Thursday, February 19, 2015

Aztecs go 0-for-2 in Palm Springs, while Lobos pick up key road win

The Mary Nutter Classic got underway in Palm Springs Thursday and San Diego State was outscored 16-2 in a pair of lopsided losses.  Meanwhile, New Mexico picked up its most impressive win of the young season by beating Houston.

Oklahoma 10, San Diego State 1 (5 innings) - The Aztecs were run-ruled in Palm Springs by an Oklahoma Sooners team that snapped a 2-game losing streak.  OU, ranked third and fourth in the two major polls, lost to No. 13 Arizona on a walk-off, seventh inning home run in the game immediately preceding this contest, but it didn't seem to faze the Sooners.

OU jumped quickly on reigning Mountain West Pitcher of the Week Erica Romero, appearing in her 10th straight game to begin the year.  Just one out into Thursday's contest, it was 4-0 in favor of Oklahoma, and it would get worse.  By the time Romero left, she'd given up 10 runs (9 earned) and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Sooners coach Patty Gasso substituted liberally as 15 different OU batters came to the plate.  SDSU, which had three hits, avoided the shutout and scored its run with two outs in the fifth on an RBI single by Lorena Bauer.

LSU 6, San Diego State 1 - Romero started this game as well, but was gone by the fifth inning and replaced with Sydnee Cable in the circle.  On the day, Romero threw 194 pitches (107 vs. OU and 87 in this one) and took the loss in both contests.

San Diego State took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an unearned run when Kayla Bufardeci singled.  The hit scored Hayley Miles, who reached on an LSU error on the game's second pitch.

The Tigers (11-0) took the lead for good in the third on a 2-run, 1-out single.  In the fifth, Romero was pulled after giving up consecutive 1-out singles even though the Aztecs trailed just 2-1.  Cable gave up a single to the first batter she faced, and then a grand slam to Sahvanna Jaquish, which all but sealed it.

San Diego State's Monica Downey had two hits.

New Mexico 2, Houston 1 - At the Houston Hotel Plaza Classic, the Lobos picked up an impressive road win to begin play in this 4-team tournament hosted by the Cougars.

In a pitcher's duel started by New Mexico's Carrie Sheehan, the Lobos looked to be in trouble after Houston got a fifth inning home run from Courtney Klingler for a 1-0 lead.  To that point, neither offense was doing much, and UNM went to the bottom of the sixth trailing by that 1-0 margin.

As the designated home team despite being in Houston's home stadium, New Mexico rallied in the sixth.  Shelbie Franc singled with one out and the tying run was on third base with two outs in the inning following walks to Jasmine Casados and Karissa Haleman.  Mariah Rimmer then delivered what turned out to be the game-winning hit with a 2-run single up the middle.

In the seventh, Lobos coach Erica Beach replaced Sheehan in the circle and called on Krissy Fortner to close it out.  It turned out to be a smart move.  While Fortner issued a walk and infield single to begin the frame, she buckled down from there.  After a bunt moved both runners into scoring position with one out, Fortner got a big strikeout of Klingler, who had homered in her previous at-bat.  With two away and the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position, a pop up ended the game.

Houston (6-9) was predicted fourth in the American Athletic Conference this season and was coming off a 33-win season a year ago where it advanced to an NCAA regional final.