Friday, February 17, 2017

Errors doom Fresno State, San Diego State in tough losses

San Diego State was about to get its first win over a Top 10-ranked team in nearly a decade before a seventh inning meltdown against No. 8/9 Washington Thursday in San Diego.

Meanwhile, No. 21/22 Fresno State allowed a total of just two earned runs spread over two games Thursday, but committed costly errors that allowed six unearned runs, which were the difference in a 4-1 setback to Mississippi State and a 4-3 decision to Florida Gulf Coast.

SDSU freshman pitcher Marissa Moreno pitched well but suffered the loss.  She and the Aztecs went toe to toe with heavy-hitting Washington and star pitcher Taran Alvelo and appeared to have the game in hand, up by two runs entering the final inning.  In the fateful seventh, with one out and no one on base, Moreno gave up a home run to cut it to 5-4.  Two errors -- both by freshman shortstop Shelby Thompson -- and two unearned runs later, the Aztecs were staring at a 6-5 defeat.

While one streak ended for San Diego State, another continued.  The Aztecs had their string of 24 straight wins when leading after five innings snapped.  But their streak of 36 consecutive losses to Top 10-ranked teams continues.  SDSU has not beaten an opponent ranked in the Top 10 since 2008.

Fresno State's Kamalani Dung (3-1) suffered her first loss of the year, and her own throwing error proved to be the difference.  An errant throw from Dung, with two outs in the second inning, allowed Mississippi State to score a pair of unearned runs.  Instead of heading to the third inning tied 1-1, the error accounted for what would turn out to be the game-winning run.  Both teams had seven hits in the contest, and Dung went the distance allowing just the two earned runs but took the loss.

Things were even worse later in a 4-3 loss to Florida Gulf Coast by the Bulldogs.  All four runs scored by FGCU were unearned against Fresno State's Savannah McHellon, who went the distance and absorbed the loss, despite allowing just three hits.  FGCU scored all four of its runs with two outs in the second.  With the bases loaded, a force at the plate appeared like it would end the inning, but freshman catcher Maddi Hackbarth's miscue started what would become a 4-run rally.

Fresno State attempted its own rally in the seventh, with three runs and five hits, cutting the margin to 4-3.  The Bulldogs had the tying run in scoring position and go-ahead run on base when the game ended.  In a stinging defeat, Fresno State out-hit FGCU 9-3.