Sunday, February 8, 2015

Mountain West teams wrap up opening weekend with Sunday games

Forty-five softball games involving Mountain West teams are in the books and let's take a look at Sunday's results that capped the opening weekend of play in 2015.

Fresno State 10, San Diego 2 (5 innings) - The Bulldogs completed an impressive 4-1 weekend and run-ruled the Toreros in Tempe.  San Diego, which beat 16th-ranked Arizona State earlier in this tournament, took a 1-0 lead before the Bulldogs scored 10 of the game's next 11 runs to win going away.  Freshman Chase LeeHong had a pair of hits, including a double with two RBI, and Michelle Solomon added a double, stolen base and run.  Whitney Smith added two RBI as Fresno State had a pair of 4-run innings (the second and fifth).  Jill Compton picked up her third win of the weekend, tossing just 72 pitches.  Over the last three days, she struck out a conference-high 28 batters in 21.2 innings of work.  The Bulldogs' team ERA, against a strong group of opponents this weekend, stands at an impressive 1.48.

New Mexico 6, UC Santa Barbara 3 - The Lobos put together a pair of 3-run innings on their way to a victory over the Gauchos in Tempe.  In the process, UNM won its second straight game and finished the weekend with a winning record at 3-2.  Jasmine Casados and freshman Chelsea Johnson both had a pair of hits and two RBI for New Mexico, which scored three in the bottom of the fifth after UCSB had tied the game in the top of the inning.  Three UNM pitchers combined for the victory, with reliever Carrie Sheehan earning the win.  Krissy Fortner picked up her first career save.   

Minnesota 14, UNLV 3 (5 innings) -  Reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Sara Groenewegen handcuffed the Rebels with a no-hitter through the first four innings en route to run-rule victory in Las Vegas.  This one was all Minnesota, as the Gophers took a commanding 6-0 lead in the first and never looked back.  UNLV starter Kwyn Cooper lasted 2 1/3 innings, giving up nine hits and nine earned runs, taking the loss.  The Rebels threatened to get back into it after Minnesota coach Jessica Allister decided to turn to freshman pitcher Kylie Stober when Groenewegen was just three outs away from a no-hitter.  Stober walked two, gave up three UNLV hits and allowed three runs in a wild final inning.  Already with three runs in, the Rebels loaded the bases and, unbelievably, were in position to extend the game to a sixth inning before freshman Halle Rosario popped up to end it.  Minnesota (5-0) pounded out 16 hits against four UNLV pitchers and posted its fourth run-rule win of the weekend.

Oregon 12, Nevada 8 - The Wolf Pack put a scare into the nation's second-ranked team, but the Ducks prevailed in Tempe.  Down 7-1 at one point, Nevada pushed seven runs across in the bottom of the third inning (all against Oregon starting pitcher Jasmine Smithson-Willett) to take an 8-7 lead.  It was shortly thereafter that the Ducks turned to ace southpaw Cheridan Hawkins, who shut down the Pack with a barrage of strikeouts.  UO scored the game's final five runs.  Jasmine Jenkins had three hits for Nevada, while Alyssa Mendez and Jennifer Purcell added two.  Molly McWilliams had a 2-run single that was part of the Pack's 7-run uprising in the third.  Three Nevada pitchers were unable to stop the high-powered Oregon offense, which pounded out 17 hits.

UCLA 4, San Diego State 1 - The Bruins broke open a tie game with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to power past the Aztecs in Los Angeles.  The game had a strange beginning as San Diego State starting pitcher Andi Smith threw to just one batter and walked her on four consecutive pitches, including the game's first pitch which sailed high and to the backstop.  Smith was replaced by Erica Romero, who went the rest of the way, allowing only four hits.  UCLA used three pitchers -- Paige McDuffee, Johanna Grauer and Selina Ta'amilo -- and held SDSU to four singles.  Jaylene Ignacio had the Aztecs' lone RBI.  San Diego State finished the weekend 3-2, while UCLA went 4-2.  

Boise State 10, North Texas 3 - A day after dropping a 14-4 run-rule game in five innings against the Mean Green, the Broncos regrouped and pounded North Texas on its home field.  Devon Bridges went 4-for-5, while Makenzie Sullivan had three RBI and three walks.  Teauna Hughes finished with two RBI in a game where Boise State bolted to a 5-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings.  It was in sharp contrast to Saturday when North Texas scored 12 runs in the top of the first against the Broncos.  Three Boise State pitchers combined on a 5-hitter as the team completed a 3-2 weekend.  UNT went 2-3 in its own tournament.

UC Riverside 6, San Jose State 1 - The Highlanders scored all six of their runs in the third inning and scored a solid win over the Spartans in Tempe.  Madison Fish allowed six hits and three runs in 2 1/3 innings, picking up the loss.  Jessie Hufstetler continued a strong opening weekend with a pair of hits, albeit in a losing effort.  San Jose State finished the weekend with a 4-2 record.

South Dakota State 7, Utah State 6 - Freshman Brina Buttacavoli came up with the biggest hit of the Aggies' opening weekend with a seventh inning grand slam, but it wasn't enough as Utah State fell to the Jackrabbits at the Cyclones Indoor Invitational in Ames, Iowa.  The Aggies completed a very disappointing start to the season, going 0-4 against one of the weaker tourney fields in the country in week one.  USU committed four errors that led to four unearned runs and those were the difference.  The Aggies had 12 hits compared to 10 for South Dakota State, but USU pitchers allowed three home runs.  Two came off starting, and eventual losing, pitcher Alleyah Armendariz.  The Jackrabbits, predicted to finish last in the Summit League by that conference's coaches, beat Utah State on consecutive days.

New Mexico State 8, Colorado State 2 - A five-run bottom of the third inning was too much to overcome as the Rams lost their second consecutive game at the host's tournament in Las Cruces.  Holly Reinke fell to 0-2 on the season, but hit a home run to help her cause.  Haley David had a pair of hits for Colorado State, which saw its record fall to 2-3.