The toughest stretch of the 2015 season began Thursday as Mountain West teams gear up to play nine conference games in an 11-day span. Fresno State's Jill Compton continued an impressive string of games with a 2-hit shutout in the Bulldogs' 5-0 road win over San Diego State. Colorado State's Holly Reinke tossed a road shutout of her own, allowing seven hits in a 6-0 blanking of San Jose State. Meanwhile, New Mexico and Utah State both picked up home wins in walk-off style over Nevada and UNLV, respectively.
Fresno State 5, San Diego State 0 - In San Diego, the Bulldogs improved to 58-11 all-time against the Aztecs thanks to an outstanding performance from Jill Compton. The junior pitcher handcuffed San Diego State all night, allowing just two singles and striking out four while walking only one. Meanwhile, Fresno State was pounding out 13 hits against San Diego State starter Erica Romero, who entered the week leading the nation in victories with 21. Fresno State snapped SDSU's 10-game conference winning streak, dating back to last season. The Bulldogs had hits in every inning but the second, and got a 4-for-4 outing from junior Alyssa Villalpando, who finished with three RBI. Her seventh inning home run provided the game's final margin, while her 2-out, 2-run single in the first was pivotal in the game as it gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead. Freshman Chase LeeHong went 3-for-3, while Malia Rivers had a pair of hits and an RBI, and Paige Gumz had a hit and the Bulldogs' first RBI of the night in the opening frame. Compton had a perfect game broken up in the fourth on a Sydnee Cable single, and SDSU had two runners reach base in an inning just once. After a walk and single in the sixth, Compton retired the Aztecs' top portion of the lineup (Kayla Jordan, Cable and reigning Mountain West Player of the Week Lorena Bauer) all in succession. Compton is now 3-0 in conference road games this season, including shutouts over both Colorado State and San Diego State. Fresno State moved within a game of first place with the victory that included one sour note for the Bulldogs. Sophomore Kierra Willis, the team's top RBI producer and home run hitter who bats clean-up, left the game in the fifth after a hard slide into second base. She had to be helped off the field with what appeared to be a leg or knee injury, the severity of which is unknown.
Colorado State 6, San Jose State 0 - The Rams, who were swept at home by Fresno State in their opening conference series, won their first game in league play by shutting out the Spartans and pitcher Allison Lang in San Jose. Holly Reinke (9-10) tossed the complete-game shutout, scattering seven hits against the Mountain West's top hitting team entering the series. It was only the second time this year SJSU had been blanked and just the second time the Spartans had been shut out in a conference game since joining the Mountain West prior to the 2014 season. CSU got on the board in the fourth when Shae Rodriguez singled home Haley Hutton, who singled earlier in the frame. In the sixth, the Rams extended the lead as Savannah Clark and Danielle Wikre hit run-scoring singles, and a third run came home on an SJSU error. Rodriguez completed a 3 RBI game with a 2-run double in the seventh for the game's final margin. Reinke worked out of several jams as the Spartans could never come up with a clutch hit against her and stranded 10. Lang (8-7) took the loss and allowed eight hits before giving way to Katelyn Linford in the seventh.
New Mexico 4, Nevada 3 - In Albuquerque, the host Lobos picked up a walk-off win as Mariah Rimmer's 2-out hit scored the game-winning run to beat the Wolf Pack. In the bottom of the seventh, Brandi Heimburg led off the inning with a triple against Nevada pitcher Megan Dortch, who went the distance and suffered the tough-luck loss. After Dortch struck out Michala Erickson and Jasmine Casados to keep Heimburg at third, Rimmer stepped up and stroked a double to left on the second pitch of her at-bat. Nevada out-hit New Mexico 13 to nine, but stranded 10 runners on base and left runners aboard in every inning except the seventh. Jasmine Jenkins and Megan Sweet both had three hits for the Wolf Pack, and both were part of an uprising in the third when the Pack went in front 2-0. New Mexico responded in the bottom half of the inning to tie it. Heimburg, who led the Lobos with three hits in the contest, had a single and scored a run in that inning, which also included a Nevada error. Casados' RBI triple in the fifth gave UNM a short-lived lead before the Pack tied it in the sixth on Jenkins' run-scoring single to center, setting up Rimmer's heroics. New Mexico improved to 5-2 in conference play, but has yet to play a Mountain West team with a winning overall record. Nevada, which was playing its first MW road game, dropped to 1-3 in conference.
Utah State 9, UNLV 8 - In a wild game filled with a lot of offense in the final three innings, the hometown Aggies came out on top against the Rebels in Logan. Utah State seemed to be in control of this one for most of the game as pitcher Noelle Johnson pitched well in the early going and also helped her cause at the plate. Johnson hit a 2-run home run and Nicole Arata added a solo shot during a 4-run bottom of the fifth that enabled the Aggies to take a comfortable 6-0 lead. The lead would be short-lived, however, as UNLV roared back with seven runs in the top of the sixth. The Rebels got three home runs in that sixth inning off the bats of Samantha Juarez (3-run blast) Jamie DePippo (a 2-run shot), and Brooke Stover (a 2-run homer that gave UNLV its first lead). The Rebels would even extend the margin to 8-6 in the top of the seventh before Utah State rallied as Morgan Ettinger was unable to record an out in the final inning. Brina Buttacaoli and Sarah Chow singled before USU's Jolene Koons tied it with a triple. Hailey Froton then singled up the middle to score Koons with the game-winner that sent UNLV tumbling to a 10th loss in its last 11 games. In a game with 27 hits, both starting pitchers went the distance as Ettinger allowed 16 hits and Johnson 11.