Friday, February 13, 2015

FRIDAY: Aztecs, Spartans roll while some others falter late

There were 16 games involving Mountain West softball teams Friday, including tournament play in Austin, San Diego, Las Vegas and Fresno.  San Jose State rolled to a pair of big wins over outmatched foes, while San Diego State rode the arm of Erica Romero and got a very late comeback for a win.  Elsewhere, Fresno State, Utah State, Boise State and Colorado State couldn't hold late leads and lost heartbreakers.

Fresno State 2, Santa Clara 0 - The Bulldogs won their home opener and defeated the Broncos for the 48th time in 50 all-time games between the two schools.  Pitcher Hannah Harris (2-0) tossed a 5-hit shutout and has not allowed an earned run now in 17 1/3 innings pitched this season.  In the first inning, Michelle Solomon gave Harris the only run she'd need with a single to drive in Brenna Moss, who led off the game with a hit.  Freshman shortstop Katie Castellon, making her first start, hit a home run in just her second collegiate at-bat.

San Diego State 2, Oregon State 0 - Erica Romero pitched a 5-hit shutout and Kayla Bufardeci homered as the Aztecs beat the Beavers in San Diego.  Oregon State out-hit San Diego State, but errors were costly.  The first miscue of the game came in the third when SDSU took a 1-0 lead.  Monica Downey's single to right was the Aztecs' first hit of the game, and it scored Jenavee Peres, who'd reached on an error to lead off the inning.  It remained a 1-0 game until two outs in the sixth when Bufardeci homered.  The Beavers mounted a small rally in the seventh with a leadoff double and a single, but a base running blip cost OSU.

San Diego State 4, Seton Hall 3 - For the second time in six days, the Aztecs won a game with a clutch, 2-out RBI in the seventh inning.  Once down 3-0 in this one, San Diego State fought back to tie it.  With two outs in the seventh, Jaylene Ignacio hit a 2-run double to give the Aztecs their first lead.  Romero was forced to pitch another seven innings after pitching earlier in the day.  For the second consecutive outing, sophomore pitcher Andi Smith failed to record an out in the first inning and was replaced with Romero.  All of Seton Hall's runs came in the first inning.

UC Riverside 4, Fresno State 2 - The Bulldogs lost a surprising one at home to the Highlanders when they were two outs from a victory.  Fresno State imploded in the seventh inning while nursing a 2-1 lead with one out and runners at first and second base.  Shortstop Katie Castellon committed her second error of the game, and starting pitcher Jill Compton appeared to get rattled because of it.  Compton hit the next batter she faced, forcing in the tying run.  A sacrifice fly then gave UCR its first lead, and Compton walked each of the next two batters she faced, forcing in another run.  Compton had walked only one batter prior to the seventh.  In the bottom of the seventh, the first two Bulldogs reached base, but -- as they'd done most of the game -- they were unable to score.  Fresno State blew several scoring chances and stranded eight runners over the final five innings alone, including five in scoring position.  They left the bases loaded in the third and had a runner thrown out trying to score from second base on a wild pitch with only one out in the first. It marked the Highlanders' second win over a Mountain West team in five days after beating San Jose State 6-1 Sunday. 

San Jose State 12, Drake 4 - The heavy-hitting Spartans continued to have their way early in the season.  Jessie Hufstetler was the one with the biggest bat in this one, clubbing a pair of home runs and finishing with a career-high seven RBI.  Despite the 8-run margin, the game went a full seven innings.  San Jose State pushed the margin to 10 runs in the top of the seventh before the Bulldogs added two in the bottom of the inning.  Allison Lang (2-0) earned the pitching win as SJSU moved to 5-2 on the season.  Drake dropped to 3-4.

San Jose State 13, Wright State 2 (5 innings) - Moments after Wright State was blasted 22-1 in five innings by Arizona, the Spartans had no mercy in a late-night game in Tucson.  The Raiders were opening their season and found the going rough, being outscored 35-3 and losing both via the run rule.  It was more of the same for the high-powered San Jose State offense, which entered the week leading the conference in team batting average.  The Spartans completed a day where they scored 25 runs on 25 hits.  All they did against Wright State was hit .600 with the bases loaded and .545 with runners in scoring position.  Sharon-Renae Estrada, who had five home runs last week, hit two more in this game.  She blasted a grand slam in the first inning, and then she and Hufstetler hit back-to-back homers later in the contest.  Madison Fish earned the win.

Colorado State 9, IPFW 1 (5 innings) - The Rams run-ruled the winless Mastadons (0-6) in Austin at the Texas Classic.  IPFW imploded early and often in this one, issuing seven walks in the first 2 2/3 innings and committing four costly errors.  Despite totaling nine runs, Colorado State had just three hits -- all singles.  In a game that paired opposing pitchers who both entered with ERAs over 13.00, Holly Reinke (1-3) picked up her first win and added a 2-run single of her own.  Each team finished with three hits in the game, with the only extra-base hit coming from IPFW.  The Mastadons, who have suffered run-rule losses in five of their first six games this season, have been outscored 55-6.  These two teams will meet again Saturday.

