Sunday, February 14, 2016

Fresno State caps perfect 5-0 weekend with a 2nd Top 25 win


Down went the Big Ten.  Down went the SEC.  Down went the ACC.  And Sunday, down went the Pac-12 too.  All four of those power conferences saw their teams fall to a Fresno State team that appears poised to jump into the national Top 25 polls when rankings are released Tuesday morning.

Fresno State completed one of the best season-opening weekends in the vaunted history of the school's softball program.  Given the storied tradition of Fresno State softball, that's saying a lot.  Coach Trisha Ford's team went a perfect 5-0, including wins over No. 8-ranked Tennessee on Friday and No. 23 Utah today.

Jill Compton wrapped up a sure-fire Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honor with another outstanding performance Sunday against the Utes.  For the weekend, Compton threw 21 innings, went 3-0, picked up a one-inning save, and allowed only a single run.  Considering that she pitched 20 of those 21 innings against teams from power conferences, the feat is all that more impressive

Compton had to be at her best Sunday when Utah sent its ace -- first-team All-Pac-12 pitcher Katie Donovan to the circle.  And the game proved to be what most expected:  a tough pitcher's duel.  Each team threatened, but it was the Bulldogs who finally broke through in the fifth inning.

Lindsey Willmon, who had a stellar debut this weekend in a Bulldog uniform with a .476 average, led off the frame with a single, and freshman Dominique Jackson (.429 weekend average) walked. Willmon would plate the first run of the game on a perfectly-executed bunt by Whitney Smith.  Malia Rivers followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0 and that's all Compton would need.

Donovan took the loss for the Utes.  Compton finished the weekend with a sterling 0.33 ERA.  Utah fell to 2-2, with its other loss coming in extra innings to nationally-ranked Notre Dame.  The Utes were coming off a pair of wins Saturday in which they outscored their opponents 17-0 in two run-rule victories.

UNLV 11, Utah Valley 1 (5 innings) - At the Sportco Classic in Las Vegas, the host Rebels won their third straight game after an opening day defeat on Thursday.  Emily Haslinger's home run highlighted a 9-run bottom of the third inning when UNLV snapped a 1-all tie.  Alyssa Cordova and Jamie DePippo had two hits each and Kwyn Cooper earned the win in relief.  UNLV improved to 3-1, while UVU dropped to 1-4.

San Diego St. 2, Texas-San Antonio 0 - The Aztecs got some revenge for an earlier loss to the Roadrunners this weekend as Erica Romero and Julie McDonald combined on a 4-hit shutout.  SDSU improved to 3-2, while UTSA fell to 2-3.  A hit-by-pitch in the third inning scored the eventual game-winning run as the Aztecs went in front.

Utah State 5, Maryland 0 - The Aggies picked up their second win of the weekend thanks to the pitching of Noelle Johnson, who struck out nine and didn't walk a batter in the complete-game effort.  USU is 2-4, while the Terps are 2-3.

Nevada 2, East Carolina 1 - Freshman Brooke Bolinger scattered seven hits to pick up her first career win, and Amanda Weis hit a home run in a win over the Pirates.  The Pack moved to 3-2 on the season, while ECU is now also 3-2.

UCLA 8, Colorado State 3 - The Rams fell to 0-5 on the weekend but hung tough for awhile against the 7th-ranked Bruins in College Station at the Texas A&M tournament.  Three of CSU's five losses came to Top 25-ranked teams.  UCLA improved to 4-1.

Oregon State 11, New Mexico 1 (5 innings) and Kentucky 15, New Mexico 6 (5 innings) - The Lobos had pitching difficulties in both games and dropped a pair of games Sunday in Tempe.  The Beavers got on top early and never looked back in game one, while the ranked Wildcats stormed in front 8-0 before the Lobos cut the deficit to three before it ballooned again.  Karissa Haleman hit home runs in both games to highlight UNM's effort.  The Lobos are 2-3, while Oregon State is now 4-2 and Kentucky is 3-1.