March 14, 2014
FRESNO, Calif. - After a pre-game tribute to her father Joe who had suddenly passed away the week before, senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz continued to make him and her family proud with a game-winning RBI single to lift the Fresno State softball team (13-9) over Ohio State (10-13) by a 3-1 score Friday night.
In the fifth inning, Ortiz beat out a soft grounder in front of the circle to break a 1-1 tie, and scored sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith who had doubled to lead off the inning, and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by senior left fielder Kapri Angotti.
"It was an emotional day, but having my teammates and family all around really helped," Ortiz said. "He had coached me from T-ball to little league and up until high school. He still had followed me every game since then, so he's always been there, and it felt like he was here again today."
The `Dogs added an insurance run two batters later after a ripped single by junior right fielder Michelle Solomon off the third baseman's glove, a passed ball and a wild pitch.
Fresno State's first run came in the second inning after a lead-off walk to senior third baseman Vonnie Martin, a ground-out, and a lined single by freshman DP Kierra Willis down the first base line that tipped off the first baseman's glove and rolled to the edge of the outfield grass.
Fresno State's other two hits came on a pair of two-out singles in the fourth inning from senior first baseman Stesha Brazil and Willis.
Willis' two hits tied her season high and stood as her third multi-hit game of the season, while Ortiz's game-winning RBI was her second of 2014 (and tied for the team lead).
Bulldog fans were also pleased to see Ortiz make her first start since she left the Tennessee contest after a mid-game collision on February 23. The games the following weekend in the San Diego Classic were rained out, while she missed last week's contests in Fullerton to stay with her family after her father passed away that Saturday.
In the circle for Fresno State, sophomore Jill Compton (8-4) struck out a season-high nine and was one off the team season high. The All-MW returnee walked three and scattered five hits, and her one run allowed was earned.
The Buckeyes scored their run in the top of the first inning after a two-out walk and pair of singles to center field.
Ohio State starter Alex DiDomenico pitched the first four innings, struck out two, walked one and allowed three hits and one earned run.
Shelby Hursh (2-4) worked the final two innings, struck out two, walked one, and gave up three hits and two earned runs.
The Buckeyes' lone player with multiple hits was first baseman Eveylyn Carrillo (2-for-3) who stroked singles in the first and third innings.
In the latter stanza, Ohio State had both opening hitters reach base via singles, but Compton coaxed a ground-out to second base, a liner to third base, and pop-up to right field to end the inning.
"I was so proud of how our team handled itself today," Bulldog head coach Trisha Ford said. "We remained focused on a very emotional day. We had a lot great at-bats from the whole team, our defense was solid, we were aggressive on the base paths, and Jill really found her groove as the game went along."
"Everybody wanted to do their best to honor Joe," Ford continued. "He was a special guy who touched so many people. He made everybody feel welcome, including our staff from the first day we arrived. Bulldog Diamond was a special place to him, and the fans helped us make today special. We knew we had to move forward and experience all the feelings that are normal in this situation - sadness, anger, excitement, etc. - and rely on each other as a family. As a team, we always do our best to control the controllable, and play with passion, preparation and purpose - things he believed in, too."
Ortiz was hospitalized on Wednesday, March 6 with a blood clot and stroke, and passed away three days later on Saturday. At Friday evening's game, his brother Dwayne Nino Ortiz threw out the first pitch, and the entire team and coaching staff wore commemorative t-shirts in the pre-game warm-up in his memory, and have commemorative patches on their jerseys.
Among the five other games played Friday, Colorado State beat Cal Poly (6-2) and Pacific (10-2), New Mexico State topped Pacific (9-4) and St. Mary's (1-0), and Ohio State shutout Cal Poly (5-0).
Looking ahead, the Bulldogs have two games on Saturday vs. Cal Poly and New Mexico State at 3:45 and 8:15 p.m.; and a final contest against St. Mary's on Sunday at 3:45 p.m.
The other four games scheduled for Saturday include Pacific-Ohio State (9 a.m.), St. Mary's-Ohio State (11:15 a.m.), Colorado State-St. Mary's (1:30 p.m.) and Colorado State-New Mexico State (6 p.m.).
A complete tournament schedule with scores and starts times is available at the http://www.gobulldogs.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/14-fresno-state-classic.html URL address.
Fresno State 3, Ohio State 1 (Mar 14, 2014 at Fresno, Calif.)
Ohio State 100 000 0 - 1 5 0 (10-13) Fresno State 010 020 X - 3 6 0 (13-9)
Pitchers: Ohio State - DiDomenico, Alex; Hursh, Shelby(5) and Rennie, Melissa. Fresno State - Compton, Jill and Gumz, Paige. Win-COMPTON, Jill(8-4) Loss-Hursh, Shelby(2-4) T-1:34 A-1485. Weather: 72, clear, wind 0-3mph
"Catch the Wave!" - Follow Fresno State softball on Twitter at the *NEW* @FresnoStateSB address.
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