Saturday, March 7, 2015

SATURDAY: Mountain West tangles with the nation's elite in Fullerton

A full day of action in the world of Mountain West softball is taking place Saturday.  And it centers around the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton where a monumental occurrence is taking place.  For the first time in conference history, league members take on the nation's No. 1, 2 and 3 teams all in one day.  Fresno State is responsible for the biggest piece of that pie as the Bulldogs meet the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in a back to back doubleheader. 

No. 1 Florida 4, Fresno State 1 - In Fullerton, the Bulldogs hung tough with the nation's top-ranked team before falling.  Each team had six hits and the Gators were never able to put one of their signature big innings together.  Hannah Harris got the start and took the loss, giving up a 2-run, 2-out home run in the first and a solo homer in the third. The Bulldogs threatened to tie it in the sixth. Brenna Moss led off with her second hit of the day and Malia Rivers followed with a single. Michelle Solomon then doubled to drive in Moss and make it 3-1.  Rivers tried to score all the way from first, but was thrown out at home at a crucial moment in the game.  The Bulldogs had runners at the corners with one out in the inning, but couldn't add on against Lauren Haeger and Florida, which improved to 27-0.  In the bottom of the sixth, Fresno State committed an error and the Gators added a final insurance run.

No. 2 Oregon 3, Fresno State 0 - In Fullerton, the Bulldogs gave Oregon all it could handle in a game that had a bit of a misleading final score.  This one was a 0-0 game in the fourth inning when a 1-out error by freshman Katie Castellon gave Oregon some hope.  To that point, Jill Compton had not allowed a run in 15 consecutive innings, and had retired eight of the previous nine Ducks, four by strikeout.  A Danica Mercado single scored the unearned run to make it 1-0 in the fourth.  It remained that way until the sixth, with Compton yet to allow an earned run in a 1-0 game.  A home run by Janelle Lindvall, a member of the USA women's national team, made it 2-0 late.  And in the seventh, the Ducks added a third run on a freak play where a ball off the bat of Janie Takeda hit the third base bag.  First team All-American pitcher Cheridan Hawkins went the distance, allowing two hits -- both to Brenna Moss, who hit a leadoff double to start the game.  Moss hit .667 (4 for 6) with a pair of doubles, a run and stolen base versus elite pitchers from Florida and Oregon on the afternoon.  The Ducks moved to 18-3 on the year, with all three of their losses coming to Top 10 teams, including two to No. 1 Florida.

No. 3 Michigan 10, San Diego St. 2 (5 innings) - In Fullerton, the Wolverines got to Aztecs starting pitcher Sydnee Cable right off the bat en route to a run-rule win.  Michigan scored six runs in the first inning, hit a pair of home runs in the frame and finished with 12 hits and three round-trippers.  Kayla Jordan had a double and RBI to lead the Aztecs.

No. 22 Arizona State 6, San Jose St. 4 - In Fullerton, the Spartans looked to be in control of this one early with a 3-0 lead after the first inning.  Jessie Hufstetler hit a solo home run and Erin Rodriguez smacked a 2-run double as all three SJSU runs in the first inning came with two out.  Madison Fish started for SJSU and had things her way until a late-inning uprising by the Sun Devils.  A 3-run homer snapped a 3-all tie in the fifth as ASU went on to pick up its 19th win against seven losses.   The Spartans loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the sixth but could only push one run across on a groundout.  A comebacker to the pitcher and a strikeout ended the threat.

San Diego St. 7, Iowa 2 - The Aztecs became the third Mountain West team in a row to knock off the Iowa Hawkeyes in Fullerton.  Following in the footsteps of San Jose State (an 11-2 victor) and Fresno State (a 9-0, run-rule winner with a perfect game from Jill Compton), the Aztecs rallied from an early deficit for the win.  Combined with UNM's win over Rutgers, it gave the Mountain West 10 softball wins against teams from the Big Ten Conference this season.

New Mexico 10, Rutgers 5 - The Lobos exploded for six runs in the sixth inning to erase a deficit and go on for the win at the Lobo Classic in Albuquerque.  The Scarlet Knights led early in this one before UNM battled back.  In the sixth, the biggest blow of all came off the bat of Jasmine Casados, who launched a grand slam after UNM had gone in front 6-5.

New Mexico 8, Cal State Bakersfield 1 - The Lobos got some revenge for a loss to the Roadrunners on Friday, beating CSB in the Lobo Classic.

UNLV 8, Houston 7 (8 innings) - The Rebels won at home with the international tiebreak rule in effect, defeating the Cougars, who dropped to 11-13 on the year.

UNLV 3, Eastern Kentucky 2 - Despite being out-hit nine to six, the Rebels won at home in Las Vegas over the Colonials (9-10).  Four of UNLV's six hits were doubles, including one by Alyssa Cordova, the only Rebel to have two hits in the game.

Utah State 6, St. Mary's 5 - The Aggies came from behind in the seventh inning to knock off the Gaels in Boise.

Utah State 4, Weber State 3 - The Aggies came from behind for their second one-run win of the day, beating the Wildcats in Boise.  USU is now 5-12 on the season and won two games on the same day for the first time in nearly a year.

St. Mary's 7, Boise State 1 - The Broncos lost their second consecutive game to begin the home portion of their schedule, falling to the Gaels at the SpringHill Suites Invitational in Boise.  More details soon.

Boise State 4, Montana 3 (8 innings) - The Broncos won their first home game of the season after two defeats, clipping the first-year NCAA Division I program from Missoula.

Colorado State 5, Nebraska-Omaha 4 - The Rams won their home opener in the Colorado State Classic, defeating the Mavs.  More details soon.

Idaho State 4-7, Nevada 1-2 - In their home opening doubleheader in Reno, the Wolf Pack suffered a sweep at the hand of the Bengals of the Big Sky Conference, falling 4-1 in the opener and 7-2 in the nightcap.  In game two, Nevada took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but had just one hit the rest of the way as Idaho State scored four in the third and three more in the fourth to win going away.  Nevada fell to 4-18 on the year.