Friday, April 8, 2016

Fresno State pounds out 17 hits en route to a 17th straight conference win


Red-hot Fresno State just won't stop.  The Bulldogs, ranked 20th, 23rd and 25th in the nation in the major polls this week, continued to pound the ball in an 11-5 win over New Mexico Friday night in Albuquerque.  In the process, coach Trisha Ford's squad ran its league-record softball winning streak to 17 straight Mountain West wins.

Fresno State got another monster effort from Alyssa Villalpando, who had the first 5-for-5 game of her career and finished with five RBI.  Villalpando hit a 2-run home run in the top of the first inning as the Bulldogs went on top 2-0 and never trailed.  She added a 2-run single in the second, an RBI single in the fourth, and singles in both the sixth and seventh innings as well.  It was part of Fresno State's season-high 17-hit attack.

The Bulldogs' potent offense, which entered the series batting a Mountain West-best .445 in conference play, was practically unstoppable against three New Mexico pitchers.  Lauren Soles went the first 1 2/3 innings and took the loss, allowing four runs on five hits and falling to 3-6 on the season.  Tess McPherson went 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits, and Krissy Fortner pitched the final two innings, allowing five hits and an earned run.

Jill Compton (15-4) went the distance for Fresno State, moving to a Mountain West-best 6-0 record in conference play and leading the league with 15 wins overall.  Compton, in five starts in MW play, now has five complete game wins as well as a win in relief.  She allowed six hits Friday and struck out seven.  Two of UNM's runs were unearned as the Bulldogs committed an uncharacteristic, season-high four errors,

In four road games in league play, Fresno State has now scored 60 runs on 62 hits.  The 17 straight Mountain West wins is an ongoing record, and the Bulldogs' 7-0 start in conference play is their best in 12 years since their days in the WAC.  Additionally, the 83 runs the Bulldogs have scored in their last seven games are the most during any 7-game stretch in program history.

Paige Gumz matched a career-high with four hits Friday for Fresno State, which received multiple-hit games from Kierra Willis (2-for-3), Lindsey Willmon (2-for-3) and Whitney Smith (2-for-2) as well.  Gumz had two RBI, and Willmon had one, while pinch-hitters Morgan Howe and Victoria Trevino also delivered RBI as Ford let 17 Bulldog players see action.

UNM got a home run from Michala Erickson, while Shelbie Franc's two hits led the Lobos.

San Diego St. 3-4, Colorado St. 2-6 - In San Diego, a Rams error in the bottom of the seventh inning allowed the Aztecs to score the game-wining run and snap a 3-game losing streak in the opener.  In the nightcap, San Diego State was three outs from a doubleheader sweep, but Colorado State rallied for three in the top of the seventh to erase a 4-3 deficit and hang on for the win.  CSU got a 2-run, pinch-hit single from Lauren Buchanan in the decisive seventh.  Erica Romero was the pitcher of record in both contests for the Aztecs.  With just 13 league games remaining, San Diego State fell to seventh place in the Mountain West standings, seven games behind conference leader Fresno State in the loss column (and, technically, eight games behind since the Bulldogs hold the tiebreaker).

Boise State 10, UNLV 0 (5 innings) - In Boise, the Broncos picked up a run-rule win over the faltering Rebels, who have lost seven straight conference games and fallen to last place.  Boise State has won three of four since an 0-6 start in Mountain West action.

San Jose St. 9, Utah State 3 - In Logan, the Spartans blew open a tight game in the seventh by scoring six runs on their way to a rout.  SJSU won its third game in a row.

Nevada 4-4-2, Niagara 3-3-0 - In Reno, the Wolf Pack swept a rare non-conference tripleheader in games that were closer than many predicted.  While Nevada's schedule has been much maligned this season, this one takes the cake:  Niagara has won just two of its 24 games this season and is No. 284 of 295 teams in the latest RPI ratings.