Sunday, March 22, 2015

Fresno State posts MW's first ever 3-game sweep at CSU

The opening weekend of conference play in the Mountain West concluded Sunday with some record-breaking performances and remarkable statistics.  Fresno State became the first team in conference history to sweep a 3-game road series in Fort Collins in Colorado State, and the Bulldogs did it in very convincing fashion by adding another run-rule win on Sunday.  San Jose State and San Diego State joined the Bulldogs at 3-0 with sweeps at home over a pair of teams in major funks.  The Spartans and Aztecs swept Boise State and UNLV, respectively, as the Broncos and Rebels have now combined to lose 17 consecutive games this season between them.  Meanwhile, New Mexico hit six home runs in a single game, blasting Utah State in Logan to win that series two games to one.

Here is a detailed look at Sunday's action.

Fresno State 11, Colorado State 2 (5 innings) - The Bulldogs run-ruled the Rams for the second time in three days and became the first Mountain West team to sweep a 3-game conference road series in Fort Collins.  Since the conference adopted the 3-game weekend series format following the 2011 season, Colorado State had never been swept at home.  In fact, the Rams are traditionally one of the toughest teams to beat at home, making this 3-game sweep by the Bulldogs more remarkable.  Perhaps most impressive of all in Fresno State's 3-game sweep is this:  Colorado State entered the series unbeaten at home this season (5-0), winners of 20 of its past 25 at home, and riding the Mountain West's hottest streak by winning 11 of its last 12 overall.  But it was Trisha Ford's Bulldogs who dominated this weekend start to finish, posting a pair of run-rule routs and outscoring Colorado State 23-3 in the process.  The high-powered Fresno State offense had 14 hits in this one and responded in a big way after getting down early.  After the Rams got a pair of two-out RBI singles in the second inning to go in front 2-0, it represented Colorado State's first and only lead in a game this weekend.  It would last only about five minutes as the Bulldogs responded immediately in the top of the third.  The first four batters in the frame got hits against CSU starter and eventual losing pitcher Trinity Harrington.  Brenna Moss and Malia Rivers singled, and Michelle Solomon brought home the first run with a single to center.  Kierra Willis then put the Bulldogs in front for good with a 2-run single to right-center.  An inning later, Fresno State broke it wide open with six runs, including four that came with two outs.  Solomon joined Paige Gumz, Alyssa Villalpando and Chase LeeHong with RBI hits in that frame as the Rams turned to three different pitchers in a single inning to try and stop a Bulldogs offense that pounded out 31 hits in 17 innings in the series.  Gumz finished the weekend with seven RBI after having four more RBI on a pair of hits Sunday.  Moss, Rivers, Solomon, Villalpando and Gumz all finished with multiple hits in Sunday's win, while Willis had two RBI.  Jill Compton went the distance for the win, completing an outstanding weekend with two wins and one save.  Compton held Colorado State's heart of the batting order in check as CSU's two through seven hitters in the lineup went hitless.  Fresno State has won seven of its last eight games, and the Bulldogs have lost just once in the last 30 days to a team ranked outside the Top 25.

San Jose St. 9, Boise State 0 (5 innings) - The Spartans had eight hits and run-ruled the
Broncos, who saw their program-record losing streak reach double digits with a 10th straight loss.  It was the fourth consecutive run-rule defeat for Boise State, which has lost 13 of its last 14 games and now is just seven losses short of the school record for most in a season.  San Jose State, as it did all weekend against Cindy Ball's squad, jumped on top early.  The Spartans scored three in the first against BSU as Broncos freshman starting pitcher Rachel Rodriguez struggled with control.  After an Alyssa Martinez RBI single put SJSU up 1-0, Rodriguez issued a 2-out walk and hit-by-pitch -- both with the bases loaded -- to force in two runs for a quick 3-run Spartans lead.  Mackenize McGill came in to pitch the second and gave up a pair of runs as Martinez hit a sacrifice fly after Jessica Madrid had a hit and RBI.  Four more runs in the third sealed the deal for San Jose State.  Madrid hit a double and Martinez completed a 4 RBI game with a 2-run single.  Allison Lang earned the win, allowing just three hits as Boise State scored only one run in the 3-game series.  For a team that built its reputation on power hitting, the Broncos' bats have gone almost completely silent of late.  Boise State has been held to one or no runs in seven of its last eight games -- all losses.  The Spartans outscored the Broncos 26-1 in the series.

San Diego St. 7, UNLV 3 - Sydnee Cable made a rare pitching start in the circle, but was replaced by Erica Romero as the Rebels took an early lead but were unable to hold it.  After entering the weekend with a 2-game home losing streak, San Diego State ended up sweeping the 3-game series from the Rebels, who have now lost seven consecutive games for its longest winless streak since losing eight straight in the 2012 season.  Samantha Juarez tripled off Cable to begin the game and UNLV took a 1-0 lead immediately as Alyssa Cordova hit a sacrifice fly.  SDSU took the lead in the bottom of the first on a 2-run single by Kayla Bufardeci before the Rebels answered back with a pair of runs of their own in the second.  Jamie DePippo singled for UNLV and was sacrificed to second, prompting Aztecs coach Kathy Van Wyk to turn to her workhorse in Romero.  The sophomore, who's pitched over 125 innings more than any other SDSU hurler this season, entered with a 2-1 lead but quickly fell behind.  An Aztecs error tied the score and Garie Blando's RBI single gave the Rebels a short-lived 3-2 lead.  San Diego State tied it in the bottom of the third on a bunt single by Bufardeci, and took the lead with four in the fourth.  The big blow in that frame was a 2-run homer by Kayla Jordan.  UNLV used three pitchers and freshman Janine Petmecky fell to 0-5 by picking up the loss.

New Mexico 12, Utah State 2 (6 innings) - The Lobos hit six home runs, including four in a wild, 8-run sixth inning that broke open a tight game.  This one was just a 4-2 game heading to the top of the sixth after Utah State rallied for a pair of runs in the fifth.  But New Mexico would begin the top of the sixth in a big way by hitting back to back to back round-trippers as Mariah Rimmer, Karissa Haleman and Mia Hignojos all blasted shots off USU pitcher Noelle Johnson.  For Haleman, it would be her second home run of a game where half of the Lobos' 12 hits were homers.  Not to be outdone, Rimmer came up again in the top of the sixth inning as New Mexico batted around and hit her second home run of the inning.  UNM had been held to five hits in the game through the first five innings before getting seven hits in that decisive sixth frame.  Michala Erickson's home run in the top of the first inning was her second in two games and gave the Lobos an early 2-0 lead.  Erickson and Rimmer would finish with four RBI.  New Mexico, which had lost 10 consecutive conference series prior to meeting Utah State last season, has now won two of its past three 3-game league series.  Both have come against the Aggies.  Utah State has lost eight straight conference series.