Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekend update for March 11-13

El Nino arrived in a big way on the west coast, washing out games -- as expected -- for No. 22/24 Fresno State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Boise State and Nevada.  In all, 13 games for Mountain West teams were rained out from Friday through Sunday.  Four MW teams (Colorado State, Nevada, San Jose State and New Mexico) did not play a game this weekend.

No. 22/24 Fresno State - For the Bulldogs, their own Fresno State Classic was almost completely wiped out by bad weather.  Rain washed out three of the Bulldogs' five games, as Fresno State was only able to play Saturday.  The Bulldogs picked up their impressive ninth win of the season already over a team that made the 2015 NCAA Tournament, as Hannah Harris pitched a complete-game shutout in a 2-0 win over defending Big Sky champion Weber State.  The Wildcats are 13-8 overall, and had their 3-game winning streak snapped by the Bulldogs. With reigning Mountain West Pitcher of the Year Jill Compton unable to go after an injury suffered in the previous week's win over the Cal Bears, Trisha Ford decided to start pitcher Taylor Langdon in a game versus No. 7/8 Washington on Saturday night.  Langdon was ineffective, failing to record an out in the game as Fresno State trailed 5-0 in the top of the first inning.  Freshman pitcher Kamalani Dung entered and was outstanding, holding the powerful Washington bats scoreless until the sixth inning. Meanwhile, Fresno State was pounding Huskies pitching for eight hits, including a 2-run home run by Paige Gumz, that cut UW's lead to 5-3.  It remained that way until the sixth when Washington added a run.  Fresno State brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, but was unable to score, and UW broke the game open with six runs in the seventh inning for a deceiving 12-3 final.  Washington, which had shut out San Diego State earlier in the day, is 19-3 overall.

San Diego State - The Aztecs' trip to the Fresno State Classic didn't go as expected, as San Diego State lost two of its three games, and had two more rained out.  The lone win for the Aztecs was their first game of the weekend -- a 2-1 decision over a Cal State Bakersfield team that is struggling at 4-13 overall, having lost 12 of its past 13 games and six in a row.  SDSU was held to three hits in the game by a pair of Bakersfield hurlers, who needed just 82 total pitches in the game.  The Aztecs turned a pair of double plays, and Alex Formby went the first five innings, allowing five hits.  In a game against No. 7/8 Washington on Saturday, San Diego State was run-ruled 8-0 in five innings, and, for the second game in a row in the Classic, was held to three hits.  Washington pitcher Madi Schreyer tossed just 63 pitches in the complete-game shutout, and Erica Romero started and went 2 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and four runs.  In SDSU's final game of the weekend, the Aztecs lost 5-4 to Weber State, a team that Fresno State shut out in the same tourney.  Romero entered in relief against Weber State and was unable to hold a 4-2 lead in the seventh.  The Wildcats, with two outs and no one on base in the seventh, hit a pair of singles off Romero, before blasting a 3-run home run for the walk-off win.

UNLV - The Rebels, who have played 19 of their first 24 games on their home field at Eller Media Stadium in Las Vegas, went 4-0 in their fourth home tournament of the season.  UNLV beat up on lowly Santa Clara 20-1 (five innings) and Valparaiso 8-5.  The Broncos and Crusaders are a combined 8-34 overall this season.  With UNLV entering the week with an NCAA strength of schedule of 266 of 294 teams, that's not going to help.  The Rebels picked up an 11-6 win over a DePaul team that is 6-14 overall, but their best win of the weekend was a 3-0 shutout of Wisconsin.  In the win over the Badgers, Kwyn Cooper tossed a complete-game 3-hitter to move her record to 6-5 on the season.  Wisconsin (12-11) has now faced UNLV three times this season and the Rebels won two of those three.

Utah State - Also at the UNLV tournament this weekend, the Aggies went 3-2.  Utah State played Santa Clara for the third time in a week's span, and defeated the Broncos 8-3.  Santa Clara (5-19 overall) has lost 10 of its past 11 games.  A 5-2 Sunday win over Wisconsin, propelled by a complete-game six-hitter from pitcher Noelle Johnson, was Utah State's best victory of the season, while an 18-4 run-rule rout of Valparaiso in five innings added to the Crusaders' struggles.  Valpo lost its first 11 games of the season and has lost 15 of 18.  Utah State's two losses in Las Vegas came to DePaul by 8-3 and 8-6 scores.  Once a national power, DePaul has struggled this season.  In the Blue Demons' last 15 games, their only wins have come over Utah State, Santa Clara and La.-Monroe.

Boise State - The Broncos' home opening weekend saw a pair of games washed out by weather on Sunday, though Boise State was able to play Friday and Saturday.  The Broncos may have wished their opener had been rained out too, as Idaho State rolled to an 11-0 (five innings) win.  Boise State was able to bounce back behind the pitching of Jenna Bassler in a re-match with Idaho State that followed, however.  Bassler improved to 1-7, allowing five hits and four earned runs in a 6-4 win.  The following day, Makenzie Sullivan hit a walk-off, 2-run home run as Boise State knocked off Montana 6-5.  The Grizzlies are 7-13 overall, while Idaho State is now 9-13.