Saturday, February 7, 2015

First Saturday of the season features 18 games involving MW teams

On the first Saturday of the regular season in Mountain West softball, all nine teams played a pair of games.  Among the highlights: San Diego State notched its second straight win over Purdue, Fresno State's strong start continued as the Bulldogs handed Cal State Northridge its first loss, San Jose State picked up its fourth win, and New Mexico shocked USD in nine innings.

Texas A&M 9, San Diego State 5 - The Aztecs took an early 5-1 lead over the nation's 24th-ranked Aggies, only to watch Texas A&M storm back for the win.  The Aggies (2-1) scored in every inning but the sixth, with seven of the runs coming against SDSU starter and eventual losing pitcher Erica Romero.  A&M took the lead for good on a 3-run pinch-hit home run in the fourth, scoring six runs in the fourth and fifth innings.  Leia Ruiz had three hits and three RBI for the Aztecs (2-1).

San Diego State 2, Purdue 1 - Even though it's opening weekend, the Aztecs may not have a more shocking finish than this one in 2015.  Down to their last strike, and unable to score all game, Kathy Van Wyk inserted freshman Taylor Stewart as a pinch-hitter and she delivered the game-winning hit.  Stewart's double, on an 0-2 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, scored the tying and winning runs, allowing SDSU to escape with its second win over the Boilermakers in two days.  Romero and Andi Smith tossed a combined one-hitter as Purdue's lone hit was a solo homer in the sixth.

Ole Miss 4, Fresno State 0 - The Bulldogs wasted a strong pitching effort from Jill Compton, who had a 1-hit shutout going in the sixth inning.  Fresno State's offense couldn't get untracked and the Bulldogs failed to take advantage of early opportunities, leaving the bases loaded in the first inning and two on base in the second.  Three errors doomed the 'Dogs late as the Rebels scored all of their runs in the final two innings.  Hits were five to four in favor of Ole Miss.

Fresno State 3, Cal State Northridge 2 (8 innings) - In a game that didn't end until nearly 1 a.m. Sunday morning, Fresno State used the speed of Brenna Moss to hand the Matadors (3-1) their first loss of the season.  In the eighth inning with the international tiebreak rule in effect, Moss was placed on second base to begin the frame.  She stole third base and scampered home on an errant Northridge throw for the game-winning run.  Earlier, her fifth inning triple was key in giving the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.  Moss finished with two hits, two stolen bases, and two runs scored.  Hannah Harris started the game and threw four innings of shutout ball in a head-to-head matchup with All-Big West and All-Region senior Brianna Elder of the Matadors.  Jill Compton pitched the final four and picked up the victory. Cal State Northridge turned heads nationally with its 3-0 start that included wins over Stanford and Wisconsin, a pair of 2014 NCAA tournament teams currently receiving votes in the Top 25 national rankings. 

Washington 10, UNLV 7 - In Las Vegas, the Huskies scored three runs each in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to take command and pull away.  Washington pounded 15 hits against three Rebels pitchers after trailing early.  Francesca Foti had two hits in addition to pitching 2 1/3 innings for UNLV.

UNLV 10, Cal State Bakersfield 0 (5 innings) - Kwyn Cooper pitched a 4-hit shutout and Ashley Cordova hit a 3-run home run in the Rebels' win at home over the Roadrunners.  UNLV had 10 hits in a sloppy game where the teams combined for seven errors.  Cordova and Merina Eli both had two hits to lead the Rebels.  Bakersfield (0-3) was run-ruled for a third straight game to begin the season and has been outscored 30-3 in 2015.

San Jose State 10, Utah Valley 7 - In Tempe, the Spartans moved their record to 3-1 with a third straight victory.  San Jose State came back from a 3-run deficit to take a lead in the sixth inning, only to see the Thunderbirds tie it in the bottom half of the frame.  Tied 7-7 with two outs and no one on base in the seventh, SJSU rallied for three runs.  A bases-loaded walk to Sharon-Renae Estrada was followed by a 2-run single by Alyssa Martinez, and those runs were the difference.

