Five-Run Sixth Inning Pushes `Dogs Past Rams in Opener, 5-1
May 2, 2014
FRESNO, Calif. - Buoyed by another strong effort in the circle by sophomore Jill Compton, the Fresno State softball team (29-18, 13-6) maintained its one-game lead in the MW with a 5-1 victory over Colorado State (30-14, 11-8) Friday evening at Bulldog Diamond.
Compton (19-8) struck out five, walked three and allowed only two hits en route to her eighth win in MW play this year.
The Rams scored their only run in the third inning after walks to Kendal Butterfield and Taylor Hutton, followed by a sacrifice bunt, and a swinging strikeout of Chelsea O'Connor that bounced in the dirt and narrowly allowed the runner to score from third base.
After a two-out walk loaded the bases, Compton kept the damage at one run on a line out, thanks to an inning-ending diving catch by sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith.
"This was a great win," Fresno State head coach Trisha Ford said. "Jill battled all game, and even the few mistakes she had, she quickly regained her composure. She's only a sophomore but she's really showing her maturity."
The Bulldog defense negated two more would-be hits later in the game.
In the fourth inning, senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz charged a grounder, scooped it on the short hop, and fired in one motion to first base to barely beat pinch-hitter Haley David.
In the fifth inning, senior third baseman Vonnie Martin cleanly fielded a sharp grounder down the line, and her throw to first base was picked cleanly by senior first baseman Stesha Brazil out of the dirt.
"I worked with what I had today," Compton said, "and knew the way our defense was playing, we always had a shot, and that gave me confidence. I knew my stuff wasn't at its best, but I tried to throw strikes and not get behind. Even when I was a little wild, I tried to re-focus and stay strong. Coach told me to mix it up and try to keep them off-balance."
Fresno State stranded one runner in each of the first five innings, including a second runner in the third inning, then finally cashed in for all five of its runs in the sixth inning.
After a one-out single by Brazil, a pair of errors on grounders by the second baseman and third baseman loaded the bases with two outs.
Smith followed with a two-run single to right field on a 3-2 count to put the `Dogs up, 2-1.
Senior designated player Kapri Angotti added an RBI single, and Ortiz lined a two-run single on a diving attempt by the second baseman that glanced off her glove into foul territory.
"I was ready to put the ball in play wherever she pitched it," Smith said. "I knew she would have to pitch to me, and it was my turn. We had stranded several runners on base, so it was my turn had to step up. Right before I batted, Kelly (Megee) told me that I was going to get a hit, and that really helped. This was a big game, and it took every one of us to win."
For the game, Ortiz (3-for-4) tied her career high in hits, and Brazil (2-for-3) logged her 10th multi-hit game of the season - second-most on the team this year - and also upped her season hitting streak to six games.
"Whitney (Smith) came up with a huge hit to get our offense going," Ford said. "We tried to put pressure on them offensively and not try to do too much and keep it simple. Brooke (Ortiz) also had some great plays on defense and that take-charge attitude carries over to our team in so many ways. She is ready to make a difference for us every single pitch."
CSU starter Holly Reinke (18-8) staked her 18th complete game, gave up nine hits, walked one and logged no strikeouts.
The Rams' first two hitters in the lineup both hit safely once - Taylor Hutton (1-for-3, walk) and Shae Rodriguez (1-for-2).
In other action around the league Friday, San Diego State beat San Jose State, 8-3, and Boise State blanked New Mexico, 7-0, to remain in a tie for second place with 12-7 league records, while CSU sits another game back in fourth place at 11-8.
Looking ahead to the Bulldogs' final home games of the regular season later this weekend, Saturday's 2 p.m. contest is Margie Wright Diamond Dedication Day.
Fans are urged to arrive early to avoid lines and watch the Hall of Fame former head coach's first pitch at 1:57 p.m., and free commemorative towels will be available before the game.
Sunday is Senior Day, and the `Dogs five-member senior class will be honored just prior to the noon start.
Fans should also note that Saturday's and Sunday's game are earlier than originally scheduled.
Colorado State 001 000 0 - 1 2 3 (30-14, 11-8 MW) Fresno State 000 005 X - 5 9 1 (29-18, 13-6 MW)