March 22, 2014
By Geoff Thurner
BOISE, Idaho - The Fresno State softball team (16-11, 1-1) caught offensive fire like never before with a record-breaking five-inning, 24-4 win Saturday afternoon at Boise State (16-13, 1-1).
The `Dogs racked up a school record for runs in an inning with its 13-run first stanza, then added seven more runs in the second inning, one in the third, and three more in the fourth inning.
Boise State scored a pair of runs in both the third and fifth innings, and overall rapped nine hits a day after it had squeaked out a 3-2, 10-inning win in the teams' conference opener Friday.
"It was good to see us rebound from yesterday," Fresno State head coach Trisha Ford said. "Offensively we came ready to go. We had great at-bats up and down the lineup, and took advantage of a lot of hitters' counts. Kelly (Megee) did really well when she had an opportunity to start today. She's been waiting for a while, and she executed, while Bria (Kennedy) had a nice at-bat, too. Defensively we had no errors, and that usually means we have a great shot to win."
En route to a team-season high 17 hits, every player in the starting lineup hit safely, and four players homered among the seven Bulldog extra-base hits.
Senior third baseman Vonnie Martin hit her second career grand slam in the first inning for her fourth homer of the season and 13th career-wise .
"We talked about playing the sport the way we know we can," Martin said. "We all love the game and went out today and played for each other. I tried to clear my mind and swing at the pitches that I could hit and not at bad ones, and it worked out in my favor. We were all excited afterward - scoring that many runs is not easy, especially against a good team like Boise."
Two batters later, senior first baseman Stesha Brazil hit her team-leading sixth homer of the year - a two-run shot to left field. That blast also moved Brazil into a tie for seventh all-time for the `Dogs on the career homer list with former All-WAC honoree Caitlin Stiglich (22).
Overall in the first inning, the `Dogs sent 16 batters to the plate, and besides the two homers, 11 others reached base via four singles, four walks, two errors and a fielder's choice.
In the second inning, Fresno State tacked on seven more runs after Megee's hit by pitch, a pair of singles by senior left fielder Kapri Angotti and junior center fielder Brenna Moss, senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz's two-run double, Martin's walk, junior right fielder Michelle Solomon's two-run double, Brazil's sacrifice fly to left field, and sophomore catcher Paige Gumz's two-run homer to left field (and her first of the campaign).
In the third, Solomon added her team-leading third triple of the season and knocked in Moss who had singled two batters prior.
In her first start of the season, junior DP Kelly Megee clubbed her first career homer in the fourth inning, a three-run bomb that just cleared the left field wall, and capped the `Dogs' scoring.
"Coach told me beforehand to just try and get a base hit," Megee said, "and luckily I got a good piece of it. I have worked hard to help the team when I could, and Coach Pick(ering) has told me to make the most of my opportunities. Being taller than a lot of players, I get walked a lot, and they remind me to stay within myself and be patient and take what they give me. The coaches have worked a lot with me the past year, and I'm seeing the ball better than ever before."
For the game, Moss (4-for-4, RBI, 4 runs) ended with a career-high tying and team-season high four hits to up her team lead in the category on the season to 12.
Four other Bulldogs banged out multiple hits - Solomon (2-for-4, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI, BB), Brazil (2-for-3, 3 RBI, BB), Gumz (season high 3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI) and Angotti (2-for-3, RBI).
Other `Dogs that hit safely included Martin (1-for-2, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB), Ortiz (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI), Megee (1-for-1, RBI, 2 BB, HBP), and sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith (1-for-4, RBI) who later switched to third base for the first time this year.
Defensively, the `Dogs turned a pair of double plays for the third time this year to give them 12 on the season. The first came with two runners on in the second inning on a line drive to Martin that she fired to second base. The other came in the in the third inning on a grounder to shortstop that was relayed to second base and first base.
In her second complete game of the season, sophomore Hannah Harris (4-4) ended with no strikeouts, three walks, seven allowed hits, and four earned runs.
A week after she pitched a complete game in a 2-1 loss to Southern Utah, Bronco starter MacKenzie McGill (2-4) pitched three innings total Saturday. The freshman right-hander logged no strikeouts and six walks, and allowed 12 hits and 19 earned runs.
In the half-hour long first stanza that also featured two Boise State errors, McGill threw 43 pitches to the opening nine batters. Twenty six of them were balls, while the `Dogs needed to swing the bat only seven times for its first seven runs (with five swings putting the ball in play, one via a swing and miss, and one on a foul ball). The other remaining pitches in her initial stint were 10 called strikes.
She was relieved in the first inning by senior right-hander Rebecca Patton who eventually recorded the inning's three outs, and the complete-game victor from the day before struck out one Saturday, and allowed four hits and five earned runs.
McGill re-entered and worked the second, third and fourth innings, while sophomore Sarah Barnes pitched the fifth inning. The latter right-hander started the game in right field, and in her first pitching appearance in almost a year, she allowed one hit, and no walks or runs.
Among conference all-time records, the `Dogs' 24 runs bettered the former MW mark of 21 runs set by BYU (vs. Utah Valley, 4/16/08) and Utah (vs. Hampton (3/19/11), while the former best in MW-only play was set by CSU vs. Utah (20, 4/21/07).
In the heart of its 37th year of action, Fresno State also rewrote its former school record for runs from 1978 in a 21-0 win vs. Cal State Hayward. Similarly, it tied its record for most combined runs by both teams from 1998 (a Fresno State 15-13 victory vs. Hawai'i).
In other action around the conference Saturday, Utah State beat Colorado State 5-4; San Diego State won 11-3 at New Mexico; and UNLV topped Nevada 7-4 in Las Vegas.
Looking ahead, the `Dogs return for the series finale at noon PT (1:00 p.m. MT) on Sunday.
Fresno State 24, Boise State 4 (Mar 22, 2014 at Boise, Idaho)
Fresno State (13)71 30 - 24 17 0 (16-11, 1-1 MW) Boise State 0 02 02 - 4 9 2 (16-13, 1-1 MW)
Pitchers: Fresno State - Harris, Hannah and Gumz, Paige; Kaleialii, Niki. Boise State - MCGILL, M.; PATTON, R.(4); BARNES, S.(5) and TORREZ, H. Win-HARRIS, Hannah(4-4) Loss-MCGILL, M.(2-4) T-2:05 A-267. HR FS - Martin, Vonnie (4); Brazil, Stesha (6); Gumz, Paige (1); Megee, Kelly (1). Weather: Clear and 50. MCGILL, M. faced 8 batters in the 1st.
"Catch the Wave!" - Follow Fresno State softball on Twitter at the *NEW* @FresnoStateSB address.
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