Tuesday, February 10, 2015

News and notes around Mountain West softball

The first week of the season is now in the books and contained some standout performances, a couple of big surprises, and a disappointment or two as well.  Let's start with the outstanding performances.  Sharon-Renae Estrada of San Jose State had a weekend to remember with five home runs, 15 RBI and 26 total bases -- stats that far outdistance any other individual in the conference.  Estrada's Spartans teammate, Michelle Cox, led the Mountain West with a total of 13 hits for the weekend and hit a whopping .619.  Fresno State pitchers Jill Compton and Hannah Harris turned in strong efforts to propel the Bulldogs to the best record (4-1) in the league after one week.  Compton won a MW-high three games and struck out a conference-best 28.  Harris (1-0) pitched against A-10 favorite Fordham, a Cal State Northridge team that is receiving votes in both national polls, and vs. Ole Miss of the Southeastern Conference.  In 10.1 innings against those high-powered teams, she didn't allow an earned run, and gave up just one total run -- that one coming on a Bulldog error -- to conclude the week with a 0.00 ERA.  The only other pitcher in the Mountain West this week to throw 10 or more innings without allowing an earned run was southpaw Lauren Soles of New Mexico.  The Lobos hurler (2-0) tossed 14.1 innings, allowing five runs (all unearned) in wins against Seattle and USD.  She was able to overcome a New Mexico defense that combined for eight errors in those two games in which she pitched.  Soles and Estrada today were named Mountain West Pitcher and Player of the Week, respectively ... Freshman Brina Buttacavoli of Utah State hit a grand slam in her first plate appearance as a collegian.  With the Aggies down 7-2 to South Dakota State in the seventh inning, her blast brought USU within a run ... Haley Hutton of Colorado State finished with an on-base percentage of .737 as the Rams won two of five games at the Hotel Encanto Invitational at New Mexico State.  Hutton had four hits and a MW-leading nine walks ... Freshman Fahren Glacken of UNLV finished with a conference-high four doubles in five games ... Three different Mountain West players hit two home runs in a game.  And one player (SJSU's Estrada) did it twice.  Estrada had two home runs in a Spartans win vs. Seattle on Friday, and then hit two more Saturday in a win over Portland State.  Michelle Solomon of Fresno State hit two home runs in the Bulldogs' season-opening, 8-0 run-rule win over Fordham.  Oregon State transfer Alleyah Armendariz, now at Utah State, hit two home runs in a 10-7 loss to Iowa State ... Boise State freshman Sara Ketelsleger had nine hits, including three doubles, along with six RBI as the Broncos went 3-2 at the North Texas Invitational ... Returning from a 2014 injury, Devon Bridges of Boise State barely skipped a beat with what has now become a routine weekend for her -- batting .500 with nine hits in 18 at-bats, knocking in four runs, smacking a home run and two doubles, and finishing with a .778 slugging percentage ... Sydnee Cable picked up her first pitching win for San Diego State as the Aztecs defeated Idaho State 8-6 ... Nevada scored seven runs in one inning against 2nd-ranked Oregon, coming from a 7-1 deficit for a briefly-held 8-7 lead ... San Diego State won its season opener for the 14th time in 15 years when it defeated Purdue 2-0 ... Going 4-1 at the Kajikawa Classic, Fresno State won four or more games at a road tournament for the first time in seven years.  The last time the Bulldogs did as well in a tourney away from home, they won the 2008 Judi Garman Classic with a 5-0 record that included wins over then-No. 6 Michigan, No. 20 Long Beach State, Utah, Illinois and host Cal State Fullerton ... New Mexico's team ERA, after one weekend, ranks second in the Mountain West behind Fresno State.  The Lobos finished the first week of play with a team ERA of 1.94, a dramatic improvement over last season when UNM ranked last in the conference in that category at 7.66 ... Boise State leads the Mountain West in doubles with 15 after one week, and no other team is in double figures in that category ... All four of Utah State's losses on opening weekend came against teams (Iowa State and South Dakota State) predicted to finish last in their respective leagues by those conferences' coaches ... Three teams (UNLV, Utah State and Colorado State) finished with team ERAs over 6.00 ... While Fresno State ranked No. 1 in conference ERA after the opening week of play, the Bulldogs' had the worst team batting average among Mountain West teams at .248 ... Nevada, New Mexico and San Diego State all committed more than 10 errors as a team last weekend ... Fresno State had the conference's only pitching staff that did not allow a home run last week ... Opponents stole 11 bases against San Jose State last week (most in the league), while Boise State allowed just two stolen bases ... New Mexico is averaging more than two errors per game after one week of play ... Only two players in the Mountain West had more than two stolen bases last weekend.  Fresno State's Brenna Moss (4) and Malia Rivers (3) combined for seven ... Erica Romero of San Diego State pitched a league-high 23 innings ... San Jose State's Allison Lang and Colorado State freshman Trinity Harrington had two saves apiece, most in the Mountain West, last week ... Chelsea Johnson, a freshman catcher at New Mexico, threw out three base runners attempting to steal ... Upcoming games will be available on video via either television (in one case), computers or mobile devices.  Colorado State's games this week at the Texas Classic will be available on the Longhorn Network.  Fresno State's games this week at the Fresno State Kick-Off Classic will be available on the Mountain West Network, as will San Diego State's games at the Campbell-Cartier Classic and UNLV's games at the Wilson/DeMarini Desert Classic.