  UC Riverside improved to 16-24.