Saturday, April 4, 2015

Fresno State overpowers Aztecs 8-1 to win key road series

There were no series sweeps in Mountain West softball action this week, but Saturday featured some standout performances.  Fresno State, behind a stunning weekend performance from pitcher Jill Compton, became the first Mountain West team since 2012 to win a road series at 3-time defending conference champion San Diego State.  Compton went 2-0 with her second complete game win of the weekend over the Aztecs, finishing with 14 innings pitched and a perfect 0.00 ERA.

Meanwhile, Allison Lang, after losing a tough one to Colorado State on Thursday, bounced back with a 1-hitter in San Jose State's 5-inning win over the Rams to salvage a game in that series.  UNLV won for the second day in a row in Logan to defeat Utah State and win that series.  And Nevada picked up its first road victory, snapping New Mexico's 4-game win streak.

Fresno State 8, San Diego State 1 - Jill Compton, celebrating her 21st birthday Saturday, delivered one of the better pitching weekends in conference history.  Compton was in control throughout this one, just as she was on Thursday when she led the Bulldogs to a 5-0 win.  Allowing only one unearned run when Fresno State committed a pair of errors in the third, Compton was nearly untouchable again.  She finished the weekend with a 0.00 ERA and earned two huge road wins that not only kept Fresno State on pace for its first NCAA Tournament berth in four years, but handed 3-time defending Mountain West champion San Diego State its first home series loss since 2012.  The Aztecs had won eight straight home series prior to Saturday.  The 7-run margin of defeat for San Diego State represents the Aztecs' worst loss in regular-season conference play in 14 years.  Not since the 2001 season had SDSU suffered a defeat by seven or more runs during the regular season to a MW opponent.   New Mexico pulled off a 9-0 win over San Diego State on April 13, 2001.  In today's game, Brenna Moss and Whitney Smith both had three hits and were instrumental in the win as Fresno State pounded out 13 hits for the second time in three days against the Aztecs.  Erica Romero started for SDSU and took her second loss in the series.  For the first time this weekend, Romero was unable to finish the game, giving way to Sydnee Cable in the seventh.  Michelle Solomon, who had a pair of RBI, singled down the line to score Moss in the first as the Bulldogs went on top early.  Fresno State stretched its lead to 3-0 in the third with a pair of hits. With the bases loaded, Romero hit Paige Gumz to force in a run, and Alyssa Villalpando followed with a sacrifice fly.  Smith, who had five hits in the last two games of the series, tripled to lead off the sixth, and scored on an RBI single by Malia Rivers.  Still maintaining a 3-run lead entering the seventh, the Bulldogs erupted in the final frame for four runs to put the game away.  Villalpando led off with a double and -- with one out -- Taylor Green delivered a clutch, pinch-hit RBI double to make it a 5-1 score.  Three more hits would follow in succession as Smith hit an RBI single, Moss doubled, and Rivers hit a run-scoring single.  Solomon's sacrifice fly concluded a 4-run inning and Compton kept SDSU off the board in the seventh.  Rivers and Kierra Willis, who returned from a scary injury on Thursday that kept her out of Friday's game, had two hits each.  Leia Ruiz had two singles to pace the Aztecs.

San Jose State 8, Colorado State 0 (5 innings) - After surprisingly being unable to do anything on offense in the first two games of this series, the Spartans had little problem Saturday to salvage one win at home in the 3-game set.  Allison Lang, who lost to Colorado State on Friday, allowed just one hit in the 5-inning game.  Danielle Wikre singled with one out in the second, but that was all the offense CSU could muster after winning the first two games of the series and scoring seven runs in the process.  Lang hit a batter and SJSU committed an error for the other Rams base runners.  Taylor Purdy's sacrifice fly gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead in the second following an Erin Rodriguez single, a Colorado State error and a passed ball.  A 5-run third was the difference.  Jessie Hufstetler homered after Jessica Madrid walked, making it a 3-0 game in favor of the Spartans.  Alyssa Martinez singled before Purdy and Alissa Pinedo hit back to back doubles, scoring three more in the inning.  Purdy would finish the game with three RBI to lead San Jose State.  In the fourth, Madrid singled and Hufstetler doubled.  Both runners came home on a 2-run single by Martinez and it was suddenly 8-0.  The run-rule was invoked after the top of the fifth when Lang retired the Rams in order.  SJSU finished with 12 hits.

Nevada 7, New Mexico 4 - In Albuquerque, the Wolf Pack picked up their first road win of the conference season, scoring three runs in the sixth to snap a 4-all tie.  Nevada had 10 hits to just five for the Lobos, who used five different pitchers in the game.  Megan Dortch, who'd won just twice in 2015 prior to Saturday, earned the victory by pitching the first five innings and allowing five hits.  Dortch was able to overcome six walks, and freshman Chase Redington earned her third save by pitching the final two innings and holding the Lobos hitless.  A Jennifer Purcell sacrifice fly scored Megan Sweet, who doubled, to give Nevada a 1-0 lead in the second.  In the fourth, Nevada pushed the lead to 4-0 on a run-scoring fielder's choice and a New Mexico error that allowed two more to score.  UNM responded with a 4-run bottom of the fourth to tie it.  Shelby Franc and Mia Hignojos hit RBI singles, and Michala Erickson delivered a 2-out, 2-run single to make it 4-4.  In the sixth, UNM had some major pitching woes as reliever Lauren Soles entered with two runners aboard with one out following a single and walk given up by eventual losing pitcher Tess McPherson.  Soles proceeded to hit three of the first four batters she faced, plunking two with the bases loaded to force in runs and give Nevada a lead it wouldn't relinquish.  A passed ball allowed a third Wolf Pack run in the inning, and -- following a walk -- Soles was pulled.  But the damage had been done.  Redington sealed the win for the Pack and didn't allow a base runner for New Mexico during either of the final two innings.

UNLV 8, Utah State 6 - Another slugfest broke out in Logan, and just like Friday, it was the Rebels who came out on top.  There were five home runs in this one, three by UNLV and two by the hometown Aggies.  For the series, the teams combined to score 57 runs.  Garie Blando had three hits, including a solo home run, to pace the Rebels' 11-hit attack.  Blando homered to lead off the game and UNLV's lead was 2-0 in the second after a Utah State throwing error on an attempted steal.  Two more Aggies errors in the third led to two more Rebels runs and it was 4-1 after 2 1/2 innings.  Utah State rallied for four runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead.  Jo Koons and Hailey Froton singled before Paxton Provost got the Aggies on the board again with an RBI single.  Victoria Saucedo followed with a 3-run homer that pushed Utah State in front.  An inning later, USU extended the lead when Koons tripled home Nicole Arata, who led off the fourth with a walk.  Facing a 6-4 deficit, UNLV scored three runs in the fifth to take the lead back for good.  Blando singled to lead off the fifth and came home on a 2-run blast off the bat of Fahren Glackin to left-center.  Samantha Juarez followed with a solo shot of her own to make it 7-6.  A bunt single by Emily Haslinger and a double by Jamie DePippo had UNLV looking for more with runners at second and third with just one out.  Noelle Johnson, who went the distance in the circle for USU and absorbed the loss, escaped the jam with a flyout and ground out, but the Aggies were never able to get closer.  UNLV added an insurance run in the sixth and Morgan Ettinger, who came on in relief of starter Sydney Mundell, picked up the victory.  Ettinger threw the final 4 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and a pair of earned runs.