Saturday, April 18, 2015

First-place Fresno State wins, while Spartans keep pace

It was another wild day in Mountain West softball action Saturday.  Fresno State and San Jose State both won to keep pace at the top of the conference leaderboard, while San Diego State split a doubleheader and fell a game off the pace.

At the end of the day, it was Trisha Ford's Bulldogs moving a full game in front of the Aztecs and maintaining a 1 1/2 game lead on the Spartans, who are tied with Fresno State in the loss column.

Fresno State 4, Boise State 3
The Bulldogs remained alone in first place thanks to Michelle Solomon's big bat and a rare, but excellent relief performance by Jill Compton.  Solomon was the difference at the plate in this one, going 3-for-3 with a home run, triple and single on a three RBI night when she scored half of her team's runs.  She hit a triple in the first inning to tie the score at 1-1 after Boise State took an early lead.  After the Bulldogs went in front 2-1, the Broncos came back to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth, but Solomon answered back.  She launched a towering, 2-run blast to left that put Fresno State on top for good.  Starter Hannah Harris struggled at times in the circle, and was replaced by Compton in the top of the fifth with the bases loaded and BSU in front by a run.  Compton got a strikeout to end the threat and picked up her 21st win by keeping the Broncos off the board the rest of the way.  Boise State was credited with a double off Compton in the seventh when miscommunication between a pair of Bulldog outfielders allowed an out to drop.  That was the only base runner she allowed in 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.  Solomon's RBI total pushed her back into the top five among MW players and moved her to a team-leading 43.

San Diego State 9, Colorado State 7
Colorado State 10, San Diego State 9
The Aztecs saw their unbeaten road record in conference play come to an end, and the Rams saw their winless home record in Mountain West action come to an end as well in a wild doubleheader split.  The Rams had 30 hits in the doubleheader, but stranded an agonizing number on the base paths and nearly lost game two because of five errors.  CSU out-hit the Aztecs in both games and had 15 hits in each, but left 25 runners on base in a doubleheader that featured a little bit of everything.  Game one featured six home runs, with SDSU hitting four.  Kayla Jordan went deep twice, while Hayley Miles and Jenavee Peres hit one each.  In game two, the Rams committed four errors in a nightmare first inning and were down 4-0 before they even came to bat.  To its credit, CSU battled through the miscues and had five players with multi-hit games.  Erica Romero took the loss in the nightcap after winning the opener.  Holly Reinke, who lost game one, came back with a clutch relief performance to earn the save in game two.  Reinke entered in the sixth inning with one out and the bases loaded in a 1-run game and struck out two.  She escaped a scary seventh inning when SDSU left the bases loaded.  Logan Losh, the second of three Colorado State pitchers, earned the victory.

San Jose State 10, Utah State 0 (5 innings)
The Aggies lost their fourth game in a row and USU ace Noelle Johnson took the loss, despite allowing just one run in one inning of work.  Johnson was gone by the second frame, replaced by freshman Paige Mills (19.00 ERA).  San Jose State's hot-hitting offense had no trouble against Mills, scoring nine earned runs in 1 2/3 innings.  Mills walked four, hit a batter and had a wild pitch, while the Spartans had nine hits in the contest.  Three SJSU hits, including a home run by Jessie Hufstetler, went for extra bases.  Madison Fish picked up the win for SJSU, allowing just three hits.

Nevada 10, UNLV 5
In Reno, the Wolf Pack earned a win to claim game two of the Governor's Series, which is now knotted at one game apiece.  The hitting hero of this one was Karley Hopkins, who finished with a career-best five RBI and had three hits.  Jasmine Jenkins and Alyssa Mendez also had three hits each against a trio of Rebels pitchers.  Ashley Butera hit a home run and Megan Dortch grabbed the victory in the circle for Nevada.  Garie Blando hit her 13th home run of the season for UNLV and has a 15-game hitting streak.