Saturday, May 10, 2014

Aztecs win MW title; Fresno St., UNLV tie for 2nd

Danielle O'Toole won her 30th game of the season as San Diego State clinched the outright Mountain West championship with a 5-1 win over Boise State Saturday in San Diego.

O'Toole allowed five hits and won all three games this weekend against the Broncos, who arrived in first place on Thursday.  Less than 48 hours later, Boise State left with a fourth-place finish in the final conference standings.

After Fresno State defeated Nevada 10-1 in five innings earlier in the day, the Aztecs knew they had to win or the Bulldogs would grab the automatic NCAA berth.  Fresno State owned every tiebreak scenario by virtue of the Bulldogs' beating San Diego State two out of three games head-to-head this season.

SDSU took a 1-0 lead early before Boise State responded with a Lindsay Nicholson solo homer in the fourth to tie it.  The Aztecs broke the tie in the fifth and added three more in the bottom of the sixth to win going away.  Kayla Jordan, Leia Ruiz and Dominique Dinner all had two hits for SDSU.

Rebecca Patton went the distance for a third straight day for Boise State.  She scattered nine hits and took the loss.

Fresno State will hope for an at-large NCAA berth, hoping its RPI of 52, two Top 25 wins (over Big Ten co-champion Nebraska and Pac-12 power Washington), three Top 30 wins, and five Top 50 wins are enough.

San Diego State finished 16-8, a game ahead of both Fresno State and UNLV at 15-9.  Last Sunday, SDSU knew it had to win four in a row and hope that the Bulldogs somehow lost at least three of their final four in order to claim the title.  That's exactly what happened as Fresno State lost consecutive games in MW play for the first time this season during the final week of action.