Friday, February 20, 2015

Fresno State picks up big win over 25th-ranked Texas

Fresno State picked up the Mountain West's biggest softball victory of the season thus far, snapping the 5-game winning streak of the 25th-ranked Texas Longhorns with an 8-7 win in Palm Springs.

Jill Compton came on in the seventh inning to relieve Hannah Harris, who gave up three singles and a walk as Texas tried to rally from an 8-4 deficit.  Twice, the Bulldogs were one out away from a win before the Longhorns kept their hopes alive with RBI singles.  But with two outs and the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, Compton got Stephanie Ceo to ground out to shortstop on a full-count pitch, giving Fresno State the victory.

Fresno State scored seven consecutive runs midway through the game to rally from a 4-1 deficit in the third.  Alyssa Villalpando had a huge day with three hits and three RBI.  Kierra Willis had three hits and an RBI as well.  Those two combined with Brenna Moss, Malia Rivers and Michelle Solomon on a spectacular 12-for-18 day at the plate with five RBI and six runs scored.  It came against a Texas team that had just knocked off 8th-ranked Georgia and No. 12 UCLA a day earlier.

The biggest inning of the game came in the fifth when the Bulldogs scored four times to take a 7-4 lead.  Villalpando had an RBI single in that important fifth inning, after hitting an RBI double in the third to pull Fresno State within a run.  Her heroics didn't end there.  In the sixth, she gave the Bulldogs an important insurance run with another RBI single.  Villalpando, Solomon and Willis all had extra-base hits in the win.

Ohio State 3, Fresno State 2 - Twenty minutes after defeating the Longhorns, the Bulldogs had to immediately face an Ohio State team (9-1) off to its best start in six years.  Fresno State had numerous opportunities for the win but couldn't take advantage, out-hitting OSU seven to four, but leaving nine runners stranded.  In the seventh inning, down by a run, the Bulldogs had runners at second and third base with nobody out, but were unable to score.  They eventually left the bases loaded in the seventh after leaving the tying run at third base the previous frame.  Compton threw an outstanding complete-game 4-hitter, but it wasn't enough and she took the loss.  Her 2-out error in the second inning was responsible for one of the Buckeyes runs.  In the seventh, Whitney Smith walked and Brenna Moss singled to lead off the inning.  A wild pitch advanced both into scoring position and it looked like the Bulldogs were headed for another dramatic win.  Ohio State's Alex Didomenico got both Malia Rivers and Michelle Solomon to strike out before she walked Kierra Willis to load the bases.  On an 0-1 pitch, Paige Gumz fouled out to end the game.

Ohio State 10, UNLV 8 - In their first game of the tournament in Palm Springs, the Rebels jumped to a 7-0 lead early, only to see the high-powered Buckeyes battle back for a huge, come-from-behind win. Ohio State, which was held to four hits versus Fresno State later in the day, had 13 against UNLV pitchers Kwyn Cooper, Francesca Foti and Morgan Ettinger.  The Rebels took a seemingly comfortable 7-0 lead in the second inning when they scored five times.  OSU committed a pair of errors in the frame, and UNLV got a 4-hit game from Samantha Juarez.

Notre Dame 8, UNLV 0 (5 innings) - The Rebels struggled in the circle and couldn't stop the Fighting Irish in a run-rule rout in Palm Springs.  Notre Dame scored four runs in the first inning and never looked back on its way to a 7-5 start to the season.  With the loss, UNLV saw its record fall below .500 for the first time this season at 5-6.

Nebraska 10, San Diego State 0 (5 innings) - The struggles continued for reigning Mountain West Pitcher of the Week Erica Romero in Palm Springs in a blowout loss to Nebraska.  The Huskers (5-6) had been struggling themselves, but had no trouble snapping their 5-game losing streak. Romero started the game and allowed eight hits and eight earned runs in 1+ inning before being pulled, and the Aztecs were never in this one.  Over the past two days, Romero is 0-3 with a 14.78 ERA, giving up 22 runs (19 earned) and 21 hits in nine innings of work.  Seven consecutive Nebraska batters reached base in the first -- six on hits and one via walk.  After issuing a walk and two hits to the first three batters she faced in the second inning, SDSU coach Kathy Van Wyk had seen enough.  The Aztecs were held to four hits in the game.    

