Friday, April 22, 2016

No. 20 Fresno State ties best MW start ever with 23rd straight league win


No. 20 Fresno State tied the best start to a conference season in Mountain West history Friday night with a 9-6 win over Colorado State.  The Bulldogs' 14th straight win moved them to 13-0 in conference play, tying the 2006 San Diego State team, which also started 13-0 on its way to a Mountain West title.  It added to Fresno State's record-breaking conference winning streak as well.  The Bulldogs have won 23 straight Mountain West games dating back to last season.

No. 20 Fresno State 9, Colorado State 6 - In Fresno, the Bulldogs pounded out 11 hits, including six for extra bases and defeated the Rams for their 14th win in a row and 23rd straight Mountain West victory.  Kierra Willis staked the Bulldogs to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with a deep home run over the fence in left.  It came on a night she would finish 2-for-3 with a home run, double, and four RBI, and just 48 hours after she had a 3-hit game in a Bulldog road win at Pacific.  Bria Kennedy also went deep with her eighth home run of the season -- a new career high.  With 45 home runs on the year, Fresno State is now just six away from the single-season school record of 51, set in 2010.  Entering the day leading the Mountain West in RBI, Alyssa Villalpando added her 45th, with a pair of hits, including a double.  The Bulldogs would hit for the cycle as a team in the bottom of the third to score four runs and break the game open.  Heading to the top of the fifth, it was an 8-2 Fresno State lead, before Colorado State rallied to make it interesting.  Jill Compton, who crossed the 100 strikeout barrier for the season by striking out eight, had a bit of trouble with walks, dishing out six.  Three walks in the top of the sixth inning allowed the Rams their biggest inning of the game, scoring three runs to make it a 8-6 game.  Savannah Clark and Jaelyn Manzanares delivered RBI singles that inning and a sacrifice fly scored another.  Fresno State would add an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth as an RBI single by Paige Gumz scored Willis, who walked.  Compton scattered nine hits in the game that was delayed an hour because of late afternoon rain.  She was able to escape several jams as CSU twice had the bases loaded with no outs, but never led in the contest.  Malia Rivers had a pair of hits, including her first triple of the season, for the Bulldogs, and scored three runs.  Lindsey Willmon and Dominique Jackson both added RBI, with Jackson lacing a double to the wall.  Fresno State maintained a 4-game lead over second-place San Jose State in the conference standings, while Nevada fell five games off the pace with 11 to play.  The Rams, meanwhile, fell to 4-8 and 18-20.  CSU pitcher Holly Reinke went the distance and took the loss, allowing all 11 hits.

San Jose St. 11, Nevada 1 - In Reno, the Wolf Pack's problems on defense continued as San Jose State rallied to score the game's final 11 runs in a rout.  Nevada led this one 1-0 in the fifth inning in what appeared to be a pitcher's duel between the Pack's Brooke Bolinger and the Spartans' Katelyn Linford.  Nevada imploded from that point, committing five errors over the final three innings, giving them a combined 12 errors in their past two games.  The Pack entered the day last in the Mountain West in fielding percentage in conference games at .932.  In addition to the five Wolf Pack errors Friday, the final three innings also included four walks by Nevada pitchers, a pair of wild pitches and a passed ball, as San Jose State scored three runs in the fifth to take the lead, and added five runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh.  Linford moved her record to 6-8 overall (4-2 in MW play) by throwing a complete-game 4-hitter.  Bolinger allowed eight runs (six earned) on eight hits, and walked five, falling to 5-3 in conference play with the loss.  Jessie Hufstetler had a pair of singles and three RBI to lead SJSU.  The Spartans got an RBI triple (one of three hits on the day) from Brittany Abacherli.  San Jose State took over sole possession of second place in the conference, four games behind league-leading Fresno State in the loss column pending Friday's late game.  Nevada fell to third, five games behind the Bulldogs with 11 left to play.

Utah State 7, Boise State 6 - In Logan, the Aggies held off the Broncos in game one of a doubleheader.  Alleyah Armendariz picked up her first win of the season, tossing 6 2/3 innings before Katie Schroeder came on to earn the save.  Armendariz scattered seven hits and helped her own cause during a productive fifth inning when Utah State rallied to take the lead.  An RBI single by Armendariz came just before Libby Pederson delivered the game's decisive hit with a 3-run home run to center.  Boise State scored a pair in the top of the seventh to make it a 1-run game before Schroeder closed it out.  Kayla Clausen and Teauna Hughes had two RBI apiece for the Broncos.

Utah State 16, Boise State 2 - In game two of the doubleheader in Logan, the Broncos took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning before disaster struck and the host Aggies won going away.  This one was all about the long ball as USU hit four home runs, including two by Victoria Saucedo.  Armendariz added one of her own as part of a 7-run bottom of the fourth.  In that fourth inning, Boise State was unable to record an out until the ninth batter of the inning came to the plate.  Armendariz finished with five RBI, and Saucedo four.  Sarina Jaramillo had a home run and two RBI, while Noelle Johnson picked up the win by scattering six hits.  Boise State starter Mackenize McGill allowed nine runs (all earned) in just an inning and one-third.  The Broncos, who used three pitchers, fell to 4-10 in conference play and 12-30 overall.  The Aggies, who were swept by Fresno State last weekend, evened their Mountain West record at 7-7, and moved to 21-20 on the season.

UNLV 13, New Mexico 12 - In Albuquerque, it was a wild one that went back and forth before the visiting Rebels picked up just their fifth win away from Las Vegas all season.  New Mexico built a 5-2 lead before UNLV scored six runs in the top of the fifth to take a lead.  UNM rallied to regain a 9-8 edge in the bottom of the sixth, only to see the Rebels respond with five in the top of the seventh for a 4-run lead.  UNLV would have to hang on as New Mexico answered with three in the bottom of the seventh before falling.  Pitching was a bit of a nightmare for both sides as runners were on base for both teams all game long.  In fact, the two teams combined for 50 at-bats with runners on base and 30 different plate appearances with runners in scoring position.  The Lobos were just 3-of-15 with runners in scoring position, and that was the difference.  After Karissa Haleman doubled for New Mexico to make it a 13-12 game in the bottom of the seventh, she was stranded at second base as the game ended on a groundout.  Morgan Ettinger picked up the win for UNLV, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing 12 hits and eight runs (five earned).  Both teams committed three errors.  UNM's Colette Robert took the loss, giving up eight runs (six earned) in 4 1/3 innings.  Francesca Foti had two home runs and four RBI for UNLV, while Jamie DePippo had three hits and four RBI.  Mariah Rimmer and Chelsea Johnson hit homers for the Lobos.