Saturday, May 7, 2016

Saturday around the world of Mountain West softball

For the second straight day, No. 18 Fresno State and Nevada were rained out in Reno.  The teams will try to play two games Sunday, beginning at noon.  For the Bulldogs, their highlight of the day came in the morning when television announcers Michele Smith and Beth Mowins mentioned the Mountain West champions several times during a live ESPN broadcast.

The duo noted that Fresno State was one of the schools surging into the conversation to host an NCAA softball regional this season.  Mowins said, "That would be fitting, to be playing postseason games at Margie Wright Diamond," the home of the Bulldogs.  The comments by Mowins and Smith came during the live SEC game between nationally-ranked Georgia and Alabama, won by the Crimson Tide.  The ESPN announcing crew made reference to Fresno State's nation-leading 19-game winning streak and noted that the Bulldogs were the only team to qualify for the 2016 NCAA Tournament thus far.

Later in the broadcast, Mowins again referred to the Bulldogs' current win streak as a possible reason for Fresno State to host an NCAA regional, citing the various criteria employed by the NCAA Selection Committee.  She noted that "late-season performance," was one of the key factors that goes into the selection process, and the Bulldogs' current hot streak is something that should work in their favor.  NCAA bids will be announced Sunday, May 15, at 7 pm Pacific time live on ESPNU.

San Diego St. 2, New Mexico 1 - In Albuquerque, things quieted down a day after SDSU set a Mountain West record with 28 hits in a 23-4 rout.  This one was a pitcher's duel where the Aztecs managed 24 fewer hits than the day before.  SDSU had just four in the game against New Mexico left-handed freshman Colette Robert, but that was enough.  Robert would toss just 71 pitches in the complete-game, but took the loss against the Aztecs' Alex Formby, who allowed six hits.  After Jasmine Casados hit an RBI double in the first to give UNM a 1-0 lead, San Diego State took the lead for good in the third.  Zaria Meshack had an RBI single and Leia Ruiz added a sacrifice fly for the 2-1 Aztecs lead, and that's how the game ended.  SDSU left just two runners on base in the fast-moving game, while New Mexico left only four aboard.  The Aztecs evened their record at 10-10 in conference play, while the Lobos have now lost nine straight home games.

San Jose St. 13, Boise St. 0 (5 innings) - This one was all Spartans in Boise as SJSU rolled to an easy win over the last-place Broncos, who don't seem to have much left in the tank at this point in the season.  Madison Aurin, Taylor Purdy and Jessie Hufstetler all went deep against Broncos pitching.  They were the 10th, 11th and 12th home runs hit in the series -- with seven of them coming off the Spartans' bats.  Katelyn Linford started the game again for SJSU and picked up her first win in her last five starts with a 3-hitter.  Paige Reimann started and took the loss for Boise State, which has lost seven of its last eight games.  BSU is now 25-77 over the past two seasons.

Colorado St. 8, UNLV 4 - In Las Vegas, the Rams won for the second straight day to clinch a series victory over the host Rebels.  Colorado State will conclude its 2016 season Sunday, becoming the first Mountain West team to see its season come to a close.  CSU finished with two series wins on the year, with both coming on the road.  The Rams took two of three at San Diego State earlier this season.  It was a 15-hit barrage for Colorado State Saturday against a pair of Rebels pitchers.  Kristina Akiona, Lauren Buchanan and Hannah McCorkill all had three hits to pace CSU.  Logan Losh pitched five innings of 2-hit relief to earn the victory.  UNLV lost its fourth straight game and its third straight home Mountain West series.