Friday, April 4, 2014

Aztecs, Spartans post shutout wins

At the start of Friday, four Mountain West teams stood atop the conference standings.  Of those four, only Fresno State ended up losing and falling back in the race for the regular-season MW title.

San Diego State and San Jose State ended the day tied for the top spot after both posted shutout wins.  UNLV picked up a road win and now sits just percentage points behind the Aztecs and Spartans.  Fresno State fell a game off the pace with an extra-inning loss at New Mexico.

San Diego State 4, Nevada 0 - Danielle O'Toole got all the run support she would need in the bottom of the first inning when the Aztecs scored the game's only runs.  SDSU had five hits and took a 4-0 lead early against reigning MW Pitcher of the Week Megan Dortch.  The Aztecs were out-hit seven to five in the win.  Karlyn Jones came on in relief of Dortch in the first and held SDSU scoreless the rest of the way, but it wouldn't be enough.  It was O'Toole's second straight shutout after last week's non-conference win over Cal State Northridge.  Nevada, which is 3-0 in the Mountain West at home, fell to 0-4 on the road.  The Aztecs were playing their conference home opener.

New Mexico 11, Fresno State 9 (8 innings) - The Lobos stormed to a huge lead as the Bulldogs wilted out of the gate.  New Mexico was up 5-0 against Bulldogs starter Jill Compton after one inning, and pushed the lead to 8-1 against reliever Taylor Langdon as UNM hit three home runs.  Fresno State came roaring back with six runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to tie the game 9-9.  In the eighth, the Lobos won it on a walk-off, ground-rule double by Jordan Sjostrand with the bases loaded.  The ball bounced just inside the line in deep right field.  Reigning MW Player of the Week Stesha Brazil hit a 3-run homer and Vonnie Martin's 2-run blast tied it in the sixth.  Fresno State out-hit UNM 14 to 12, but the Bulldogs left a bevy of base runners, including eight in scoring position.  The win for UNM represented Fresno State's worst loss of the year, putting a potential dent in the Bulldogs' RPI.  Fresno State entered the game 45th in the RPI, with New Mexico at No. 156.  The Lobos won just their sixth game ever in the series against Fresno State, which has won 29 of the 35 all-time games played between the two.  The Bulldogs had won the last 14 meetings.

UNLV 6, Boise State 5 - For the first time since joining the Mountain West, the Broncos came up on the short end in the opening game of a conference series played in Boise.  Until today, Boise State had been perfect in the Friday game of each conference home series it had played the last three seasons.  UNLV got solid pitching and just enough hitting to hold off the Broncos, who out-hit the Rebels 13 to 10.  Tara Glover went 3-for-3 and broke the Boise State school career hits record, but it wouldn't be enough.  Morgan Ettinger came on in relief of UNLV starter Amanda Oliveto in the second and picked up the win, despite allowing 12 hits.  The Rebels won a series opener on the road for the second consecutive weekend, while Boise State lost a fourth straight Mountain West contest.  Rebecca Patton both started and lost her fourth consecutive game.

San Jose State 9, Utah State 0 (6 innings) - Allison Lang and Katelyn Linford tossed a 6 inning, combined 2-hitter in Logan as the Aggies' troubles continued.  After beginning Mountain West play 3-0, Utah State has lost four straight and been run-ruled twice while being outscored 27 to 3 in those four contests.  SJSU, meanwhile, won its third Mountain West game in a row with an all-around effort.  Jessica Garcia hit a home run and had four RBI, and Alyssa Martinez had three hits and a pair of RBI for the Spartans.  Lang and Linford were able to overcome seven walks they issued, as USU left seven runners on base.  Noelle Johnson started and took the loss, but threw just 68 pitches in the complete-game effort.  She gave up 11 hits, and all nine runs were earned.