Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday recap: SDSU loses MW-opening series for first time in 9 years

The opening week of league action in the Mountain West Conference concluded Saturday with one big result.  San Diego State, which had won three straight league titles before being dethroned last season by Fresno State, suffered its first series loss to begin conference play in nine years.

UNLV emerged a winner in Las Vegas in games two and three of its series with the Aztecs, and San Diego State dropped below .500 in league play for the first time since 2007.  In other games, Nevada completed a 3-game sweep of Boise State, which has now lost 26 of its past 30 league games, dating back to the 2014 season; and New Mexico wrapped up a series win over Utah State in Albuquerque.

UNLV 7, San Diego St. 2 - Rebels pitcher Janine Petmecky entered the week having won just one game this season, but picked up her second win in two days against the Aztecs (1-2, 19-12) Saturday.  Petmecky entered in relief of starter Kwyn Cooper in the third inning and didn't allow a run the rest of the way, scattering six hits for UNLV (2-1, 18-14).  San Diego State, which took advantage of six UNLV errors in its lone win of the series in Thursday's opener, committed three of its own Saturday.  Four of the Rebels runs were unearned.  Sam Camello's 2-out error in the third proved to be very costly because of what followed:  an infield single by Alyssa Cordova and a 3-run home run by Francesca Foti that broke the game open.  San Diego State catcher Jenavee Peres, leading the Aztecs at the plate in both average and power, did not start any of the three games in Las Vegas.  Peres made one appearance in the series, hitting into a fielder's choice as a pinch-hitter in Friday's 4-2 UNLV win.

Nevada 5, Boise State 2 - In Reno, freshman pitcher Brooke Bolinger scattered seven hits and struck out 10 to pick up the win over the Broncos.  Boise State has won just four its past 30 Mountain West games spanning two-plus seasons and has lost nine straight league games. Nevada got a pair of hits from Jennifer Purcell (both doubles) and Aaliyah Gibson in completing the 3-game sweep over the Broncos (0-3, 8-23).  Nevada (3-0, 22-5) will put its perfect league record on the line Tuesday and Wednesday at San Diego State.  When the Wolf Pack face the Aztecs, it will end a stretch of 45 days since Nevada has played a team ranked in the current RPI Top 100.  Just one of Nevada's 22 wins has come over a team listed in the most recent NCAA RPI Top 100, and the Pack haven't faced such a team since the opening weekend of the season.  Mackenzie McGill took the loss for Boise State.

New Mexico 4, Utah State 0 - Krissy Fortner earned the complete-game win by tossing a 3-hitter and also picked up the Lobos' first shutout of the year, beating the Aggies (1-2, 13-13) in Albuquerque.  For the third straight season, New Mexico (2-1, 17-12) claimed the 3-game series over Utah State after losing game one.  Fortner gave up a pair of hits in the third, and one more in the fifth -- all singles -- but that was it, moving her record to 3-1.  Noelle Johnson took the loss for the Aggies.  Chelsea Johnson made her case for being named Mountain West Player of the Week with a home run for the third straight game.  Her 2-run shot in the fifth provided the game's final margin, and all but sealed the win because of how Fortner was able to shut down Utah State's offense.