Friday, February 12, 2016

Fresno State shocks No. 8 Tennessee, rolls past Indiana


On the opening day of the 2016 season for the defending Mountain West champions, Fresno State made an impressive statement with a marquee victory.

The Bulldogs knocked off 8th-ranked Tennessee 7-3 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe behind the pitching of Hannah Harris and Taylor Langdon, and the bats of Lindsey Willmon and Dominique Jackson.  Earlier in the day, it was Jill Compton shutting out the Big Ten's Indiana Hoosiers as Fresno State completed one of the most impressive opening days of a season in school history.

Jackson, who had an RBI single in her first collegiate at-bat versus Indiana earlier in the day, got the Bulldogs off to a great start with a 3-run home run to left in the second inning against Tennessee.  Willmon, in her Bulldog debut after transferring from Hawai'i, had an exceptional day with five hits and five RBI in seven at-bats. Against the Lady Vols, she went a perfect 4-for-4 with three of the four hits going for extras bases.

Willmon smacked a 2-run homer against Tennessee for her second round-tripper of the day after also going yard against Indiana earlier in the day.  She added a pair of doubles and a single against the Vols to finish with three RBI.  Her 2-run homer in the fourth was part of a 3-run inning that put Fresno State in front 6-1.

Freshman Morgan Howe delivered pinch-hit singles in both Bulldog wins, including an RBI single in that important fourth inning against Tennessee.  Fresno State pounded out 24 hits in the two games.  Langdon got the start and the victory by going 3+ innings and scattering five hits against the Vols, while Harris pitched 4+ frames of impressive relief, limiting Tennessee to just three hits -- all singles.

Compton tossed a strong first game against Indiana, going the first six innings as Fresno State became the first Mountain West team to post a shutout this season.  Compton allowed only three hits, struck out seven, and didn't walk a batter.  Harris tossed the final frame.  At the plate, Willmon and Alyssa Villalpando hit home runs and Paige Gumz had two hits as the Bulldogs had consistent hitting throughout the lineup.  Eight of nine Fresno State starters notched hits in the win over the Hoosiers.

Indiana took it on the chin versus Nevada earlier in the day 5-3.  The Wolf Pack joined Fresno State as the only MW teams to go 2-0 Friday.  Nevada came from two runs down in the bottom of the seventh to nip Bradley 7-6 earlier.  Chase Redington got that victory, while McKenna Isenberg picked up the win over IU.

San Diego State went 1-1, pounding the overmatched Golden Griffins of Canisius (Buffalo, NY) 14-2 in five innings.  Later, SDSU fell to Cal State Fullerton 8-4.

New Mexico won its opener 2-1 over the USD Toreros.  Earlier in the day, it was USD winning by the same score over Boise State.  The Broncos lost twice Friday to fall to 0-4 on the season.  Maryland defeated the Broncos 9-4 earlier in the day.  Also falling to 0-4 on the year was San Jose State.  The Spartans couldn't hold a 3-0 lead in a 4-3 loss to Boston College and then tried to rally late but it wasn't enough in a 14-10 slugfest to Oregon State.

Colorado State was shut out at the Texas A&M Invitational 3-0 by Wichita State in its season opener Friday, but the Rams broke out to a 3-0 lead in their later game vs. 7th-ranked UCLA.  The Bruins scored six of the next eight runs in the contest and UCLA ended up prevailing 6-5.

Utah State fell to defending Big West champion Cal State Northridge in the Aggies' only game of the day. And in late-night action in Las Vegas, the Rebels didn't start their game until after 10 p.m. local time. But UNLV picked up its first win, defeating the Cardinals of Lamar 3-2.