No. 25 Fresno State Beats USU, 16-12
April 23, 2011
LOGAN, Utah - For No. 25 Fresno State on Saturday afternoon, the offensive fireworks took to the sky early and often as the Bulldogs slugged past Utah State 16-12 to win their sixth straight game and sweep back-to-back Western Athletic Conference series.
The 16 runs were the most by the Dogs in 14 years when Fresno State shutout San Jose State 18-0 on the road during the 1997 season.
"Our offense was on top of its game," head coach Margie Wright said. "We know what we need to do and that's to take care of our own business. This is a good launching pad for us to go forward offensively."
As a team, No. 25 Fresno State (29-11, 13-2) pounded a season-high 18 hits, six Bulldogs scored twice and all nine batters crossed home plate for at least one run.
"Everyone hit and contributed and we need to build on that as we finish the season," Wright said. "Caitlin hit every kind of pitch she was thrown. She did very well at the plate today."
The Dogs applied steady pressure from the start and scored seven in the top of the first.
After the Aggies answered with four runs in the bottom half of the inning, Angene's grand slam highlighted a five-run third that gave the Bulldogs a 12-4 lead.
"You could see it in Nicole's eyes that she was going to do it," Wright said. "To hit a shot like that to dead center was impressive."
USU regrouped and tallied the next four runs to cut its deficit to 12-8.
Both teams continued their offensive assault at over 4,500 feet above sea level with Fresno State adding four more runs to take a 16-8 advantage into the bottom of the seventh where relief pitcher Michelle Moses fended off an Aggie comeback bid for the 16-12 victory.
Junior pitcher Mackenzie Oakes (16-2, 6-0 WAC) earned the win and Moses tossed the final 3.1 innings for her second save of the season and fourth of her career.
The victory capped a three-game sweep that marked the Bulldogs' fourth in WAC play and second on the road.
Utah State dropped to 10-38 on the season and 4-12 against WAC opponents.
Fresno State will next travel to Boise State for a three-game series that starts Friday at 2 p.m. Pacific.
Fresno State improved to 29-11 on the season and 13-2 in WAC play. The Dogs sport a WAC-leading RPI of 26 in the latest NCAA RPI weekly release. Four WAC schools are ranked in the national Top 120: Fresno State (26), New Mexico State (54), Hawai'i (64) and Boise State (120).
The six-game winning streak is the Dogs' second longest of the season, one shy of a seven-game stretch from March 19-April 2 that included four wins over Top 25 teams and started with a 3-1 win over now-No. 1/1 Michigan.
Senior Nicole Angene became the third Bulldog to hit a grand slam this season and the second in as many days. Caitlin Stiglich hit a grand slam to power Fresno State's 7-5 win over UMass on Feb. 27 and Michelle Moses crushed the other grand slam yesterday in the Dogs' 5-3 series opening win over Utah State.
As a team, No. 25 Fresno State has now hit 26 home runs in its 40 games this season.
Senior Haley Gilleland sprinted for her 20th stolen base of the year. She has now swiped 20 bases in three of her four seasons at Fresno State.
The Bulldogs will host the 2011 WAC Tournament at Bulldog Diamond May 11-14. Tickets are available for: $10-15 (General Admission), $25 (Upper Reserved) and $40 (Lower Box). For more information, you can visit Fresno State's WAC Tournament Central.
"We Are Your Team!" -- After a six-game road trip, the Bulldogs will return home to host Nevada on May 6 (6 p.m.) and May 7 (1/3 p.m.) in the final WAC weekend. Make sure to stay connected with Fresno State Athletics on Facebook and Twitter (@FSAthletics).