Friday, May 9, 2014

Aztecs clinch tie; 5-way tie still possible

Patrice Jackson came up big when it counted most, sending San Diego State to winning a portion of a seventh Mountain West title.  Elsewhere, Nevada knocked off Fresno State for a second day in a row, UNLV beat Utah State again, and Colorado State edged San Jose State before game two plunged into darkness.

San Diego St. 1, Boise State 0 (8 innings) - Patrice Jackson's walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the eighth powered the Aztecs past the Broncos.  Rebecca Patton walked Katie Mathis on four pitches with two outs in the eighth, and Mathis scored on Jackson's hit in a pitcher's duel.  Danielle O'Toole allowed four hits, as did Patton.  The Aztecs looked like they were going to win the game earlier, loading the bases in the sixth with one out before Patton escaped the jam.  She struck out Jackson in that frame, and Boise State had opportunities of its own too.  Boise State stranded a pair in both the seventh and eighth innings, including runners at second and third base in the top of the seventh. While SDSU clinched a tie for the MW title, it did not clinch the automatic NCAA berth that goes along with it.  Boise State can still finish as Mountain West co-champions with a win Saturday in the season finale.

Nevada 5, Fresno State 1 - The Bulldogs were hurt by the long ball again, giving up a pair of home runs for the second day in a row in a loss in Reno.  Also for the second day in a row, Fresno State out-hit the Wolf Pack in a loss, and this one hurt more.  The Bulldogs had 12 hits to just five for Nevada, but Fresno State finished one shy of a school record with 15 stranded base runners.  The record for stranded runners (16) was set earlier this season against Virginia. The Bulldogs left the bases loaded in three different innings and stranded 10 in scoring position.  McKenna Isenberg escaped jam after jam after jam to pick up the win.  Hannah Harris allowed just three hits and took the loss.  Harris took a no-hitter into the third when, with two outs, Amanda Weis hit a grand slam following two singles and a walk.  Erin Jones added a solo shot later.  Fresno State left runners at second and third base in both the first and seventh innings, and the bases loaded in the second, third and fifth frames. Despite a 3-game losing streak, the Bulldogs can still wrap up the Mountain West's automatic NCAA berth with a simple scenario:  If Fresno State wins and San Diego State loses Saturday, the Bulldogs will reach their 31st NCAA tourney, as well as win a piece of the conference championship.

UNLV 2, Utah State 1 - Amanda Oliveto came on to pick up the game's final out as the Aggies had the potential tying run at third when the game ended.  Freshman Morgan Ettinger went 6 2/3 for the victory, which was aided by a solo homer from Pauline Monreal that gave UNLV an early lead.  The Aggies were held to just three hits and have lost nine straight and 13 of 14.  Monreal had two hits for the Rebels, who still can win a piece of the Mountain West title on Saturday with a victory and a loss by San Diego State.  UNLV also is not out of the race for the Mountain West's automatic NCAA berth.  The Rebels win it with a victory, plus losses by San Diego State, Fresno State and Colorado State.

Colorado State 7, San Jose State 4 - In a wild, back and forth affair, the Rams came up with four in the bottom of the sixth for the victory in Fort Collins.  Alyssa Greckel homered and Ashlie Ortega had three of the Rams' 11 hits.  Holly Reinke earned the victory, escaping some jams as SJSU threatened on multiple occasions.  In the day's second game, action was suspended by darkness with San Jose State leading 9-6 in the top of the sixth inning.  Colorado State must come back from that 3-run deficit on Saturday when the game is resumed (10 am MT) in order to have a chance at a Mountain West co-championship.  The Rams can only win a piece of the title by winning twice on Saturday.  In order to capture the conference's automatic NCAA berth, Colorado State will not only have to win twice, but hope that San Diego State, Fresno State and UNLV all suffer losses.