Friday, May 1, 2015

Nevada stuns suddenly slumping Spartans 6-5

The first game of the day Friday turned out to be one of the most shocking upsets of the Mountain West softball season.  (Check back for updates).

The Nevada Wolf Pack, who'd lost four consecutive games and 10 of their last 12 entering Friday, pulled off a stunning 6-5 win at San Jose State, sending the Spartans to another frustrating loss.  In the process, idle Fresno State inched closer to the Mountain West title, pushing its conference lead to two games in the loss column over both SJSU and San Diego State, with the Bulldogs having just three MW games left.

Nevada 6, San Jose St. 5 - The Spartans committed a season-high six errors and Nevada pulled off its biggest win of the season in San Jose. For coach Peter Turner's Spartans, it was a third straight loss as San Jose State fell three games off the pace in the race for a Mountain West title.  Nevada won on a Friday series opener in conference play for the first time this season and had 13 hits after managing just nine during last week's entire 3-game series at Fresno State.  SJSU took a 1-0 lead before the Pack tied it on a Megan Sweet home run in the 2nd.  Sweet, who had two RBI, was one of three Wolf Pack players with three hits in the game, joining Karley Hopkins and Molly McWilliams.  Nevada led 5-2 in the fifth after the Spartans committed their fifth and sixth errors of the game with two outs in the frame.  SJSU, after scoring a run in the fifth, tied it in the sixth on a Jessica Madrid RBI single and Jessie Hufstetler triple.  Hopkins' RBI single with two outs in the top of the seventh on a sharp comebacker to reliever Madison Fish plated the game-winner and set up a tense bottom of the seventh.  Freshman Chase Redington, who picked up the win despite pitching just 1/3 of an inning and recording the final out of the sixth inning, gave up a leadoff single and walk to begin the seventh.  Megan Dortch was then called on in relief as the third Pack pitcher of the afternoon.  Dortch immediately induced a groundout and recorded out number one on an interference call on the Spartans' base runner. A walk loaded the bases before Dortch made a nice scoop play on a comebacker to get a force out at home and maintain the 1-run lead.  Then, with the bases still loaded and two outs, Dortch struck out SJSU's leading hitter, Michelle Cox, on a strike three looking to finish it off.  Both starting pitchers (McKenna Isenberg for Nevada and Allison Lang for San Jose State) gave up 12 hits in the game, and neither was around at the end.  Hufstetler led the Spartans at the plate with three hits.  SJSU's 3-game losing streak is its longest of the season.

San Diego St. 9, Utah State 3 - The Aztecs struck for some early runs to take a big lead, and the struggling Aggies dropped their ninth game in a row.  Utah State got a ray of hope in this one as Noelle Johnson returned to the lineup for the first time since April 18 and made the pitching start, but the Aztecs pushed three runs across in the second and were never really threatened.  San Diego State had 13 hits, including five for extra bases.  Lorena Bauer hit her league-leading 17th home run of the year, a solo shot, and finished with three hits.  Jenavee Peres had a pair of doubles among her three hits and added two RBI.  Erica Romero started and went the distance again, and has now pitched in 49 of San Diego State's 51 games this season.  In addition to pitching, Johnson had a pair of doubles to lead Utah State at the plate.  Hailey Froton added two hits for an Aggies team dealing with major injury issues.  Utah State again played minus sophomore Victoria Saucedo, the 2014 Mountain West Freshman of the Year, and Sarah Chow, the team's leading hitter with a .413 average, a mark that ranks fifth-best in the conference.

Colorado State 3, UNLV 0 -
Freshman hurler Trinity Harrington threw a complete-game 4-hitter and led the Rams to just their second home win of the season in conference play.  Colorado State scored single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings against UNLV starting pitcher Janine Petmecky, who allowed eight hits and took the loss.  Haley Hutton's RBI single in the third got the Rams on the board and marked one of two hits for Hutton in the game.  It was Taylor Hutton's turn an inning later as her RBI double made it a 2-0 lead after Savannah Clark led off the inning with a double of her own.  A bunt single was CSU's lone hit of the fifth, but some wildness from Petmecky (two walks, including one to Danielle Wikre with the bases loaded, and a hit by pitch) allowed a third run.  A pinch-hit double by Merina Ili with one out in the seventh was the lone extra-base hit for the Rebels against Harrington, who now has four shutouts and five wins on the season.  During a stretch between the second and sixth innings, Harrington retired 10 Rebels batters in a row.

New Mexico 7, Boise State 6 - The Lobos scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to send the Broncos to another crushing loss in a season full of them.  It was the 11th one-run loss of the season for the Broncos.  For New Mexico, it was the exact opposite and continued a trend of winning close games.  Coach Erica Beach's squad has won 26 games this season, 11 of which have either been by one run or in extra innings.  After Boise State took advantage of a 2-out infield error by New Mexico to score three unearned runs in the sixth and take a 6-4 lead, the Lobos rallied in the seventh.  Broncos pitcher Nicole Wilson, who allowed seven hits to that point and was in line for the win, hit Michala Erickson on the first pitch of the seventh inning and was immediately pulled.  Freshman Rachel Rodriguez entered in place of Wilson and ran into trouble quickly.  A Brandi Heimburg single and Shelby Franc bunt loaded the bases with no outs.  Jasmine Casados then singled to plate a run and Boise State committed an error to bring home another run to tie it.  Following a strikeout, freshman Chelsea Johnson hit a sacrifice fly to center and it was over.  Johnson's three RBI led the Lobos.  Krissy Fortner picked up the win in relief, while Rodriguez took the loss.  Heimburg and Casados had three hits each, and Boise State got a 2-hit, 2-RBI outing from Lindsey Nicholson.