Saturday, May 6, 2017

Spartans, Bulldogs, Aztecs remain hot, pick up series wins

There was a point a few weeks ago when all three California teams in the Mountain West -- Fresno State, San Diego State and San Jose State -- were under .500 in conference play.  But now, those three teams are the hottest in the conference down the stretch.

All three won on Saturday.  Combined, they've won 16 straight games, as SJSU now has a 7-game winning streak, while Fresno State has won five in a row and SDSU four straight.

The three are all still alive for the Mountain West regular-season title with one week to go.  San Jose State beat a suddenly reeling Utah State team 2-1 Saturday to move two games up in the loss column.  USU has dropped five of its last nine MW games, including three in a row, and has its longest losing streak of the 2017 season at exactly the wrong time.

San Jose State, meanwhile, has won 11 of its last 12 contests.  Colette Riggs earned the win, her fifth in MW play, Saturday.  Utah State's April Brown took the loss.

Fresno State kept its slim title hopes alive with a 10-1 (five innings) run-rule rout of New Mexico.  Kamalani Dung continued her torrid pitching streak, tossing a 4-hitter, winning her sixth consecutive start in MW play.  Dung has won five games in the last nine days, and now leads the league in wins (22), wins in MW play (10), ERA in MW play (1.96) and -- for the first time this season -- strikeouts (178).

The Bulldogs smacked three home runs in a single inning Saturday, as Vanessa Hernandez, Morgan Howe and Lindsey Willmon all hit round-trippers.  Hernandez, Willmon and Malia Rivers had two hits each.

San Diego State and Nevada both kept their very slim title hopes alive Saturday, with the Aztecs sweeping a pair (9-1 and 8-6) from UNLV, while the Wolf Pack won 9-1 at Boise State.  SDSU and Nevada face off in a 3-game series beginning Thursday, guaranteeing that one will be eliminated from the title chase in five days.

In non-conference action, Colorado State improved to 25-20 with a pair of wins.  The Rams beat Texas Tech 10-2 in five innings, before shutting out South Dakota 6-0.