Sunday, March 29, 2015

SUNDAY: Two weeks in, San Diego State is a perfect 6-0


San Diego State remained perfect atop the Mountain West and kept Boise State winless with a road victory Sunday, while San Jose State took advantage of Fresno State miscues for its first series win ever over the Bulldogs.  Elsewhere, New Mexico won a second straight road series by taking advantage of UNLV mistakes, and Nevada picked up its first conference win of the year, beating Utah State.

San Jose St. 9, Fresno State 7 - The Spartans snapped a 3-3 tie in the fifth, scoring four runs after one of two 2-out errors in the same inning by Bulldog second baseman Malia Rivers, who had a tough defensive day.  Rivers had three of the Bulldogs' season-high four errors and San Jose State took advantage, scoring five unearned runs that were the difference. All nine SJSU runs on the day came with two outs in an inning, and many followed Bulldog miscues. After a dropped pop-up with two outs extended the fifth inning, Trisha Ford decided to intentionally walk Michelle Cox to load the bases in a tie game.  It backfired.  Jessica Madrid hit an infield single and SJSU went in front 4-3 before Jessie Hufstetler was hit by a pitch to make it a 5-3 game.  A 2-run single by Sharon-Renae Estrada preceded another Rivers error and Hannah Harris would be summoned from the bullpen.  Starter Jill Compton took the loss, allowing only three earned runs.  Madison Fish allowed seven earned runs, but picked up the victory for SJSU.  The Bulldogs nearly pulled off a miraculous comeback for a second day in a row, scoring three in the seventh, putting the tying run aboard, and bringing up the potential game-winning run.  Alyssa Villalpando, with runners at the corners, hit into a game-ending double play to end it against reliever Allison Lang, who picked up the save.  Fresno State scored three in the third to take a 3-1 lead as Whitney Smith homered and Paige Gumz hit a 2-run double.  Four of Fresno State's eight hits went for extra bases, but the Spartans had 12 singles.  The Bulldogs had not lost a series at home since 2009, and had never lost a conference series to the Spartans.  After winning 81 of 90 games versus SJSU from 1986 to 2012, the Bulldogs are just 3-4 against the Spartans over the last three seasons.

San Diego State 10, Boise State 6 - This one in Boise followed the pattern set Friday and Saturday in this series.  San Diego State roared to an early lead en route to a win.  It was a 6-run top of the first on six hits for the Aztecs, who had 13 in the game -- all against Boise State freshman Rachel Rodriguez.  Kayla Bufardeci and Leia Ruiz each hit 2-run doubles in the opening frame as San Diego State won its 10th straight Mountain West game dating back to last season.  Boise State dropped its 13th consecutive game overall.  Bufardeci later added a solo home run as part of SDSU's13-hit attack, and the Broncos had 10 hits off Aztecs starter and winning pitcher, Erica Romero.  Sara Ketelsleger hit a 2-run home run to trim the Boise State deficit to 8-6 before San Diego State scored twice in the seventh to push the lead back to four runs.

New Mexico 2, UNLV 1 - In a pitcher's duel in Las Vegas, the Lobos picked up the series win by holding the Rebels to four hits.  New Mexico captured a second straight conference series for the first time since the Mountain West adopted the 3-game series format after the 2011 season.  In doing so, UNM won its 20th game of the year and moved into a tie for third place in the league standings with preseason favorite Fresno State.  Struggling UNLV, meanwhile, has lost 9 of its past 10 games and dropped both of its first two series on the season.  New Mexico scored an unearned run in the top of the first as Garie Blando's throwing error was one of two Rebels miscues on the day.  Blando would atone for it in the bottom of the inning on a solo homer.  The game-winning run came for UNM in the fifth on Alyssa Cordova's error following a Jasmine Casados single.  Rebels starting pitcher Morgan Ettinger took the loss, despite not allowing an earned run in the contest and going the distance.  Each team's leadoff batter -- Blando for UNLV and Brandi Heimburg for New Mexico -- had two hits.  Krissy Fortner went the first four for UNM to grab the victory, while Lisa Rodrigues picked up the save.

Nevada 3, Utah State 2 - In Reno, the Wolf Pack won their first Mountain West game of the year by surviving a tight seventh inning.  Nevada took a 2-0 lead in the first on consecutive RBI singles by Ashley Butera and Jennifer Purcell.  The lead became three on an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth and that insurance run would prove important.  Utah State scored a pair in the top of the seventh and had the bases loaded with two outs when Nevada's Megan Dortch got Hailey Froton to line out to third to end it.  The Pack had six hits from three different players.  Aaliyah Gibson, Butera and Purcell all had two hits apiece while the rest of the Nevada squad went 0-for-16.  Noelle Johnson took the loss for Utah State.  Dortch allowed five hits in the complete-game win.