April 5, 2014
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Fresno State softball team (20-13, 5-3) bounced back to even its series with New Mexico (11-24, 2-6) Saturday afternoon with a convincing 9-0 victory at Lobo Field.
The Bulldog offense continued to thrive at altitude with 10 hits - its third straight game in double digits (and seventh in 2014) - while sophomore right-hander Hannah Harris (6-5) logged her second shutout of the year.
The Santa Barbara, Calif., native allowed only a pair of singles to open the second and fourth stanzas, and ended with four strikeouts and no walks among her 87 pitches.
"I trusted my pitches better (than yesterday) and hit my spots well," Harris said. "I kept the ball down, and the defense did a great job on both the fly balls and ground balls. I felt today was a new day, and I was excited to have the opportunity to pitch again and give my team my all."
Offensively, the `Dogs scored their first four runs in the opening inning, then added five more in the seventh inning
In the seventh inning, the `Dogs added two more runs after a walk to sophomore pinch-hitter Bria Kennedy, RBI single by junior center fielder Brenna Moss, and single up the middle by Ortiz that Moss scored all the way from first base.
After a hit by pitch of Martin loaded the bases with two outs, Smith followed with her fifth double of the season to the left field gap to drive in Fresno State's final three runs.
For the game, Smith (2-for-4, 2B) drove in a career-high five RBI - three better than her previous best - while Willis (2-for-4, 2 RBI) posted her third multi-RBI game of the season.
Among others with multi-hit games, Ortiz (3-for-4) tied a season high in hits and claimed her third double this year.
Three `Dogs also extended their hit streaks of eight games or longer - Moss (11), Smith (10) and Brazil (10).
"Whitney clutched up again," Fresno State softball head coach Trisha Ford said. "All season long, she's been a tremendous situational hitter for us, and was again today. Brenna is such a `headsy' ballplayer and made some big plays on both defense and on the bases. She's always thinking ahead of how to get the next base or out. Brooke came out on fire today, too. She has a lot of great at-bats, and gave us great senior leadership on a day we needed it. She also made some tough defensive plays and kept her feet moving through some balls that took tricky hops."
The defense also helped preserve the shutout in the second inning after a New Mexico lead-off single and walk. A would-be hit blooped into center field resulted in an 8-5-4 force-out double play when the runners on-base tagged too long, and couldn't beat the throws to third base from Moss, then relayed to second base.
UNM starter Lauren Soles (4-5) also pitched a complete game, struck out three, walked three, hit one batter, and allowed 10 hits and nine earned runs.
At the plate for the Lobos, the lone batters with hits were right fielder Shelbie Franc (1-for-3) and center fielder Mariah Rimmer (1-for-3).
"We came out with a lot of energy in the first inning," Ford said, "and then it was good to see us finish the game with another big inning. Hannah did a great job of working ahead, and set up our defense well. We need to have the same energy and fight tomorrow."
Saturday's outcome evened the series, 1-1, after the Lobos thwarted a Bulldog comeback Friday night in their 11-9 decision. After UNM owned an 8-1 lead in the fourth inning, Fresno State battled back with six runs in the fifth and two in the sixth as the game ended regulation tied, 9-9. However, the Lobos loaded the bases in the eighth inning, then hit a walk-off ground-rule double down the right field line.
Looking ahead, the two teams return for the series finale on Sunday at noon Pacific Time.
Fresno State 9, New Mexico 0 (Apr 05, 2014 at Albuquerque, N.M.)
Fresno State 400 000 5 - 9 10 1 (20-13, 5-3 MW) New Mexico 000 000 0 - 0 2 0 (11-24, 2-6 MW)
"Catch the Wave!" - Follow Fresno State softball on Twitter at the *NEW* @FresnoStateSB address.
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