Saturday, March 28, 2015

SATURDAY: Fresno State erupts late to stun San Jose State

The Mountain West saved the best game of the day for last as Fresno State handed San Jose State its first conference loss with a stunning comeback.  Elsewhere, San Diego State erupted with five home runs in a rout over struggling Boise State; New Mexico earned an extra-inning road win at UNLV; and Utah State dispatched of Nevada.

Fresno State 3, San Jose State 2 (8 innings) - It was like two completely different games in one as the Spartans dominated much of the night before the Bulldogs rallied to tie it in the seventh and win it in the eighth during an impressive come-from-behind outing in front of 1,093 fans.  The game began looking exactly like it had the previous night in a 1-0 SJSU win -- Fresno State without much sense of urgency, some questionable at-bats, and some defensive miscues, but the Spartans locked in and ready to go from the outset.  SJSU took the early lead, just like it did on Friday, in the first inning.  Jessie Hufstetler singled with one out in the top of the first and came home on a 2-out wild pitch by Bulldog starter Hannah Harris.  SJSU stretched it to a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Fresno State committed two of its three errors in the game during that frame.  And that's how the game stayed for most of the night, with San Jose State hanging onto a 2-0 lead.  Spartans starting pitcher Allison Lang tossed an outstanding game and had the Bulldogs grounding out on pitch after pitch after pitch, mowing Fresno State down at a quick pace.  Lang didn't allow a base runner through the first 5 2/3 innings and was four outs from a perfect game before a light bulb seemed to go off in the collective heads of the Bulldogs.  Pinch-hitter Katie Castellon walked with two outs in the sixth to end Lang's hopes of a perfect game, and Brenna Moss followed with the first hit for Fresno State.  After Malia Rivers singled, the Bulldogs had the bases loaded in an inning that would end on a groundout with SJSU still ahead 2-0.  In the seventh, Kierra Willis singled to lead it off and the Bulldogs made it a 2-1 game when Paige Gumz smacked an RBI double.  After a groundout advanced Gumz to third, Bria Kennedy hit a deep sacrifice fly to left, tying the score 2-2 and the game would go to extras.  Harris was on top of her game after the second inning, allowing just two singles the rest of the way to earn the win with a 6-hitter.  Only one of the two runs off Harris was earned.  She retired SJSU in order in the top of the eighth, giving the Bulldogs a chance to win it... and they did.  Whitney Smith worked a walk against Lang, and Moss followed with her second straight hit.  Rivers was out on a fielder's choice, but, more importantly, it gave Fresno State runners at the corners.  With two outs and runners at second and third, Willis singled on a 2-2 pitch to bring home Smith with the game-winning run in a stunning comeback.  After being held hitless by Lang for the first five innings, the Bulldogs had two hits apiece in each of the last three innings.  Moss and Willis both went 2-for-2 in their final two at-bats of the game.  Six Spartans had one hit each.  Both teams ended the day at 4-1 in Mountain West play.

And the tweet that caused a great deal of controversy:

San Diego State 16, Boise State 2 (5 innings) - We probably know who will win conference hitter of the week honors next week and it's going to be an Aztec.  At this point, though, it could be one of a couple different players who had monster afternoons at the plate for the Aztecs.  San Diego State, once down 2-1 in the top of the third, used three consecutive 5-run innings and blasted the Broncos in Boise.  Home runs were the focus in this one as SDSU sent five out of the yard, including a stunning 3 homer display from Lorena Bauer.  Already San Diego State's all-time record holder in home runs, Bauer smashed homers in three straight innings, launching a grand slam in the third, a 2-run shot in the fourth, and a solo blast in the fifth.  SDSU would score 15 unanswered runs after Boise State took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first against Aztecs starter and winning pitcher Erica Romero on a 2-run single by Hailey Torrez.  In addition to Bauer's big day, San Diego State got a grand slam from Hayley Miles, who finished with five RBI.  Sydnee Cable's solo blast in the first gave the Aztecs an early 1-0 lead on a day when they had 13 hits.  San Diego State moved alone into first place in the Mountain West (5-0), a game ahead of both San Jose State and Fresno State (each 4-1).  The Aztecs won their ninth straight MW contest spanning two seasons.  For Boise State, the Broncos' school-record losing streak has reached 12 in a row.  BSU, which has been run-ruled four times in its past five games, saw pitchers Mackenzie McGill and Nicole Wilson walk nine SDSU batters in the game.

New Mexico 6, UNLV 3 (8 innings) - The Lobos bounced back from a tough, walk-off loss on Friday night with an extra-innings win in Las Vegas over the host Rebels.  Krissy Fortner allowed two hits in three innings of scoreless relief to earn the victory for UNM.  This was a game where New Mexico moved out to a 3-run lead before watching it disappear late when UNLV scored three in the bottom of the sixth to tie it.  In the decisive eighth, Michala Erickson singled to lead off the frame, and came home on an RBI double by freshman Chelsea Johnson.  Karissa Haleman, who had homered earlier in the game with her third round-tripper of the season, then laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Mariah Rimmer, who'd walked just prior to Johnson's hit.  Mia Hignojos brought home the third run of that extra frame for UNM with an RBI single.  Fortner worked a quick bottom of the eighth, aided by a double play, to grab the win.  Hignojos, Johnson and Gabrielle Stacey all finished with two hits for the Lobos, who had to overcome a day where they committed four errors.  UNLV had nine hits, including a multi-hit game from Samantha Juarez, who had two.  With each team having won one game this weekend, New Mexico will look to capture its second consecutive series with a victory on Sunday, while UNLV looks to win its first MW series of the year.

Utah State 11, Nevada 9 - In a wild game in Reno, freshman pitcher Jordyn McCracken, one of three Aggies hurlers on the afternoon, won her first game as a collegian to improve to 1-3.  Nicole Arata hit a home run and had two RBI, while Hailey Froton had a pair of doubles and finished with three RBI.  After getting down 2-0, Utah State used a 6-run top of the third on seven hits to take a short-lived 4-run lead.  The key hit of that frame for the Aggies was one of Froton's two doubles, and the Pack committed a pair of errors in the third as well.  Nevada would respond quickly though, scoring five in the bottom of the inning to take a 7-6 lead.  Karley Hopkins got the rally started with a leadoff double, and Megan Sweet had a 2-run single in the inning.  Nevada recaptured the lead as an Aggies error scored the final two runs of the third.  Paxton Provost had three hits in the game, including a triple in the fourth as Utah State went back in front for good.  USU won its second straight game in Reno after entering the weekend on a 3-game losing streak.  USU's win for a second day in a row in Reno, means the Aggies have won a Mountain West series for the first time in a year, ending a string of eight straight series losses. Nevada tried to make it close down the stretch and made it interesting in a dramatic bottom of the seventh.  The game ended on an interference play when the Wolf Pack had the potential tying runs aboard.  Both teams finished with 13 hits.