April 4, 2014
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Fresno State softball team (19-13, 4-3) nearly staged its biggest comeback of the year, but unfortunately fell in its series opener, 11-9, at New Mexico (11-23, 2-5) in eight innings Friday evening at Lobo Field.
After scoring five runs in the first inning, and another three in the fourth, the Lobos seemed to have the win in hand until the `Dogs roared back with one run in the third inning and six runs in the fifth inning.
UNM answered with its ninth run in the bottom of the fifth inning, while Fresno State added two runs in the top of the sixth inning to re-tie matters, 9-9.
After both teams hit into double plays to end each of the seventh inning's frames, the `Dogs stranded their season-high 11th runner of the game in the top of the eighth inning.
The Lobos followed with a one-out single, walk and intentional walk to load the bases. The next batter, Jordan Sjostrand, then lifted a walk-off ground rule double that bounced on the right field line (and allowed to drop fair by the Bulldogs' Michelle Solomon in hopes the ball would bounce foul, while a catch would have still scored the deciding run via a sacrifice fly).
For the game, freshman left fielder Kierra Willis led the `Dogs in hits with her season-high 3-for-3 day and also reached in her other at-bat via a walk. The Pleasant Hill, Calif., native also ended with her eighth RBI and seventh stolen base of the season, respectively.
Three other Fresno State hitters hit safely twice - junior center fielder Brenna Moss (2-for-5, SB), senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz (2-for-3, BB) and sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith (2-for-4, 2B, BB).
Solomon (1-for-2) also reached base four times via three walks and a fifth-inning single.
Four Fresno State players also extended hitting streaks of seven games or better - Moss (10), Smith (9), Brazil (9) and Solomon (7).
The `Dogs' first run came in the third inning after singles by Willis and Moss, a sacrifice bunt and ground-out by senior first baseman Stesha Brazil.
Two innings later in the fifth, Brazil hit her team-leading seventh homer of the season - a 3-run shot to left field. That round-tripper also was her 23rd career-wise for the `Dogs and left her in seventh place in school history - six behind former All-American Jamie Southern (29, 2002-05).
Later in the fifth, Fresno Stated added three more runs after senior third baseman Vonnie Martin's hit by pitch, Smith's fourth double of the campaign, sophomore catcher Paige Gumz's RBI ground-out, Willis and Ortiz singles, and a delayed double steal by Moss and Willis of second base and home.
In the sixth inning, Martin finally tied the game with her fifth homer of the season - a two-run shot to left center field after Solomon walked two at-bats before.
The Lobos' first five runs came in the first inning after a single and fielder's choice and three-run homer by Naomi Tellez led off the game. The next two batters added two more runs after a Mariah Rimmer hit by pitch and two-run homer by clean-up hitter Jasmine Carados.
In the fourth inning, Rimmer added three more runs to the Lobo scoreboard with a homer to left field. The next inning, UNM's final run in regulation came after a walk, bunt single, infield ground-out, and double play ground-out that still narrowly scored a runner from third base.
In the circle, sophomore Fresno State starter Jill Compton pitched the first inning, yielded five runs (four of which were earned), struck out none, walked two batters, and allowed three hits.
In her 12th appearance in relief, sophomore Taylor Langdon worked the next five innings, struck out three, walked four, and surrendered six hits and four earned runs.
Sophomore Hannah Harris (5-5) pitched the final 1.1 innings, struck out one, walked three (and one intentionally), allowed three hits, and both runs allowed were earned.
UNM starter Lisa Rodrigues pitched the first four innings, gave up 10 hits and six earned runs, struck out one and walked three.
Carrie Sheehan worked the next 1.2 innings, struck out none, walked three, yielded four hits, and all three runs allowed were earned.
Lauren Soles (4-4) came in with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning and got a strikeout of Moss to end the inning. She also pitched the seventh and eighth innings, and allowed no hits, no runs, struck out one and walked two.
The Lobos, who stranded nine runners of their own, had four batters with multiple hits - Tellez (2-for-4, 1 BB, 3 RBI), Casados (2-for-4, 1 BB, 2 RBI), Sjostrand (2-for-5, 2 RBI) and Willow Kalin (2-for-2, 2 BB).
Both teams turned a pair of double plays in the game, and the 'Dogs now have 14 on the season (a category they ranked 43rd nationally last week in).
Looking ahead, the two teams return for the second game on Saturday at noon Pacific Time, while the finale is at the same time on Sunday.
New Mexico 11, Fresno State 9 - 8 innings (Apr 04, 2014 at Albuquerque, N.M.)
Fresno State 001 062 00 - 9 14 1 (19-13, 4-3 MW) New Mexico 500 310 02 - 11 12 0 (11-23, 2-5 MW)
Pitchers: Fresno State - Compton, Jill; LANGDON, Taylor(2); HARRIS, Hannah(7) and Gumz, Paige. New Mexico - RODRIGUES; SHEEHAN(5); SOLES(6) and TELLEZ. Win-SOLES(4-4) Loss-HARRIS, Hannah(5-5) T-2:48 A-90. HR FS - Brazil, Stesha; Martin, Vonnie. HR NM - TELLEZ; McPHERSON; CASADOS. Weather: 61F sunny and partly cloudy. RODRIGUES faced 5 batters in the 5th.
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