Sunday, April 19, 2015

Compton's 7th shutout keeps Fresno State in first place


Sunday concluded another weekend of Mountain West softball and we're in a holding pattern of sorts as the teams at the top continued to win.

Streaking Fresno State won for the ninth time in its last 10 games and maintained its hold on first place.  The Bulldogs got another remarkable pitching performance from Jill Compton, who struck out 10 and shut out Boise State to sweep the 3-game series.  San Jose State withstood a late Utah State comeback and held on for a 1-run victory over the Aggies to sweep that series.  And San Diego State bounced back from a loss Saturday to stay within striking distance of the top spot by winning its series at Colorado State two games to one.

UNLV captured the Governor's Series in softball with a road win at Nevada to move into a tie with idle New Mexico for fourth place in the Mountain West and keep its slim title hopes alive.

Fresno State 5, Boise State 0
Jill Compton did more Jill Compton-type things in another shutout win and 3-game series sweep for the first-place Bulldogs.  The junior right-hander, who's won Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honors four of the last five weeks, all but wrapped up the award again with another spectacular weekend.  Compton tossed her seventh shutout of the season and won her eighth consecutive start with a complete-game 5-hitter.  For the week, Compton went 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA and 15 strikeouts, allowing just one earned run in 16 1/3 innings of work.  She lowered her overall ERA this year to a Mountain West-best 1.94 and saw her league-leading ERA in conference games drop below 1.00.  Compton allowed no runs and had 10 strikeouts Sunday against a Boise State offense that scored 24 runs last weekend against Nevada.  Fresno State got a 3-for-3 performance from Malia Rivers, who also had an RBI on a day where the Bulldogs doubled the Broncos in hits, 10 to five.  Brenna Moss continued an impressive weekend with two more hits and two RBI, while Kierra Willis had a pair of hits, including one that drove in a pair of insurance runs in the sixth with two outs.  Freshman Chase LeeHong had two hits, including a leadoff double that jump-started Fresno State's 3-run rally in the sixth.  Nicole Wilson took the loss for Boise State.  The Bulldogs head into their final two series of the season with a one-game lead over San Diego State and a game and a half advantage over San Jose State.  The 3-game series in Fresno drew a Mountain West season-high of 3,937 fans.

San Diego State 8, Colorado State 4
The Aztecs stormed out of the gates with five runs on a pair of long balls in the opening inning en route to claiming a 2-1 series win over the Rams in Fort Collins.  Lorena Bauer hit a pair of home runs, including a 2-run shot that gave San Diego State a 2-0 lead just three batters into the game.  A pair of walks followed, and Sydnee Cable launched a 3-run shot to quickly make it a 5-0 Aztecs advantage, and that was all coach Jen Fisher needed to see of starting pitcher Holly Reinke, who'd pitched well on Saturday.  Fisher turned to freshman Logan Losh, who escaped that first inning without further trouble and would last until the fourth.  CSU responded with three in the bottom of a wild first inning, with Taylor Hutton's 2-run home run off Erica Romero being the Rams' biggest hit of the frame.  It remained a 5-3 game until the fourth when Bauer hit her second homer of the game -- a 3-run shot -- to give her a school-record 53 RBI.  Trinity Harrington entered to pitch for CSU in the fourth and completely shut down SDSU the rest of the way, going 3 1/3 innings of hitless relief.  But it wouldn't be enough as CSU could only rally for one additional run against Romero.  That's not to say the Rams didn't have their chances.  But, just like Saturday, CSU was often unable to come up with a clutch hit, despite having twice as many opportunities as the Aztecs with runners on base.  CSU was 6-for-22 with runners on base in the game, leaving the bases loaded twice in consecutive innings midway through the game and stranding 11 overall.  Each team finished with eight hits.

San Jose State 5, Utah State 4
The Aggies, again playing without their top player in Noelle Johnson, scored two in the top of the seventh to pull within a run before the Spartans held on for the victory to complete a 3-game sweep in San Jose.  With the victory, San Jose State remained tied in the loss column with league-leading Fresno State, but a game and a half behind the Bulldogs in the standings.  SJSU, in a battle with Fresno State and San Diego State for the conference title, has nine games remaining in Mountain West play, while the Bulldogs and Aztecs have just six.  The Spartans scored three runs in the first inning against USU starter Alleyah Armendariz, who entered the game with a 9.88 ERA and dropped to 1-13 on the season with the loss.  SJSU had two hits in the inning and took advantage of a Paxton Provost error that allowed a pair of unearned runs.  Those two runs would end up being the difference in a 1-run game as Armendariz and freshman reliever Jordyn McCracken allowed just one earned run on five hits the rest of the way.  Armendariz hit a pair of solo home runs for the Aggies' first two runs of the game.  In the seventh, USU rallied to score a pair of runs and make it close, with the help of two walks by Spartans reliever Allison Lang.  In for starter Madison Fish, who earned the victory, Lang walked the first two batters she faced in the seventh.  Utah State got a groundout and RBI single and had the potential tying run in scoring position when Sarah Chow grounded out to end the game.  Nicole Schultz had two doubles, and Erin Rodriguez hit a 2-run triple in the first to lead the way for SJSU.  Johnson, who's picked up all but two of Utah State's pitching victories this season, did not play.

UNLV 7, Nevada 3
In the finale of their weekend Governor's Series matchup in Reno, the Rebels picked up a road victory over the Wolf Pack to claim the series two games to one.  Nevada held an early 3-1 lead and Amanda Weis hit her eighth homer of the season, but UNLV fought back with six unanswered runs for the victory.  Garie Blando hit her 14th round-tripper of the 2015 season and Merina Ili delivered a clutch, 2-run, pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning for the Rebels.  Four of UNLV's nine hits went for extra bases, including a double for freshman Janine Petmecky, who finished with two RBI.  She was the lone Rebel with a multi-hit game and also earned the pitching win, which was just her second of the season against seven losses.  Petmecky allowed four hits and three earned runs in four innings.  Megan Dortch took the loss for Nevada, which got two hits from Nikki Orozco.