Saturday, April 16, 2016

Make it 21 straight league wins for streaking, 23rd-ranked Fresno State

Saturday evening in front of a crowd of 1,410 fans at Margie Wright Diamond, No. 23 Fresno State continued to do what it has done a lot of this season:  Win!

The Bulldogs have strung together an amazing 21 straight Mountain West victories spanning two seasons and are off to a blazing 11-0 start in conference play after Saturday's 3-2 win over Utah State.

No. 23 Fresno State 3, Utah State 2 - In Fresno, the Bulldogs got a strong pitching effort from Jill Compton and some clutch hitting from Alyssa Villalpando to power past the Aggies.  Compton improved to a perfect 8-0 in Mountain West play this season and picked up her league-leading 17th win overall with a complete-game 6-hitter.  For the second night in a row, the Bulldogs came out of the gate a bit slow, allowing Utah State to take a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, aided by some strange plays once again.  Paxton Provost hit a very high chopper just in front of home plate and by the time catcher Paige Gumz could corral the ball, Amanda Sheets (who'd walked earlier) scampered home for the game's first run.  A Bulldog error followed, putting Utah State up by a pair of runs moments after the game began.  The Aggies would not score again in the game.  Fresno State responded quickly, cutting the margin to 2-1 in the bottom of the first.  Bria Kennedy (who had an excellent outfield assist, throwing out a USU runner at the plate in the second) was hit by a pitch from Utah State starter Alleyah Armendariz to start the bottom of the first, and Malia Rivers followed with a single.  A groundout by Villalpando got the Bulldogs on the board and cut the Aggies' lead in half in the first.  Both pitchers settled down after that opening frame, but Fresno State took the lead for good in the fifth after wasting a few earlier chances.  Whitney Smith walked to lead off the frame and moved to third on a 2-out single by Kierra Willis.  Villalpando stepped up and hit a double just inside the line in right field, plating both Smith and Willis and giving the Bulldogs the lead.  Paige Gumz would follow with a single but was stranded.  Armendariz had a fine outing, keeping the high-powered Bulldogs' offense at bay for the most part and scattering eight hits in six innings.  Compton, however, was a little better in moving into a tie for 8th place all-time in Fresno State history in wins.  Her 80 career victories ties her with Maureen Brady, who led the Bulldogs to the 1994 Women's College World Series and earned All-American honors that season.  Maureen Brady is the sister of legendary New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.  Villalpando, who entered Saturday leading the league in RBI, now has 42 on the season.  Fresno State won its 10th straight Mountain West series and goes for its seventh straight series sweep tomorrow.  The Bulldogs are 11-0 in conference play and 29-9-1 overall, having won 11 straight games and 13 of 14 overall.  Utah State fell to 5-6 in Mountain West action this season and has lost back-to-back series.

San Jose St. 9, San Diego St. 2 - In San Jose, the Aztecs and host Spartans were locked in a tight, 1-run game in the sixth inning before San Jose State pushed six runs across -- all with two outs -- to turn a close game into a laugher.  Jessica Madrid, with two outs and the bases loaded in a 3-2 game in the sixth, smacked a double to clear the bases, and the rout was on.  She finished with three RBI.  Taylor Purdy had three hits (including a solo home run) and three RBI for San Jose State, which tied the series at 1-1.  Alex Formby, who entered in the second in place of starter Ashley Ercolano, took the loss, allowing six earned runs in 4 1/3.  Katelyn Linford went the first six innings to grab the win for SJSU, scattering three hits that included a Jenavee Peres home run.  The Spartans are 8-3 in league play and a game under .500 at 19-20 overall.  For the Aztecs (5-9, 23-19), there is no longer a margin for error.  With 10 games remaining for coach Kathy Van Wyk's team in conference play, SDSU is nine games behind league-leading Fresno State in the loss column.

UNLV 5, Nevada 3 - In Las Vegas, the host Rebels won for just the second time in their past 11 games, taking advantage of four Wolf Pack errors.  Morgan Ettinger went the distance, scattering nine hits, to earn the victory.  She was in control until a scary top of the seventh when Nevada scored two runs with two outs and put the potential tying run on base.  Megan Sweet's 2-run double brought the Pack within a pair of runs in the seventh.  On her birthday, Garie Blando led UNLV with three hits,  while also stealing three bases and making some key defensive plays as well.  The Rebels stole six bases in the game.  McKenna Isenberg went the distance for Nevada, allowing eight hits in the loss.  Nevada dropped to 7-4 in Mountain West play and 29-9 overall, and the series is now tied at a game apiece.  UNLV remains in last place in the conference standings at 4-10, and the Rebels are 20-23 overall.

New Mexico at Colorado State (postponed) - The game between the Rams and Lobos in Fort Collins was postponed by weather and is slated to be made up Sunday.