Wichita State 9, Colorado State 6 - The Rams (3-4) scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning, but couldn't hold a late 5-run lead as the Shockers erupted for a stunning come-from-behind win in Austin.  After CSU got up 6-1 in the first inning, the game remained that way until the sixth. Wichita State scored four times in the top of the sixth to make it a 1-run game, and then won it with four more runs in the seventh.  The Rams committed four errors, leading to four unearned runs.  After CSU starter Larissa Petakoff departed the game with a 5-run lead, freshman Trinity Harrington came on in relief.  In a nightmare sixth frame, Harrington committed an error to begin the inning, and freshman third baseman Savannah Clark had two more in the inning as all four Shockers runs were unearned.  In the seventh, Wichita State added four runs on five hits against Reinke, who took the loss.  Danielle Wikre hit a home run in the loss.

Hawaii 11, Utah State 10 - The Aggies lost their fifth straight game to begin the season, and this one may have been the toughest of all.  One out away from victory, Hawaii's Kayla Wartner hit a 2-run home run off USU freshman pitcher Jordyn McCracken for the walk-off win in Henderson, Nev.  Holding a 7-2 lead midway through the game, and a 10-6 cushion entering the fifth, Utah State wouldn't be able to hang on.  UH scored a pair of runs in the fifth to cut the margin to 10-8, and added another in the sixth to make it a 1-run game.  With two outs and no one on base in the seventh, Hawai'i got a triple from Lindsey Willmon to keep its hopes alive, and the game-winning blast from Wartner (her second HR of the game) ended it.

UCLA 16, New Mexico 0 (5 innings) - In Henderson, Nev., this one was all UCLA.  The No. 10/12 ranked Bruins capitalized on some sloppy Lobos defense and romped their way to victory.  UNM was being no-hit by UCLA freshman pitcher Johanna Grauer until Jasmine Casados and Mariah Rimmer both singled in the fourth inning.  By that time, it was already 13-0 in favor of the Bruins, who improved to 6-2 on the season.  Lisa Rodrigues started and took the loss for New Mexico, which saw its 2-game winning streak come to an end.  UCLA had 12 hits and UNM had twice as many errors (4) as hits (2).

Cal State Northridge 3, New Mexico 2 - The Lobos fell to the Matadors for the second time in less than a week, but this one was closer than last Saturday's 5-1 loss in Tempe.  UNM led 2-1 in this one before Cal State Northridge went ahead for good with a 2-run top of the fourth inning.  The Lobos got their runs on an RBI single by Mariah Rimmer, and an outfield error by the Matadors.  Pitcher Lauren Soles, the reigning Mountain West Pitcher of the Week, took her first loss and gave up her first earned runs of the young season.  Seven walks by Soles in 5 1/3 innings proved to be costly.

Cal State Fullerton 15, Boise State 4 (6 innings) - The Titans, ranked 25th in one major poll and receiving votes in another, picked up their first run-rule win of the season in a rout of the Broncos.   The Titans were up 9-0 before Boise State responded with three runs in the fourth inning to trim the gap.  A 5-run uprising in the top of the sixth inning sealed the deal for Fullerton.  Freshman pitcher Rachel Rodriguez saw her first action of the season in the circle for Boise State.

Long Beach State 3, Boise State 2 - After seeing her first action of the year in today's opening game loss to Cal State Fullerton, Rodriguez was back for the nightcap against the 49ers and suffered the defeat.  Boise State led this one virtually the entire way but faltered at the end, allowing Long Beach State to tie it and ultimately win it in dramatic, walk-off fashion.  In the bottom of the seventh, following an odd 20-minute delay when the sprinklers turned on automatically, the 49ers rallied.  Rodriguez gave up a pair of singles, including one that went to the wall.  She then walked Darian Tautalafua to load the bases, and hit former UNLV player Christina Montoya to force in the game-winning run and send the Broncos to an 0-2 record on the day.  The 49ers snapped a 3-game losing streak.

BYU 6, UNLV 5 - In Las Vegas, the Rebels lost their second game in a row, falling to the Cougars in a nailbiter.  Trailing by five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, UNLV came to life and pushed four runs across to make it a 1-run game.  Fahren Glackin hit a 2-run homer to pull the Rebels close, but that's how it ended.  The Cougars doubled UNLV in hits as BYU pounded out 12 against four different Rebels pitchers.

Seattle U. 8, Nevada 7 - In Henderson, Nev., the Wolf Pack came up on the short end of the scoreboard for a fifth consecutive game, falling to the Redhawks.  Down 4-0 entering the bottom of the third, Nevada rallied to tie it with three runs that inning and a fourth run in the bottom of the fourth.  The tie was short-lived, however, as Seattle went on top with a 3-run fifth.  Nevada trailed 8-5 entering the bottom of the seventh and nearly tied it again.  Amanda Weis hit a 2-run home run after an error began the inning, and the Pack was down 8-7.  A single and walk followed, but the Pack were hurt when a pinch runner was tagged out on the base paths.  The teams both had 14 hits in the slugfest.

Nevada 6, Cal State Fullerton 5 - Late Friday night, the Wolf Pack survived a scary sixth inning when the Titans nearly rallied from a 6-run deficit and held on for the win.  Megan Dortch got the win, despite issuing nine walks in the contest.  Chase Redington got the save, escaping a sixth inning where the Titans pushed five runs across and left the bases loaded.  The first four batters in the Nevada lineup had two hits apiece.  Nevada snapped a 5-game losing streak  and improved to 2-5 on the season.