Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bulldogs, Rams tied for MW lead with 7 games left

Fresno State and Colorado State began the weekend tied for first place in the Mountain West, and they will head into Sunday tied for the lead in the conference.  Both picked up wins Saturday, with the Bulldogs splitting a doubleheader after another in a string of heartbreaking opening-game losses, and the Rams dealing San Diego State a heartbreaker of its own.  Elsewhere, New Mexico lit up the scoreboard and San Jose State came back for a win.

UNLV 1, Fresno State 0 (8 innings) - In a pitcher's duel between Jill Compton and Amanda Oliveto, a solo homer by Samantha Juarez with two outs in the eighth was the difference.  Compton was pitching a 1-hitter into the sixth inning and had allowed just three before Juarez's home run just cleared the fence with two outs in the eighth.  The Bulldogs had six hits and a key base running blunder that spoiled a chance to win it in the seventh.  Fresno State stranded five runners in scoring position as Oliveto escaped several jams.  The Bulldogs fell to 0-5 in games decided in extra innings in just the last five weeks.  UNLV won its third straight game at Bulldog Diamond after sweeping a 2012 doubleheader.  The Rebels had four hits and were out-hit by Fresno State, which had six.  The Bulldogs had runners reach scoring position in the first, second, fifth, sixth and seventh innings but couldn't plate any of them.

Fresno State 6, UNLV 3 - This one was a pitcher's duel for awhile too between Hannah Harris of the Bulldogs and Morgan Ettinger of the Rebels.  Fresno State took a 1-0 lead in the fourth, however, when Paige Gumz got the Bulldogs' first clutch hit of the afternoon.  After Stesha Brazil tripled to lead off the bottom of the fourth, she was still there after two quick outs.  Gumz then hit an RBI double, one of her four hits on the day, to give the 'Dogs the lead.  In the fifth, Fresno State pushed it to 5-0 thanks to the long ball.  Michelle Solomon launched a 3-run shot to left, and it was followed with a homer off the bat of Brazil on the very next pitch from Ettinger.  Freshman Kierra Willis and Brenna Moss had singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth before Solomon's blast.  The Bulldogs extended the lead to 6-0 in the sixth as Gumz tripled and scored on a Moss sacrifice fly.  UNLV, in the bottom of the seventh, scored three times but the comeback attempt fell short.  Harris picked up the win, and Compton came on late to earn the save, handing UNLV an eighth conference loss.

Colorado State 1, San Diego State 0 - In a pitcher's duel between Holly Reinke and Danielle O'Toole, this one had a lot of similarities to the 1-0 win by UNLV over Fresno State.  Down a run in the seventh, the Aztecs had runners at the corners with one out.  They seemed as though they'd score the tying run on a grounder to the right side of the infield.  It first bounced off the glove of Rams infielder Alysa Greckel, who recovered in time to get the out at first, and then threw home to get an Aztecs base runner who appeared to break late for the plate.  It turned into a game-ending double play.  CSU's run scored in the sixth when Jaelyn Manzanares' RBI scored Greckel, who tripled.  The Rams had seven hits to five for the Aztecs.

San Jose State 7, Nevada 6 - The Spartans spotted the Wolf Pack a 3-run lead and then rallied again late with a run in the seventh to win it.  It was 3-0 Nevada early before six unanswered runs gave the Spartans a 6-3 lead.  The Pack responded quickly to tie the game 6-6.  In the seventh, an unearned run brought home the eventual game-winning run and SJSU got its first win of the series.  Nevada out-hit the Spartans nine to five but committed three errors.

New Mexico 20, Utah State 3 (5 innings) - With star pitcher Noelle Johnson again unable to go, the Aggies pitching staff struggled mightily.  Franny Vaaulu, a starting forward on the Utah State women's basketball team, has been asked to pitch lately in Johnson's absence, and things didn't go well Saturday.  Against New Mexico's Tess McPherson, who entered the day with an 0-8 record, this one was no contest.  UNM had 17 hits and scored at will against the Aggies, including in a 10-run bottom of the fourth inning.