Feb. 14, 2014
By Geoff Thurner
FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State softball team (5-2) enjoyed a pair of home-opening wins over Sacramento State (0-3) and UC Riverside (1-5) Friday in initial action in the Fresno State Kick-Off.
The `Dogs topped the Hornets by a 5-1 count, then came back to edge the Highlanders by a 5-0 score at Bulldog Diamond.
"It was great to be back at home and get a pair of wins," Fresno State head coach Trisha Ford said. "We were a little nervous early, but we loosened up in the second game and remembered how to have fun. I thought we got a lot of quality at-bats, including a clutch triple by Brooke (Ortiz) late. Hannah (Harris) did what she was supposed to do and got a lot of ground-outs and fielded her position well. Taylor (Langdon) was also very effective and shut down her opponents. It was also really great to see our defense come up with some big double plays to give us momentum when we needed it."
In the finale vs. UC Riverside, the `Dogs struck for three runs in the first inning with two outs, thanks to a two-run double by senior first baseman Stesha Brazil and RBI single by sophomore catcher Paige Gumz.
Fresno State added a pair of runs in the sixth inning on a two-run triple by senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz over the drawn-in right fielder.
In the circle, sophomore Hannah Harris (2-0) started the game, and in her 5.1 innings, struck out three, walked none, allowed three hits and no runs.
Sophomore Taylor Langdon picked up her third save of the season (and second of the day), and in her 1.2 innings, struck out one, walked one and gave up three hits.
The Highlanders' best scoring chance came in the fourth inning when they had the bases loaded with one out. However, Harris got out of the jam thanks to a pair of foul pop-outs to the first baseman and catcher.
In the seventh inning, UC Riverside also had the bases loaded with two outs, but a pop-out to shortstop ended the game.
Highlander starter Ashley Ercolano (0-2) took the loss after she gave up three hits and three runs in the opening inning, while notching only two outs. She was credited with one strikeout, one walk, three hits allowed and one hit batsman.
Sophie Slagle pitched the final 5.1 innings, gave up three hits, struck out one, walked two, and one of her two runs was earned.
DP Marissa Escalante (2-for-3) was the lone opponent to collect multiple hits, and four others hit safely once.
In the opener vs. the Hornets, junior right fielder Michelle Solomon drilled her first homer of the season with two outs in the first inning, then added another two-run bomb in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The `Dogs added their second run in the third inning after junior center fielder Brenna Moss walked, stole second and third base, then scored on a wild pitch. Fresno State's final run came on an RBI single by Ortiz to left field in the seventh inning that scored Moss.
Sophomore Jill Compton (3-1) pitched the first five innings, struck out three, walked one, scattered four hits, and her one run allowed was earned. Sophomore Taylor Langdon notched the save after she pitched the last two innings, struck out one, walked two and allowed no hits or runs.
For Sacramento State, starter Taylor Stroud (0-1) worked the opening five innings, struck out one, walked one, gave up four hits and all four runs allowed were earned. J. Hartman pitched the last inning, and posted one strikeout and one walk and yielded one hit and one run.
At the plate for the Hornets, four batters hit safely once and catcher Paris Prado had their only extra-base hit - a second-inning double.
Sacramento State stranded at least one runner in six different innings, including a pair in the fifth and seventh innings, while a double play ended a one-out sixth-inning threat with runners on first and second.
In other tournament action Friday, UCSB beat CSU Bakersfield, 5-3; UCSB edged Sacramento State, 3-2; and CSU Bakersfield topped UC Riverside, 5-3.
Looking ahead, the `Dogs return for second-day tourney action Saturday and host Southern Utah at 6:30 p.m. The other four games earlier in the day include tilts at 9 a.m. (Saramento State-CSUB), 11:45 a.m. (UCSB-CSUB), 2 p.m. (UCR-Sacramento State) and 4:15 p.m. (Southern Utah-UCSB).
A complete tournament schedule is available at the http://www.gobulldogs.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/14-kickoff.html URL address.
"Catch the Wave!" - Follow Fresno State softball on Twitter at the *NEW* @FresnoStateSB address.
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