Thursday, February 11, 2016

Rough first day of the season for 4 MW teams

Four Mountain West teams opened their 2016 seasons on Thursday and none of it was pretty.  In fact, there's no place to go but up after today.

San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State and Boise State combined to go 0-7 on the day, with five of the seven losses coming via the run rule.  The Spartans, Aggies and Broncos all lost twice at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, while UNLV -- the lone MW team to open the season at home -- fell in a single game to Texas Tech in Las Vegas.

Mountain West teams were outscored 64-14 in games played Thursday.

Coach Peter Turner's Spartans, predicted to finish third in the Mountain West this season by the conference coaches and fourth by those of us here at the MW Softball Blog, were shockingly shut out twice in run-rule affairs.  The league's premier hitting team a year ago with a .350 team batting average, San Jose State lost a pair of 8-0 games and was stunningly no-hit by BYU pitcher McKenna Bull in Thursday's opener in six innings.  Later, heralded newcomer and Australian National Team member Chantelle Ladner, a freshman pitcher, started vs. No. 22/20 Arizona State and took the loss in an 8-0 (five innings) game.

Also falling to ASU today was Utah State, an 11-1 (five innings) loser, with April Brown getting the loss.  The Aggies also were run-ruled 9-0 (five innings) by a Virginia Cavaliers team that struggled mightily a season ago with a 16-40 record.  Noelle Johnson took the loss for Utah State in that one.  Virginia also later run-ruled Boise State 12-4 in five innings, hitting four home runs along the way.  The Broncos took it on the chin with a 9-6 loss to Creighton (1-1) in their opening game.  The 3-run margin of defeat was the closest a MW team would come to a victory on opening day.

Emily Haslinger had a 2-run triple in UNLV's game against Texas Tech, but it wasn't enough in a 7-3 setback.

The league will try to pick up some wins Friday as all nine teams are in action.  Defending Mountain West champion Fresno State is in action against Indiana and No. 8/7 Tennessee, while San Diego State opens against Canisius of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.