Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hits, errors and late-game drama highlight Saturday

All seven Mountain West teams were in action in crucial games Saturday that were full of late drama, clutch hits and game-changing errors.  Colorado State swept a doubleheader from Fresno State for the first time since 1997 to move into a first-place tie in the conference standings with San Diego State, which split with Boise State.  Nevada moved into a tie for third place following a second straight win at New Mexico.

Boise State 5, San Diego State 3 -- Sarah Barnes hit a pair of home runs, including a clutch, 3-run blast with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Broncos picked up a walk-off win over the Aztecs in Boise.  Barnes hit homers in both the sixth and seventh innings when Boise State had to rally from a 3-1 deficit.  SDSU third baseman Leia Ruiz's error to begin the seventh proved to be crucial, allowing Boise State's Holly Bourke to reach base against Rebecca Arbino.  Kathy Van Wyk then turned to freshman lefty Danielle O'Toole to try and preserve the win, but the error proved to be too much to overcome.  After a pair of strikeouts and a Mackenzie Whyte single, Barnes' blast left the yard in the first Mountain West game played at Dona Larsen Park.  O'Toole took the loss, while Rebecca Patton got the win, giving up seven hits.  Boise State had four errors of its own in the game, leading to two unearned runs.

San Diego State 3, Boise State 2 -- The Aztecs were out-hit in the game but came up with three big home runs that accounted for all of their runs in a nail-biter.  Lorena Bauer hit solo homers in the fourth and sixth innings, and Patrice Jackson blasted the game-winning solo shot in the eighth off eventual losing pitcher Kenzie Cole.  San Diego State had to withstand a Boise State late rally again though before escaping.  Down to their last strike in the bottom of the seventh, the Broncos got an RBI single from Mackenzie Whyte to tie the game 2-2.  Boise State ended up leaving the potential game-winning run at third base in the seventh and it would prove costly when Jackson homered to lead off the eighth.  Arbino came on relief of O'Toole in the eighth and earned the save, but had to sweat it out.  With two outs, Brittany McCray doubled and the Broncos had runners at the corners following shortstop Monica Downey's 20th error of the season -- worst in the Mountain West.  Arbino was able to work out of the jam, inducing Tara Glover to foul out to end it with the tying run 60 feet away.  San Diego State finished the day 6-2 in conference play, while Boise State dropped to 2-6.

Colorado State 3, Fresno State 2 -- Cassy Mosser hit a 2-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Rams rallied for a win over the Bulldogs in Colorado Springs.  Fresno State, which didn't trail in the game until Mosser's seventh inning heroics, had taken a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh on a 2-out RBI single by Kapri Angotti.  But CSU responded in the bottom of the frame with the help of Bulldog shortstop Maria Sio's critical error.  Sio's recent defensive difficulties continued with her 18th error of the year and eighth in 10 conference games.  The game had been a tight pitcher's duel between Fresno State freshman Jill Compton and CSU senior Kacie McCarthy, the reigning MW Pitcher of the Year.  McCarthy allowed only three hits, while Compton allowed just five and set a career-high with 11 strikeouts.

Colorado State 7, Fresno State 4 -- After blowing a late lead in the seventh inning of game one of the doubleheader, the Bulldogs couldn't hold a 3-run lead in the nightcap and were swept.  Colorado State, which trailed 3-0 at one point in this one, rallied for a 6-run fourth inning by using the long ball.  In the fourth, the Rams got back to back leadoff home runs from Chelsea Biglow and Alysa Greckel to knot the score at 3-all.  With one out, Haley David delivered the biggest hit of the game with a grand slam off eventual losing pitcher Hannah Harris.  In Colorado Springs at an elevation of 6,400+ feet, CSU hit four round-trippers on the day, while Fresno State had none.  Michelle Solomon had two RBI for the Bulldogs, who have now won just 10 times in 27 games away from home this season.  Colorado State trails in the all-time series between the schools 26-7, but has won the last three.  The 3-game winning streak is CSU's longest in the series, and Saturday marked the first time in 16 years CSU had swept a doubleheader from the Bulldogs.  It was just the Rams' second doubleheader sweep of Fresno State in history.  Holly Greinke got the win, scattering seven hits. 

Nevada 6, New Mexico 4 -- Three Wolf Pack players all had two hits in Nevada's second straight win in Albuquerque over the Lobos.  Lauren Lastrapes, Karley Hopkins and Erin Jones all had a pair of hits as Nevada put up two 3-run innings.  The Pack scored three in the third, aided by an illegal pitch call against UNM freshman Lauren Soles, who's been hindered a lot this season on illegal pitch calls.  In the sixth, Megan Fincher delivered a key, 2-run double to left after the Lobos had trimmed the Nevada lead to just a run in the previous inning.  Karlyn Jones went the distance for the win, scattering nine UNM hits.  Senior second baseman Kaity Ingram led the way for the Lobos with a 4-for-4 game.  The Wolf Pack pulled into a tie with Fresno State for third in the conference.  Both Nevada and Fresno State are 6-5, a game and a half behind both Colorado State and San Diego State.

Cal State Fullerton 3-5, UNLV 0-4 -- It wasn't a great day for UNLV, which was swept in non-conference doubleheader action in Fullerton.  The Rebels were no-hit in Saturday's first game by Cal State Fullerton and then couldn't hold a 4-3 lead in the 11th inning of the nightcap. In game two, the Titans rallied for a run in the 11th to tie it and then had four singles in the 12th to win it.  Amanda Oliveto took the loss in both games to fall to 15-13 on the season.  The Rebels are 18-25 overall, while Cal State Fullerton is 21-25.  The teams combined for 28 hits in the nightcap.  Tayler Aleman hit a 3-run home run in the third inning of game two, and Heather Harrison gave the Rebels a short-lived lead in the 11th inning with a solo shot.