Saturday, February 20, 2016

Fresno State improves to 8-0 with another win over the Kansas Jayhawks

All nine teams were in action Saturday around the Mountain West, and the top highlight of the day again came from undefeated and nationally-ranked Fresno State, which refuses to lose.  The Bulldogs earned their sixth win already against a power conference team, beating Kansas to remain a perfect 8-0 on the season.  But there were other Mountain West teams making noise Saturday.  San Diego State knocked off No. 25/22 California 2-1 for the Aztecs' first win over a ranked team in years.  Colorado State and San Jose State, both of whom entered the day with just one win on the season, picked up a pair of victories, as did Utah State and New Mexico.

No. 22/24 Fresno State 3, Kansas 2 (8 innings) - The Bulldogs knocked off the Jayhawks of the Big 12 for a second straight day behind some gutsy pitching from Jill Compton and a determined team that never says die.  In a game worthy of an NCAA Tournament caliber atmosphere, this one had it, much to the delight of the 1,400 in attendance.  Fresno State grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third when Bria Kennedy led off with a single, advanced to second on a beautiful bunt single by Whitney Smith, and came home on a Malia Rivers RBI single.  It would stay that way until the sixth when Kansas scored the tying run.  Both teams threatened but had trouble scoring in the later innings as Compton and KU pitcher Andie Formby were locked in a tight pitcher's duel.  In the eighth, with the international tiebreak rule in effect, the Jayhawks took a 2-1 lead on a 1-out single to score the placed runner.  With Lindsey Willmon placed on second base to begin the Bulldogs' half of the eighth, pinch hitter Chase LeeHong was hit by a pitch.  Kierra Willis then hit a very tough ground ball to the KU second baseman, and reached safely to load the bases with no one out.  Paige Gumz then singled home the tying run on a bloop to the outfield.  With one away, and with a large Margie Wright Diamond crowd roaring, Formby walked freshman Morgan Howe to bring home the game-winning run.  Compton struck out four and improved her record to 5-0, while Formby suffered her first loss of the year to fall to 3-1.  Kennedy had a pair of hits and reached base in all three at-bats.  Fresno State continued its best start this century, moving to 8-0, a record it hasn't had since 1999.  Four of the Bulldogs' eight wins so far have come against teams that reached the NCAA Tournament last season, and six of the eight have come over teams from the five power conferences.

San Diego St. 2, No. 25/22 California 1 - In San Diego, the Aztecs handed the Bears their second loss to an unranked team on the afternoon, and likely knocked Cal out of the Top 25 altogether.  Both San Diego State runs were unearned thanks to a Bears error in the third, and SDSU managed just four hits in the game.  But Erica Romero kept the Bears off-balance enough to pick up the win, scattering six hits and striking out three.  Romero has five of the Aztecs' six wins this season.  Nisa Ontiveros was the tough-luck loser, tossing a complete-game 4-hitter, striking out 10, and not allowing an earned run.  Cal fell to 5-3 after being shut out earlier in the day by Texas Tech.

Colorado State 10, BYU 6 (8 innings) and Colorado State 6, CS Northridge 4 - In Las Vegas, the Rams had their best day of the young season, beating both the defending champions of the West Coast Conference and Big West Conference in back to back games.  In the game against the Cougars, the teams combined for eight runs in the eighth inning with the international tiebreak rule in effect.  CSU scored six runs and BYU responded with two in the final frame.  Holly Reinke picked up her second win of the season in the complete-game effort.

Utah State 9, Southern Utah 4 and Utah State 6, UTEP 1 - In Las Vegas, the Aggies had little trouble with two teams that had been giving other Mountain West teams fits in the first week of the season.  Utah State has won five of six following an 0-4 start to the season, evening its record at 5-5.

UNLV 8, Robert Morris 3 - Freshman pitcher Alyssa Batastini picked up her first win as a collegian as the host Rebels knocked off the Colonials.  Kwyn Cooper went 4-for-4 and Alyssa Cordova had a home run and two RBI.

Utah 9, Boise State 1 and Weber State 10, Boise State 0 (5 innings) -The worst start to a softball season in school history continued for the Broncos, who struggled again Saturday in Las Vegas.  Boise State was no-hit against the Wildcats in game two, and the Broncos finished with as many errors (5) as hits (5) on the afternoon overall.  The Utes used three different pitchers in game one, and Boise State's only run Saturday was scored on a wild pitch.  The Broncos are 0-9.

New Mexico 8 , Bethune-Cookman 4 and New Mexico 13, Pacific 5 (5 innings) - In Palm Springs, the Lobos evened their overall record at 4-4 with a win over Bethune-Cookman.  Michala Erickson and Mariah Rimmer had two hits apiece, while Lauren Soles picked up her second win of the year.  In a late-night game, the Lobos spotted the Tigers three first-inning runs before scoring 13 of the next 15 in a run-rule rout.

San Jose St. 8, Portland St. 0 (6 innings) and San Jose St. 16, UTEP 3 (5 innings) - The Spartans entered Saturday in Las Vegas with a 1-7 record but came away with a pair of run-rule wins.  No information was available on either game, but the Spartans' opponents fell to a combined 3-15 record.  Portland State remained winless at 0-9, while the Miners dropped to 3-6.

Nevada 4, Portland St. 2 - The Pack knocked off the winless (0-8) Vikings in Las Vegas.