Sunday, February 15, 2015

Wild Fresno State and Cal slugfest highlights Sunday action

The weekend came to a close with the Mountain West facing a pair of ranked opponents Sunday.  They were almost exact opposite results. Even in a game they ultimately ended up losing, Fresno State pounded Cal pitching for the most runs and hits against the unbeaten and 23rd-ranked Bears all season, while Boise State was no-hit and shut out by the 10th-ranked Bruins.

Sunday's action around the Mountain West looked like this:

California 14, Fresno State 9 - In a stunning, back and forth slugfest between teams with strong pitching, this one was all about offense in a dynamic playoff-type atmosphere with 1,550 fans looking on at Margie Wright Diamond.  Fresno State's nine runs came on 14 hits against an unbeaten Bears pitching staff that entered the day with a 0.80 ERA.  The Bulldogs took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Brenna Moss and Malia Rivers singled to start the game, and both scored on a hit off the bat of Michelle Solomon.  Paige Gumz hit a sacrifice fly to bring Solomon home and the Bulldogs looked in control early.  Cal, however, tied it in the second -- and basically set the tone for a wild game -- by getting three runs, all with two outs, after the Bulldogs committed a pair of costly infield errors that would change the game.  Still, Fresno State regained the lead in the bottom of the second when Whitney Smith walked, Moss doubled, and Solomon brought two more home with another single.  The lead would be short-lived as Cal responded right back with three in the top of the third.  Was Fresno State done? Heck no. The Bulldogs roared back themselves and took a 7-6 lead on an Alyssa Villalpando 2-run home run.  Cue the Bears, who took the lead back in the next frame with the biggest blow of the game -- a grand slam off the bat of All-American Cheyenne Cordes.  That inning, again, was aided by a Fresno State error, but the Bulldogs weren't done yet.  Trisha Ford's squad scored a pair in the fifth when Villalpando doubled, Moss singled and Rivers tripled, but it wasn't enough as both teams ran out of gas a bit down the stretch in an exhausting offensive display.  Cal had not allowed more than seven hits in a game this season, and the Bulldogs doubled that with 14.  The Bears hadn't given up more than four runs in a game this year, and Fresno State had already surpassed that by the second inning.  Moss had four hits in five at-bats and completed a 10-for-15 (.667) weekend.  Versus the Bears alone, Moss, Rivers, Solomon and Villalpando combined to go 10-for-16 with 8 RBI and 6 runs scored. Cal improved to 9-0 on the season and has outscored its opposition 82-21.  After the Bulldogs chased Bears starter Katie Sutherland-Finch, they became the first team this season to score a run of any kind against Cal ace Stephanie Trzcinski.  Entering the game, Trzcinski had a 0.00 ERA and had not allowed a run -- earned or otherwise -- in 19.1 innings spanning four games.

UCLA 6, Boise State 0 - Bruins pitcher Ally Carda threw the 106th no-hitter in school history and the second of her career to shut down the Broncos in Las Vegas.  All Boise State could muster were two walks against Carda, including one with two outs in the seventh inning.  Makenna Weir was the Broncos' lone player to reach scoring position in the game, as she stole second base after walking in the third.  Rachel Rodriguez (1-2) pitched six innings and allowed 12 hits, four of which went for extra bases.  The Bruins improved to 9-2.

UNLV 2, Texas-El Paso 0 - In Las Vegas, the Rebels got a 4-hit shutout from pitcher Kwyn Cooper to knock off the Miners (2-8).  Both runs batted in for UNLV (5-3) came from Emily Haslinger.  Fahren Glackin and Halle Rosario had two hits each for the Rebels.

San Jose State 10, Loyola Marymount 2 (5 innings) - Alyssa Martinez hit a grand slam as the Spartans broke to an early 6-run lead and cruised to the win in Tucson.  Martinez finished with a pair of hits, as did Jessica Madrid (double, two RBI).  Erin Rodriguez added two RBI and Allison Lang picked up the win.  LMU (3-5) went 1-4 on the weekend, while the Spartans went 4-1 and posted three run-rule victories.

Utah State 6, Indiana 5 - The Aggies got a grand slam from Nicole Arata, enabling them to snap a 17-game losing streak dating to the 2014 season.  Utah State's Noelle Johnson got the win and survived a scary seventh inning as IU rallied from five runs down and put the potential tying and go-ahead runs on base.  The Aggies joined New Mexico as Mountain West teams able to knock off the Hoosiers (2-8) this weekend.

Cal State Northridge 4, Utah State 0 - Matadors senior pitcher Brianna Elder struck out a career-high 15 and overpowered the Aggies in a dominant outing in Henderson.  Cal State Northridge (8-2) bounced back from a Saturday night loss to the Utah Utes and is now off to its best 10-game start since the 1996 season.  CSUN's only other loss this season came eight days ago to Fresno State in a game Elder started as well.  Sophomore Taylor Nate had three stolen bases for the Matadors.

Texas 11, Colorado State 4 - Once down 5-0 in Austin, the Rams battled back to make it a 1-run game before the Longhorns (7-3) pulled away.  Colorado State committed four errors and Texas scored three runs apiece in the fifth and sixth innings.  Four CSU pitchers were unable to stop a Longhorns offense that had 15 hits.

Seattle U. 8, New Mexico 2 - A night after the Lobos were able to come from seven runs down for a win, New Mexico was unable to repeat it on Sunday in Las Vegas.  The Redhawks broke to a 7-0 lead in the second inning, and Michala Erickson answered with a homer for UNM in the third.  The Lobos stranded eight runners on the base paths.  Starter Tess McPherson went 1+ inning and took the loss.

Utah 6, Nevada 2 - Karley Hopkins, a day after becoming the school's all-time hits leader, added three more but it wasn't enough as the Utes rolled in Las Vegas.  Kristen Stewart hit a 3-run home run in the bottom of the first inning for Utah, which got out to the early lead and was never seriously threatened.  Jasmine Jenkins hit a solo homer for Nevada in the sixth.  Freshman Chase Redington started and took the loss for the Pack, giving up four runs (three earned) in three innings.