April 27, 2014
FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State softball team (28-18, 12-6) capped its April slate with its eighth one-run win of the season, thanks to a 1-0 decision over UNLV (22-27, 12-9) in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Bulldog Diamond.
Leading the `Dogs to a 2-1 series edge, sophomore Jill Compton (18-8) needed only 70 pitches to become the third pitcher this year to shutout the Rebels.
The All-MW returnee struck out six, walked only one, and scattered four hits in the one hour, 12-minute contest.
"Paige (Gumz, catcher) and Coach (Ford) did a fantastic job of mixing it up and called a great game," Compton said. "After seeing their hitters yesterday, we had a smart game plan, and we were able to execute it pretty well. I knew our offense would come through and give me at least one run, and that's all we needed today. The defense also continues to be amazing, and has given me so much confidence."
Offensively for Fresno State, the `Dogs pushed their run across in the fourth inning after four straight batters reached with one out.
Senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz (1-for-3) led the way with a single to second base, followed by a hit by pitch of junior right fielder Michelle Solomon, and a single to shortstop by senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (1-for-3) to load the bases.
Senior third baseman Vonnie Martin (0-3) followed with a grounder to the second baseman who was attempting to come home with the throw, but muffed the catch instead.
UNLV starter Amanda Oliveto (12-14) regained her composure to force ground-outs to the next two hitters to strand three `Dogs on base.
Fresno State's other runner left on base came in the fifth inning after a lead-off walk to junior DP Kelly Megee that was followed by three ground outs.
Thanks to Compton's precision, UNLV also stranded only four base runners for the game.
Three of those came via lead-off singles in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings. The latter two were bunted into scoring position, but Compton retired the next two batters in each stanza to keep the Rebels scoreless.
Adding in her 2-0, seven-inning no-hitter Wednesday at San Jose State, and 1-0, eight-inning loss Saturday to UNLV, Compton has only allowed one run in her last 22 innings - that being an eighth-inning solo homer in the series opener to Juarez.
Overall for her six appearances this week, the Oceano, Calif., native Compton went 3-1, ended with a 0.71 ERA, 26 strikeouts, 10 walks, 16 hits allowed and a .162 opponent batting average in her 29.2 innings of work.
For the game Sunday, four Rebels hit safely once - Samantha Juarez (1-for-3), Stefany Valentino (1-for-2), Pauline Monreal (1-for-3) and Jaexie Balilea (1-for-2), while Valentino also walked once.
One of those hits - Juarez's leadoff bunt in the fourth inning - was negated by sophomore catcher Paige Gumz who threw out her fourth attempted base stealer of the season.
Freshman Kierra Willis added two more defensive highlights with a running catch to end the second inning in deep left field, and another running foul grab over the bullpen fence to open the fifth inning.
"Jill really showed some toughness today," Fresno State head coach Trisha Ford said. "She had great movement on her pitches, and stayed strong in pressure situations. Our offense also put pressure on them, and our defense came up with some big plays. Kierra had two great catches, and she's making good on all the promise we saw back in the fall and winter."
Sunday's outcome gave the 'Dogs their fifth series of the season the past month after a 6-3 win in Saturday's doubleheader finale.
Offensively for the combined six games this week, five Bulldogs hit +.300 - Willis (.417, 5-for-12, 4 BB), Gumz (.353, 6-for-17, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI), Brazil (.350, 7-for-20, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 2 RBI), senior center fielder Brenna Moss (8-for-23, 2 2B, 2 RBI) and Solomon (.300, 3-for-10, HR, 4 RBI).
Looking ahead, conference-leading Fresno State (28-18, 12-6) remains at home next weekend to host Colorado State (30-13, 11-7) next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
With two, three-game series left on the season, the `Dogs lead the MW by one game over San Diego State (second, 11-7, .611), Boise State (second, 11-7, .611) and Colorado State (second, 11-7, .611), followed by UNLV (fifth, 12-9, .571) and San Jose State (sixth, 10-8, .556).
"It's an exciting situation we're in," Ford said. "We control our own destiny, and we're just taking it pitch by pitch and game by game. We couldn't be more excited to be at home next week, because we have such a great home field advantage."
Fans should mark Saturday's contest vs. CSU on their calendars and welcome back former Hall-of-Fame coach Margie Wright. Before the rescheduled 2 p.m. contest on May 3 contest, Bulldog Diamond will be rechristened Margie Wright Diamond in return for her amazing 27-year career at the helm of the 'Dogs.
On Sunday, the 'Dogs will honor their five-member senior class just before the noon home finale.
LINESCORE Fresno State 1, UNLV 0 (Apr 27, 2014 at Fresno, Calif.) Pitchers: UNLV - OLIVETO, Amanda and HASLINGER, Emily. Fresno State - Compton, Jill and Gumz, Paige. Win-COMPTON, Jill(18-8) Loss-OLIVETO, Amanda(12-14) T-1:12 A-1327. Weather: 65, sunny, wind 0-4mph.
UNLV 000 000 0 - 0 4 1 (22-27, 12-9 MW)
Fresno State 000 100 X - 1 3 0 (28-18, 12-6 MW)
Fresno State 1, UNLV 0 (Apr 27, 2014 at Fresno, Calif.)
Pitchers: UNLV - OLIVETO, Amanda and HASLINGER, Emily. Fresno State - Compton, Jill and Gumz, Paige. Win-COMPTON, Jill(18-8) Loss-OLIVETO, Amanda(12-14) T-1:12 A-1327. Weather: 65, sunny, wind 0-4mph.
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