Harris Blanks Aztecs in Game 2, 2-0
April 12, 2014
FRESNO, Calif. - Behind the third shutout of the season by Hannah Harris, the Fresno State softball team (23-13, 8-3) moved into first place in the MW with its 2-0 win over San Diego State (28-11, 5-3) Saturday evening at Bulldog Diamond.
The sophomore right-hander (7-5) held the returning NCAA Tournament advancers to three hits - one shy of their season low - and walked only one and struck out two. With its third straight errorless game, the `Dog defense played a big part in her success, including a game-ending diving catch by junior centerfielder Brenna Moss who doubled up a runner who had strayed off second base.
"It was an amazing win tonight," Harris said, "and I knew it would take all of us to beat a team as good as San Diego State. I was able to hit my spots pretty well and set my defense up to field a lot of ground balls. All their great plays gave me a lot of energy, and we also constantly challenged them offensively by putting runners on base. My last inning I lost a little confidence, but Coach (Ford) told me to not back down, and she trusted me. Right after, Brenna's catch was unbelievable. When she gets that look in her eye I never have a doubt that she will get to the ball, and I was so proud of her."
The Bulldog offense was paced by senior third baseman Vonnie Martin (2-for-2, BB, 2B, HR) who claimed her fifth multi-hit game of the season.
She added the `Dogs' final run in the sixth inning with a solo homer well past the left field fence. Her sixth homer of the season was also her 15th career-wise - two shy of the school's 10th-best career mark all-time.
The returning All-MW choice also scored the game's first run after she led off the second inning with her team-leading 32nd walk of the year. The next pitch, she scored on sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith's team-best sixth double of the season, which was drilled just fair down the left field line.
Martin nearly helped the `Dogs to another run in the bottom of the fourth after she lined a one-out double to right center field. The next at-bat, however, freshman pinch-runner Christina Rodriguez was narrowly thrown at home on a single up the middle by Smith (2-for-3) who also enjoyed her sixth multi-effort of the campaign.
The Plano, Texas native Martin also made several key plays defensively, attacking and cutting off slow bouncers towards shortstop and turning potential infield hits into outs.
"This was one of our best wins of the season," Martin said, "and it came because we had great focus today. We were disciplined on every pitch because we knew we had to be. On defense, I worked hard this week to be ready to attack any ball, especially since they have good team speed."
Moss also singled once in the fifth inning to extend her team-season long hit streak to 14 games, while Smith is one behind her with a career-best 13-game effort.
In the eighth and ninth spots in the lineup, sophomore catcher Paige Gumz (2-for-4) and senior left fielder Kapri Angotti (2-for-4) also turned in their third and fourth multi-hit games of the season, respectively.
In the team comparisons, the `Dogs sported advantages in hits (9-3), fewest errors (0-1) and double plays (1-0). However, Fresno State also stranded nine baserunners after leaving the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth innings.
In contrast, the Aztecs, who entered the weekend hitting .304 team-wise, stranded a runner on second base only once in the fourth inning and at first base in the fourth and seventh innings.
San Diego State's other best chance to score came in the fourth inning, when its second and third hitters in the line-up - Kayla Jordan and Sydnee Cable - each bunted safely to lead off the inning. Harris answered with four-pitch strikeout of clean-up hitter Kayla Bufardeci, a pop-up to second base and ground-out to Martin to stymie the heart of the SDSU lineup.
Aztec starter Erica Romero (5-4) pitched the first two innings, logged one walk and no strikeouts, and gave up two hits and one earned run.
Reliever Andi Smith took over in the third inning with a runner on, and in her 3.1 innings, struck out four, walked none, gave up six hits and one earned run.
In the sixth inning, staff ace Danielle O'Toole got the final two outs. The sophomore right-hander entered with a runner on first base, and after giving up a single to Gumz and intentional walk to Moss, got a ground-out to second base to end the inning.
The Aztecs' other hits came on a third-inning single from third baseman Leia Ruiz and seventh-inning single by Katie Mathis that put runners on first and second base with one out (and set up Moss's dramatic double play catch).
"Every win is different and tonight it was pitching and defense leading the way," Fresno State head coach Trisha Ford said. "We had several players - Brenna, Vonnie, Hannah and also Brooke (Ortiz) who made some big defensive plays to keep momentum on our side. Getting the hits from Paige and Kapri were huge, and the latter player came back from a rough day yesterday, and battled. Even her last at-bat when she got down 0-2, I reassured all we needed was a grounder to advance the runners, and that's exactly what she did next pitch. We'll have an equally big game tomorrow, because SDSU is a talented team and will fight hard again tomorrow."
Saturday's outcome moved Fresno State into first place in the league with a .727 conference winning percentage and 8-3 mark.
Two other teams that entered the weekend tied with the `Dogs for second place - UNLV and San Jose State - also won Saturday vs. CSU and UNM to follow in second (.636, 7-4) and third place (.625, 5-3), respectively, while SDSU is tied for third (.625, 5-3).
Looking ahead, the two teams return for the finale at Bulldog Diamond on Sunday at 1 p.m.
As part of the Kids Weekend promotion, kids can come early to play in the Bounce House before the game and get free root beer floats.
For the Salute to Sundays ticket promotion, all military with valid military ID's will get in for free with a valid military ID.
Fresno State 2, San Diego State 0 (Apr 12, 2014 at Fresno, Calif.)
San Diego State 000 000 0 - 0 3 1 (28-11, 5-3 MW) Fresno State 010 001 0 - 2 9 0 (23-13, 8-3 MW)
Pitchers: San Diego State - ROMERO; SMITH, An.(3); O'TOOLE(6) and CONNORS; ORLANDO; IGNACIO. Fresno State - Harris, Hannah and Gumz, Paige. Win-HARRIS, Hannah(7-5) Loss-ROMERO(5-4) T-1:40 A-1261. HR FS - Martin, Vonnie (6). Weather: 79, clear, wind 0-3mph. ROMERO faced 1 batter in the 3rd.
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