San Jose St. 8, Idaho State 1 - Sharon-Renae Estrada hit a home run as the Spartans rolled to a win over the Bengals (3-8) in Santa Clara.  Details to follow.

San Jose St. 7, Illinois-Chicago 0 - Reigning Mountain West Player of the Week Jessie Hufstetler went 3-for-3 and Taylor Purdy hit a home run in the Spartans' win over the Flames (3-3).  All of Hufstetler's hits were doubles as she finished with three RBI.  Katelyn Linford allowed five hits over 6 2/3 innings to pick up the victory.

Minnesota 8, Boise State 3 - Golden Gophers pitcher Nikki Anderson pitched a complete game in the win over the Broncos in Tempe.  Minnesota (10-1) took a 2-run lead in the first inning and never trailed.  Nicole Wilson went the distance for Boise State, giving up 11 hits in the defeat.  Four of Minnesota's 11 hits were home runs.

Arizona State 4, Boise State 3 - In Tempe, the host Sun Devils had to sweat through a seventh inning where the Broncos put the tying run in scoring position with two outs.  Rachel Rodriguez, who started the game at pitcher and had two hits herself, grounded out to end the game with runners at first and second.  An ASU error with two outs in the seventh put the potential go-ahead run on base.

New Mexico 6, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 2 - The Lobos beat the Islanders (0-11-1) in Houston to begin day two of the Houston Hilton Plaza Classic.  Junior Lisa Rodrigues hit the first home run of her career and finished with two hits.  Brandi Heimburg and Mariah Rimmer added a pair of hits as well, while Lauren Soles picked up the win.

Illinois 12, New Mexico 4 (6 innings) - In Houston, the Fighting Illini run-ruled the Lobos in a come-from-behind win.  New Mexico led 3-0 heading to the bottom of the fourth, but it was all Illini from that point forward.  Illinois (4-7) scored four in the fourth, two in the fifth and invoked the run rule with a 6-run sixth.  Chelsea Johnson had a home run and finished with three RBI for the Lobos.

Utah 11, Nevada 0 (5 innings) - The Wolf Pack were no-hit by Utah's Katie Donovan in a poor beginning to its weekend in Palm Springs.  Nevada's Alyssa Mendez was hit by a pitch in the fourth for the Pack's lone base runner in the contest.  McKenna Isenberg took the loss for Nevada.  

Colorado State 5, Indiana State 2 - The Rams scored three runs in the first and then two more in the top of the seventh after the Sycamores (2-4) had cut the margin to one.

Michigan State 9, Utah State 1 (5 innings) - The Spartans struck for six runs in the second inning and were never threatened in a run-rule victory in Riverside.  Noelle Johnson went two innings and took the loss. USU was held to three hits.

UC Riverside 6, Utah State 5 (9 innings) - Tied at 3-3 after seven innings, this one went to the international tiebreak rule at the Amy S. Harrison Classic.  Utah State took leads into both the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings, but was unable to hold it.  The Highlanders scored twice in the bottom of the ninth on hits against Alleyah Amendariz, who took the loss.

Arizona State 6, Colorado State 1 - The Sun Devils surged to an early lead and dispatched of the Rams in Tempe.

Maryland 4, Nevada 3 (8 innings) - The Wolf Pack suffered a heartbreaker, falling in extra innings to the Terrapins.  Nevada led 3-0 entering the seventh inning and pitcher Megan Dortch was in line for the win.  Maryland would erupt for three runs -- all with two outs in the bottom of the seventh -- to force the tie and send it to extras with the international tiebreak rule in effect.  While the Pack stranded their placed runner, Maryland scored theirs for the dramatic, come-from-behind win.