Saturday, March 21, 2015

SATURDAY: Bulldogs, Spartans, Aztecs now 2-0 in MW play

Day two of the Mountain West regular-season race took place Saturday, and Fresno State, San Jose State and San Diego State moved to 2-0 with victories for a second straight day.  Elsewhere, New Mexico picked up its first conference win on the road in Logan.

Fresno State 3, Colorado State 1 - The Bulldogs picked up their second straight win in Fort Collins behind another dominant pitching performance as Hannah Harris earned the win.  Fresno State moved within a game of a rarity in Mountain West play -- a 3-game road sweep of a team predicted to contend for the conference championship.  None of last year's top three MW finishers managed a 3-game road sweep in conference play, let alone against a team like the Rams, who entered this series unbeaten at home and winners of 11 of their last 12 games overall.  Fresno State took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.  Brenna Moss walked and Malia Rivers singled to begin the game, and Moss later scored on a 2-out CSU error.  In the fourth, the Bulldogs extended the lead after Paige Gumz hit a 2-run home run, the Bulldogs' third round-tripper in two games against the Rams.  Gumz' blast followed a Kierra Willis single.  Colorado State got its only run of the game (and first of the series) on a 2-out single by Haley Hutton in the fifth.  After CSU was limited to three hits by Jill Compton in Friday's 9-0 Fresno State win, Harris allowed just three Saturday to earn the victory in five innings of work.  Compton went the final two frames to pick up the save, allowing only a single by Hutton with two outs in the seventh.  Bria Kennedy, after a 2-hit day Friday, went 2-for-2 and reached base safely in all three plate appearances.  Gumz finished with two RBI, and Willis added her fourth RBI in two days.  Holly Reinke scattered seven hits and took the loss.

San Jose State 8, Boise State 0 (6 innings) - The Spartans grabbed a second straight run-rule rout of the faltering Broncos in San Jose.  Boise State lost for a program-record ninth straight game, and suffered a third consecutive run-rule defeat.  It was the sixth time this season the Broncos endured a run-rule loss and the fourth time in two weeks.  Just like on Friday, a 3-run first inning set the tone for this one and put Boise State in a hole early.  Jessie Hufstetler, who had two doubles yesterday, added a pair again today.  Her double in the first was one of three hits off Broncos starting pitcher Nicole Wilson in the opening frame.  Taylor Purdy's RBI double made it 3-0 and the Spartans were in business right off the bat.  San Jose State got a fine pitching performance from Madison Fish, who tossed a complete-game 3-hitter against the struggling Broncos.  The Spartans committed a pair of errors and Fish hit two Boise State batters as BSU had a few opportunities to battle back.  Fish was at her best against the Broncos' Devon Bridges, who went 0-for-3.  Bridges twice hit into groundouts to end innings and potential Boise State rallies.  Fish induced Bridges to groundout with runners at second and third base to end the third inning and with the bases loaded to conclude the fifth.  In the sixth, the run rule was invoked on a fielder's choice following a hit-by-pitch.

New Mexico 8, Utah State 7 - In Logan, the Lobos got a key home run from Lisa Rodrigues to break open a tight game and then held on for a win over the Aggies.  Rodrigues' blast, off USU freshman pitcher Jordyn McCracken, came with two outs in the top of the fifth inning to break open a tight 1-run game.  It gave UNM an 8-4 lead but the Lobos had to withstand a late rally by Utah State.  Alleyah Armendariz, who started the game in the circle but struggled, hit a double to begin the fifth and later scored on a wild pitch to cut the USU deficit to 8-5.  In the sixth, Hailey Froton singled to score Jolene Koons, who doubled, and suddenly it was 8-6.  If that wasn't dramatic enough, things got even more tense in the bottom of the seventh.  Victoria Saucedo homered to make it a 1-run game, and Noelle Johnson walked.  Nicole Arata then doubled, but Johnson was thrown out at home plate trying to score the potential tying run on the hit.   Michala Erickson homered for New Mexico in the first inning.  It was one of 11 UNM hits compared to 13 for the Aggies.  The Lobos got 2-hit afternoons from Erickson, Rodrigues, Mia Hignojos and Mariah Rimmer.  UNM used three pitchers, with starter Carrie Sheehan allowing four runs on eight hits.  Middle reliever Krissy Fortner was relieved late by Rodrigues, who grabbed the save.

San Diego State 4, UNLV 0 - In San Diego, the Aztecs got all of their runs on one swing of the bat to win a second straight game over the suddenly reeling Rebels.  UNLV suffered a sixth consecutive loss overall and an eighth straight defeat away from Las Vegas.  The Rebels have lost 11 of 13 games played outside the state of Nevada this season.  The Aztecs' mainstay in the pitching circle this season -- sophomore Erica Romero -- got the start once again and picked up the victory, scattering six hits.  The Rebels went with freshman Janine Petmecky, who entered the game with an ERA of 7.00 and fell to 0-4.  Petmecky held San Diego State in check for the most part as UNLV out-hit the Aztecs for a second straight game.  The Rebels had six hits to five for SDSU, but UNLV stranded nine base runners compared to just two for SDSU.  The third inning would tell the story in this one.  In the third, Samantha Camello reached to lead off the frame on one of two UNLV errors in the game.  Singles by Kayla Jordan and Sydnee Cable followed, loading the bases for Lorena Bauer, who delivered the game-winning hit.  Bauer launched a grand slam to left-center, marking her school-record 47th home run and that was all Romero would need, despite some late-game troubles.  UNLV got the first two batters of the seventh on base before Samantha Juarez hit into a double play.  The Rebels have been outscored 34-3 during their current losing streak and have been shut out in four of their last five games.  Jordan was the only player for San Diego State with multiple hits in the game; she had two.  Emily Haslinger and Fahren Glackin had two hits each for UNLV.