Friday, May 2, 2014

Fresno State tops Rams, maintains hold on first place

Another quality pitching performance from Jill Compton and a dramatic late rally helped Fresno State maintain sole possession of first place in the Mountain West with just five games remaining.

Elsewhere, San Diego State picked up a road win in San Jose, Boise State shut out New Mexico, and Nevada powered past Utah State.

Fresno State 5, Colorado State 1 - Jill Compton was tossing a 1-hitter through six innings, but the Bulldogs headed to the bottom of the sixth trailing 1-0. Despite getting hits themselves in every inning against Rams starter Holly Reinke, the Bulldogs were 0-for-10 with runners on base through five frames.  It all changed in the sixth with a dramatic 5-run Fresno State uprising.  The Bulldogs got four hits in the inning and took advantage of a pair of Colorado State errors.  With one out, Stesha Brazil singled before a Rams error gave the Bulldogs runners at first and second.  Fresno State loaded the bases on another Colorado State miscue and took its first lead on a 1-out, 2-run single by Whitney Smith.  Then it was a pair of seniors adding key RBI singles on the opening day of Senior Weekend. Kapri Angotti's RBI single plated a third run, and -- with two outs -- Brooke Ortiz got her third and most important hit of the day, a 2-run single.  That was enough for Compton, who gave up bookend singles -- one in the first inning and one in the seventh -- but that was all the Rams offense could muster.  CSU's run came in the third (without benefit of a hit) as Compton issued a pair of walks to begin the frame after getting ahead of both batters with 0-2 counts.  A sacrifice advanced the runners and the Rams scored on what was ruled a wild pitch.  Ortiz had three hits and two RBI, Brazil a pair of hits and a run, Smith a hit and two RBI, and Angotti a hit, RBI and run scored.  The Bulldogs remain a full game ahead of both San Diego State and Boise State, who play each other next weekend.  Fresno State is now two full games ahead of the Rams with five to play and can win the series Saturday with a victory on a day when the school officially re-names its stadium Margie Wright Diamond in honor of its legendary former coach.

San Diego State 8, San Jose State 3 - Danielle O'Toole got through a very rough first inning but was smooth the rest of the way as the Aztecs rallied from two runs down for the win in San Jose.  The Spartans touched O'Toole for five hits and three runs in the bottom of the first inning alone, including a 3-run home run off the bat of Jessica Garcia.  That gave SJSU a 3-1 lead it held until the fourth inning.  San Diego State took the lead for good with a 4-run fifth inning, and O'Toole allowed only one hit after the tough first inning.  Garcia's home run, her team-leading 10th, gave her 52 RBI on the year, a new school record.  Jaylene Ignacio hit a 2-run homer for the Aztecs and she was one of six SDSU players with mult-hit games.  Leia Ruiz had three RBI for the Aztecs and freshman Katelyn Linford took the loss for the Spartans.  SDSU remained a game behind first-place Fresno State, while SJSU moved close to being eliminated from the race for the MW title with a ninth conference loss.

Boise State 7, New Mexico 0 - The Broncos stormed to a big early lead and looked like they would get a run-rule win, but UNM buckled down and made it go the distance.  Rebecca Patton turned in a quality pitching performance, taking a no-hitter into the fifth and finishing with a complete-game, 4-hitter.  It was her fourth shutout of the year and the seventh of the senior's career.  Hailey Torrez had a pair of hits and two RBI for the Broncos, who remained a game out of first place with five to play.  Boise State still must travel to San Diego State on the season's final weekend next week.

Nevada 7, Utah State 1 - The Wolf Pack won game one in Logan behind the bat of Amanda Weis.  It was a grand slam off Weis' bat in the first inning that set the tone for the contest as Nevada stormed to an early 5-0 lead.  Despite being out-hit in the contest eight to six, the Pack's early lead held up.  Nevada pitcher Karlyn Jones went the distance, scattering those eight Utah State hits.  Sara Parsons had three of the Pack's hits and Weis had two.  USU got multi-hit games from a trio of players.  After starting Mountain West play 3-0, Utah State has slumped with losses in 13 of its past 16 conference games.  Nevada is still in last place but is 2-2 over its past four contests.