April 22, 2006
FRESNO, Calif. - The No. 23 Fresno State softball team utilized a four-run fifth to propel itself to a 5-2 Western Athletic Conference victory over Hawai'i.
While the Bulldogs swept the Rainbow Wahine in conference play, the win today saw two historic milestones reached by two Bulldogs.
Senior All-America shortstop Christina Clark hit her sixth home run of the season and 60th of career. That two-run shot in the fifth not only put the 'Dogs up 3-2 but made Clark just the 12th NCAA Division I player to hit 60 or more career long balls. She now shares the No. 11 spot with former Alabama All-American Kelly Kretschman.
Head coach Margie Wright, whose team now has a two game lead over second place San Jose State, added another milestone to her illustrious career. The NCAA all-time winningest coach tallied her 1,200th career to become the first NCAA Division I coach to record 1,200 Division I wins.
The milestones happened with a come-from-behind performance by the Bulldogs.
Hawai'i (23-17, 7-4 WAC) jumped out to a 2-0 lead after four and a half inning of play. The Rainbow Wahine collected a two-out RBI single from right fielder Tanisha Milca in the first inning before tacking on its second run of courtesy of a two-out sole home run by pitcher Kate Robinson.
Fresno State cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore catcher Kristin Sylvester led the inning off with a triple to right field. After junior first baseman Nichole Willis grounded out, sophomore left fielder Ashley White hit a RBI single through the right side to plate Sylvester.
In the fifth, Fresno State would score four runs on five hits. Junior centerfielder Shannon Garvin led the frame off with a single to left field before Clark drove a 2-0 pitch to center field to give the Bulldogs a one-run edge. Freshman third baseman Haley Perkins then tripled down the right field line, forcing Hawai'i to make a pitching change. Reliever Paula Blanning came in for Robinson to face freshman designated player Merryann Barr. Getting Bar to ground out, Sylvester hit a hard shot to the Rainbow Wahine shortstop Valana Manuma. Manuma tried to get Perkins out a home but her throw was off the mark and Sylvester picked up a RBI on a fielder's choice.
Bulldog starter Amanda Nesbitt threw 5.0 innings and was relieved in the top of the sixth by Barr after the Rainbow Wahine led the inning off with a base hit. Barr would settle in and allow just one hit while walking one and striking out two to earn her first collegiate save.
Improving to 2-1 on the season, Nesbitt allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits while walking three and striking out three.
Clark, Willis and White each had multiple hit games for the 'Dogs while Clark and White each picked up two RBI a piece.
Robinson took the loss for Hawai'i and dropped to 1-1 on the season after allowing four runs on seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Blanning pitched one inning and allowed a run on two hits while Jessica Morton tossed the final inning for UH and walked one in four batters faced.
Winners of 11 straight, Fresno State (31-13, 9-1 WAC) is on the road the final two weeks of the regular-season before hosting the 2006 WAC Softball Championship, May 11-13.
The Bulldogs travel to Louisiana Tech (15-25, 4-8 WAC) next weekend before closing out against San Jose State (21-20, 10-4 WAC) the following week.
Tickets for the WAC Softball Championship are available through the Bulldog Ticket Office by phoning (559) 278-3647.
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