`Dogs Pound Lobos, 20-0, in Five-Inning Finale
April 6, 2014
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Fresno State softball team (21-13, 6-3) wrapped up an explosive offensive weekend with a 20-0, five-inning victory over New Mexico (11-25, 2-7) Sunday afternoon at Lobo Field.
Even with the wind blowing in, the `Dogs racked up 10 runs in the second inning to tie its second-highest-ever inning tally (vs. St. Mary's in 2006) - and three shy of its first-inning output (13) two weeks ago in a 24-3 win at Boise State.
Fresno State also scored two runs in the first inning, five in the third, and three more in the fourth inning en route to its third-highest-ever output (and one shy of its preseason record from a 1978 win vs. Cal State Hayward (21-0)).
In the circle, the Bulldogs received their second straight, two-hit shutout in the circle - this time from sophomore Jill Compton (13-6).
The Oceano, Calif., native also struck out four and allowed one walk en route to her sixth shutout of the year - a category that she ranked 23rd nationally last week season-wise.
"It was really important to come back and boost the team after how I pitched Friday," Compton said. "I was more relaxed, and having the early runs definitely helped my confidence. Coach Pick (ering) also gave me some advice beforehand to make eye contact with Brooke (Ortiz) to help me relax. She gave me a lot of positive energy and helped keep me focused. Paige (Gumz) also caught a great game. She made me feel comfortable - and was great at framing pitches. Even the times I crossed her up, we just smiled and laughed it off. It was a fun day all around."
Among the 12 Bulldog players that batted in the game, 10 hit safely, and another walked twice. Like-wise, eight players ended with RBI, including four with multiple RBI.
Sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith (4-for-5) logged a career-high and team-season high in hits, and also had a career-high three RBI.
The team's first two hitters in the line-up also each rapped three hits and had at least three RBI - junior center fielder Brenna Moss (3-for-4, career-high 3 RBI, BB) and senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz (3-for-4, 4 RBI and both career highs). Both also had back-to-back RBI triples in the second inning, while Ortiz followed with fourth double of the year in the third inning down the left field line.
Moss also stole two more bases Sunday to up her team-leading season total to 21 and career mark to 66 - still second-best all-time for Fresno State behind former All-Region honoree Haley Gilleland (86).
Among the six other Bulldogs that hit safely once, sophomore right fielder Bria Kennedy lined her first collegiate hit with a fourth-inning double to left field, and freshman second baseman Liza Liddell enjoyed her second hit of 2014 with a fifth-inning single to center field.
In the two-run, first inning, the `Dogs' two runs came via an Ortiz fielder's choice, junior right fielder Michelle Solomon's and senior Vonnie Martin's walks, and two-run single by Smith to second base.
In the 10-run, second inning, the first four hitters reached via a freshman left fielder Kierra Willis single, Moss walk, Ortiz single and a bases-loaded walk to senior first baseman Stesha Brazil. Smith followed with an RBI single that scored a second run on a throwing error by the third baseman. After a walk by junior DP Kelly Megee, Gumz also walked with the bases loaded for an RBI. Willis then reached on an error on a grounder to the second baseman, and Moss and Ortiz followed with three- and one-run triples.
In the five-run, third inning, Brazil, Martin & Smith led off with singles to again load the bases. The team's five runs in the stanza came on a Gumz RBI single up the middle, a bases-loaded walk by Willis, and three-run double by Ortiz.
In the three-run fourth inning, Kennedy ripped her double to left field, and after a walk to Liddell, Smith singled again and a run scored on an error by the pitcher. The next two batters - the junior duo of DP Kelly Megee and pinch-hitter Maria Sio - both grounded out to second base to plate the team's final runs of the game.
"I thought we did a good job of coming out and being ready at first pitch," Fresno State head coach Trisha Ford said. "We put pressure on them, stuck to the game plan and executed well. Defensively we played well, too. Jill had great command of the strike zone, worked ahead, and took advantage of having a big lead early. It was great to see so many quality at-bats, especially from some of the younger players. Kierra had a killer weekend; Bria has been swinging the bat well and got her reward today; Liza also battled, and ended up with a hit. To get a road series was important and gives us good energy moving ahead."
For UNM, right-handed pitcher Lisa Rodrigues (4-7) pitched the first 1.1 innings, struck out none, walked seven, and gave up five hits and nine earned runs.
The Lobos' Carrie Sheehan got the next two outs before she left the game after being hit by a lined single up the middle, and ended with no strikeouts, one walk, five hits allowed and six earned runs.
Entering in the third inning with the bases loaded and no outs, Tess McPherson pitched the final three innings, struck out one, walked two, yielded eight hits, and four of her five runs allowed were earned.
Among the two Lobo hits, Brandi Heimburg hit a double in the first inning, and Willow Kalinen laced a single in the third inning.
Figuring in the `Dogs' 9-0 win on Saturday and 11-9 eight-inning loss Friday, Fresno State combined for a whopping 38 runs in 20 innings for the series.
Also combined for the trip's three games, the `Dogs staked other notable advantages in (.433-.229), hits (42-16), doubles (6-2), triples (2-0), total bases (32-11), walks (21-10) and stolen bases (6-0), and its pitchers also held advantages in ERA (3.62-12.95) and strikeouts (12-6).
Six Bulldog batters ended with +.300 marks for the series - Willis (.700, 7H, 4 RBI, 2 SB), Ortiz (.667, 8H, 2 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, SB), Smith (.615, 8H, 2 2B, 8 RBI), Moss (.462 (6H, 3B, 4 RBI, 3 SB), Martin (.429, 3H, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB) and Brazil (.300, 3H, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB).
"Our energy was great today," Ortiz said, "and seeing our fans there got us extra excited. We just focused on playing our game. The wind was shifting here and there but it was mostly blowing in so it helped Jill who pitched clutch again today. After Friday(`s close loss), we told each other that we had each others' backs. We know how good we are, and we need to show each other. Our focus also helped our defense - we have tools to make all kinds of plays. This weekend coming up is important - the Aztecs always plays good softball - so we're excited to have a chance to play them."
Looking ahead, the `Dogs return to Bulldog Diamond to host San Diego State (28-9, 5-1) next weekend, April 11-13 with Friday and Saturday set for 6 p.m. start times and Sunday at 1 p.m.
After that, Fresno State has mid-week series at St. Mary's (Wednesday, April 16) and at San Jose State (Tuesday-Wednesday, April 22-23).
Fresno State 2(10)5 30 - 20 18 0 (21-13, 6-3 MW) New Mexico 00 0 00 - 0 2 3 (11-25, 2-7 MW)
Pitchers: Fresno State - Compton, Jill and Gumz, Paige; Kaleialii, Niki. New Mexico - RODRIGUES; SHEEHAN(2); McPHERSON(3) and HIGNOJOS. Win-COMPTON, Jill(13-6) Loss-RODRIGUES(4-7) T-2:00 A-70. Weather: 57F and sunny. SHEEHAN faced 3 batters in the 3rd.
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