San Jose State 8, Portland State 5 - The Spartans picked up their second win of the day and became the second Mountain West team in two days to defeat the Vikings of the Big Sky Conference.  It was San Jose State's fourth straight win after a season-opening loss to Ole Miss.

Cal State Northridge 5, New Mexico 1 - In Tempe, the Lobos fell to the Matadors, who improved to 3-0 on the season.  After Cal State Northridge took an early lead in the first, Jasmine Casados pulled UNM into a tie with a run-scoring double.  That was the Lobos' only run of the contest as CSUN took the lead for good in the second inning.

Boise State 6, Texas Southern 1 - Devon Bridges hit a 2-run home run in the sixth inning and the Broncos broke open a tight game late for their second victory of the weekend over the Lady Tigers.  Sarah Barnes picked up the win for Boise State.

North Texas 14, Boise State 4 (5 innings) - It was a nightmare first inning for the Broncos, even though they were the designated home team against the hosts of the North Texas Invitational.  The Mean Green sent 15 batters to the plate, scoring 12 runs before the second out had been recorded.  Mackenzie McGill lasted one-third of an inning and took the loss, while Mackenzie Sullivan hit her first home run.

North Carolina 9, Nevada 0 (5 innings) - The Tar Heels scored all nine of their runs in a wild third inning en route to the run-rule victory in Tempe.  Freshman pitcher Chase Redington, coming off a Friday victory over Fordham, was charged with two errors and allowed two home runs - including a grand slam - all in that third frame.  Karley Hopkins led off the game for the Pack with a single, but it would be Nevada's lone hit in the contest.

Oregon State 4, Nevada 2 - The Wolf Pack out-hit the Beavers 10 to five, but the story of this one was walks by Nevada pitcher Megan Dortch.  Despite going the distance with the aforementioned complete-game 5-hitter, Dortch walked nine Oregon State batters.  Five of those walks came in the third when the Beavers scored a pair of runs without benefit of a hit.  In the fifth, Dortch walked the first two batters she faced, and both came around to score for the game's final margin.  Nevada got solo home runs from Ashley Butera and Alyssa Mendez.  Oregon State moved to 5-0 on the season.

Colorado State 5, Montana 4 - The Griz finished an 0-5 weekend with a close loss to the Rams in Las Cruces.  Montana, new to Division I softball this year, were outscored 48-17 and run-ruled three times this weekend, but made it close against Colorado State and out-hit the Rams six to five.  CSU rallied from a 2-run deficit with four in the fourth to take the lead.  Haley David had a double and two RBI.

Texas-San Antonio 7, Colorado State 6 - In a back and forth game that didn't finish til around midnight local time in Las Cruces, the Roadrunners outlasted the Rams to move to 4-0 on the season.  After trailing by two runs, Colorado State took a 6-5 lead in the top of the fourth, but it was short-lived.  UTSA answered back and went on for the one-run decision.

South Dakota State 6, Utah State 4 - The Aggies jumped to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but couldn't hold it in a disappointing loss to the Jackrabbits, who were playing their season opener.  Sarah Chow had three hits for Utah State, which saw South Dakota State take the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth.  Freshman pitcher Jordyn McCracken began the fifth in relief of starter Noelle Johnson and took the loss.

Iowa State 10, Utah State 7 - Oregon State transfer pitcher Alleyah Armendariz made her first start in an Aggies uniform and went the distance, allowing 10 runs (all earned) in the loss.  Armendariz tried to help her own cause with a pair of home runs, but she allowed three Cyclones round-trippers.  ISU used a trio of pitchers in the win, their second over the Aggies in two days.

New Mexico 6, U. San Diego 4 (9 innings) - In a game that didn't end until after 1 a.m. local time Sunday morning in Tempe, the Lobos edged the Toreros with the international tiebreak rule in effect.  Chelsea Johnson hit her first career home run in the sixth as the Lobos rallied to tie the game 3-3.  After each team scored a run on an error in the eighth inning, UNM pushed two across in the ninth for the victory.