Wednesday, March 30, 2016

No. 25 Fresno State has won 13 straight MW games after 18-2 rout


25th-ranked Fresno State ran its Mountain West winning streak to 13 straight Wednesday afternoon with another blistering day of offense in Boise.

The Bulldogs routed host Boise State 18-2 (five innings) in a third-straight, run-rule win over the Broncos on the road.  For the 3-game series, Fresno State hit 8 home runs and put up an astonishing 49 runs, setting a new Mountain West- and school-record for runs in a series.  It marked the first time Boise State had ever been run-ruled in three straight games at Dona Larsen Park in Boise.

When combined with last year's conference championship squad that won 10 straight league games to wrap up the 2015 season, Coach Trisha Ford's team has now won 13 Mountain West games in a row.  Perhaps even more impressive, Fresno State has reached double-figures in runs in seven consecutive league contests.

The offensive fireworks and superlatives were stunning, especially against a Boise State team that held leads last weekend heading to the final at-bats of two different games at Nevada.  And this was a Broncos team that had run-ruled Stanford and won in Lubbock against Texas Tech just two weeks ago.

But Boise State was no match for the Bulldogs this week.  Consider this:  for the second straight day, Fresno State set a new season-high runs total and finished with 49 runs in three games.  The 'Dogs scored 17 runs in the series opener Tuesday, followed it up with 14 in yesterday's nightcap and then pushed 18 across Wednesday.  Also for the second straight day, the Bulldogs got a first inning grand slam from a player who finished the day with nine RBI.

In its long and storied history, Fresno State had never had two different players have 9 RBI days back to back.  After Alyssa Villalpando did it in Tuesday's doubleheader sweep, it was junior Lindsey Willmon's turn Wednesday.  Willmon launched a grand slam deep over the wall in center field to give the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead in the first inning and they never looked back.  Willmon later added a 2-run double and a second home run, this time a 3-run blast, to finish with 9 RBI, a career high and new, single-game, school and Mountain West record.

Bria Kennedy homered for the second day in a row, sophomore Claire Stucker had her first career hit (a pinch-hit double), and the Bulldogs put together a pair of 7-run innings.  How lopsided did it get?  Kennedy already had made three plate appearances by the time the second inning rolled around.

This was more than enough for Jill Compton, who eased to her second complete-game win in as many Mountain West starts.  The reigning Pitcher of the Year, despite missing more than two weeks of playing action due to injury, moved into a tie for the league lead in victories with 11.  Compton did not walk a batter in either of her complete-game outings in Boise.

Along with Willmon's nine RBI, Kennedy finished with three RBI, freshman Dominique Jackson had a pair of RBI, second baseman Malia Rivers had two hits and scored three runs, and Whitney Smith added a pair of hits.  Ford substituted liberally as 15 Bulldogs saw action in the five innings.  Boise State used five different pitchers in an attempt to derail the Fresno State offense.  Starting pitcher Jenna Bassler fell to 1-9 with the loss.

Of the first six completed series of the season in the Mountain West, five were won by the home team.  Fresno State is the lone team to win a conference road series thus far, and obviously the only one to sweep one as well.

San Diego St. 1, Nevada 0 - In San Diego, the Aztecs prevailed over the Wolf Pack thanks to a complete-game outing from pitcher Alex Formby, who scattered five hits.  Nevada left runners at second and third base in the seventh inning when Formby struck out pinch hitter Amanda Weis.  Brooke Bolinger took the loss.

San Jose St. 6, UNLV 3 - In San Jose, the Spartans (14-17 overall) won to complete a 3-game sweep of the Rebels.