Sunday, April 10, 2016

Fresno State run-rules, sweeps New Mexico for 19th straight MW win

There apparently is no stopping the Fresno State offense.  And no one has been able to solve a resurgent Jill Compton either.

Compton tossed a complete-game 3-hitter to improve her record to 16-4 overall and 7-0 in conference play, and the 23rd-ranked Bulldogs pounded out 14 hits in an 11-1 (five innings) romp to complete a 3-game sweep of New Mexico in Albuquerque Sunday.  Fresno State is now 9-0 in Mountain West games and holds a 2-game lead over second-place San Jose State in the standings.  UNM fell six games behind the league-leading Bulldogs in the loss column.

A week after becoming the first Mountain West team to sweep a 3-game series from San Diego State in 11 years, the Bulldogs became the first team in the conference to sweep New Mexico in Albuquerque since 2013.  Fresno State ran its record-setting win streak to 19 straight conference wins and six consecutive 3-game sweeps dating back to last season.

The Bulldogs, batting .444 as a team in conference play, have scored 100 runs in nine Mountain West games this season, reaching double-figures in hits in all nine contests.  Fresno State had 14 hits in just five innings Sunday against three New Mexico pitchers and no Bulldog player struck out in the game.  Six different Fresno State players hit over .400 in the series.

Bulldog leadoff hitter Bria Kennedy set the tone for this one by launching the third pitch of the game out of the park for a quick 1-0 lead.  It was Kennedy's seventh home run of the season.  Three consecutive hits followed, with Lindsey Willmon's 2-run single making it 3-0 before most fans had even settled into their seats.

UNM starting pitcher Krissy Fortner (3-3) lasted just two-thirds of an inning, allowing three runs on five hits, and was replaced in the first inning by freshman Colette Robert, who started and took the loss Saturday.  Fresno State's heavy bats would force Robert from the game by the top of the third when the lead grew to 8-0.  The Bulldogs had seven hits and scored five runs (all earned) against Robert in just 1 2/3 innings.

Kennedy went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored, while catcher Paige Gumz capped an impressive series with a 2-run home run in the top of the fifth to push the Bulldogs' lead to 10 runs.  Gumz was 7-for-11 in the series, adding a pair of hits,  two RBI, and scoring three runs Sunday.  Joining Gumz with a 7-for-11 series was Willmon, who had a pair of hits and two RBI, while scoring two runs Sunday.

Junior Kierra Willis added two hits, two RBI and scored two runs, while freshman Morgan Howe had the first 3-hit game of her career for the Bulldogs.  Freshman Dominique Jackson, who blasted what amounted to the game-winning home run Saturday, came to the plate in another pinch-hitting role with the bases loaded Sunday.  UNM wanted nothing to do with her bat this time, and Jackson walked to force in a run and grab an RBI.

Compton was extremely effective and efficient in the circle, needing only 75 pitches in the complete-game win and allowing only two New Mexico base runners to move into scoring position.  Over the final two games of the series, UNM had a total of just one extra-base hit.  The Lobos were held to just three hits for the second straight game, and they were outscored 28-8 in the series on their home field.

Fresno State holds a commanding 37-6 lead in the 43-game, all-time series between the schools.

San Jose St. 15, Utah State 3 - In Logan, the Spartans blew open a 1-run game late for the second time in three days to win the series two games to one.  This was a 4-3 game in the sixth before San Jose State put on a clinic and the Aggies found it nearly impossible to get out of an inning.  SJSU scored nine runs in the seventh inning and Utah State starting pitcher Noelle Johnson allowed 13 hits and 12 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings.  The Spartans hit four home runs, including two by Jessie Hufstetler and a grand slam by Brittany Abacherli.  Despite the lopsided score, hits were relatively even as USU had 10 compared to SJSU's 14.  Katelyn Linford allowed eight hits and three runs in 4 1/3 to move her record to 4-8 on the season.

Boise State 8, UNLV 1 - In Boise, the Broncos captured their second straight conference series, while sending the reeling Rebels to their eighth loss in nine games.  Boise State, which was 8-26 overall less than two weeks ago, is 4-8 in conference play and tied in the league standings with a San Diego State team that has reached eight straight NCAA tournaments.  UNLV dropped into sole possession of last place in the Mountain West standings.  Nicole Wilson picked up the win by scattering seven UNLV hits, and Teauna Hughes hit two home runs to lead the Broncos.