May 4, 2014
FRESNO, Calif. - In a battle between a pair of teams that entered the weekend ranked top two in the MW softball standings, Sunday's finale lived up to the billing as Colorado State (31-15, 12-9) narrowly edged Fresno State (30-19, 14-7) by an 8-7 score Sunday afternoon at Margie Wright Diamond.
With Sunday's outcome, the `Dogs still won the series, 2-1, and ended the weekend tied with Boise State for the MW lead with one weekend of play remaining in the regular season.
"We took the series, and that was the main goal coming into the weekend," Fresno State head coach Trisha Ford said. "Colorado State is a good team, but I loved our team's grit not to give up and fight till the very end. Some errors cost us some runs, but our players gave everything they had. Our seniors were a big part of that, and they have set a foundation that we constantly feed off of."
After the Rams scored a pair of runs in both the first and second innings, the `Dogs scored three runs in the second inning, then tied the game, 4-4, with a run in the fourth.
CSU answered with one run in the fifth stanza, and three more runs in the sixth inning to push ahead, 8-4, but Fresno State battled back to nearly the tie game again with a three-run seventh inning.
Keying the Fresno State offense, junior centerfielder Brenna Moss (2-for-3) collected her team-leading 21st multi-hit game of the season.
Sophomore catcher Paige Gumz (2-for-4) also stroked a pair of hits to raise her batting average in her 21 games of MW play this season to .379.
Leading off the `Dogs' three-run second inning, senior first baseman Stesha Brazil walked, then scored from first base after a wild throw by the pitcher to first base on a sacrifice bunt. After a walk to freshman left fielder Kierra Willis and two ground outs, Moss chopped an RBI single to the pitcher, and Angotti scored from third base on a throwing error by the catcher on Moss's successful steal of second base.
Fresno State added a run in the fourth inning after a pair of singles by Gumz and Angotti, followed by a Moss walk and Ortiz sacrifice fly to left field.
In the seventh inning, Ortiz and Solomon reached base to lead off the inning on a single and fielding error by the shortstop. After a one-out walk to Brazil, sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith scored a run on a bases-loaded walk, as did Willis on a ground-out. Gumz added a two-out RBI single up the middle for the `Dogs' final run, before the next batter grounded out to third base with the tying run on second base and winning run on first base.
In the circle for Fresno State, sophomore Jill Compton made the start and in her 1.1 innings, she struck out three, walked none, and allowed five hits and four earned runs.
Sophomore Hannah Harris (9-9) relieved her in the second inning with a pair of runners on base with one out and got out of the inning thanks to a pair of fly outs.
Harris pitched through the end of the sixth inning, and in her 4.2 innings overall, she allowed four runs - three of which were unearned - nine hits and one walk.
Sophomore Taylor Langdon pitched the final inning and retired all three batters she faced for her 10th game finished and 13th relief appearance this season - both team highs.
For CSU, Shae Rodriguez (3-for-4) led the Rams offensively, and three others had a pair of hits - Jaelyn Manzanaes (2-for-4), Alysa Greckel (2-for-4), Ashlie Ortega (2-for-4) and Kendal Butterfield (2-for-4).
Ram right-hander Holly Reinke (19-9) received the decision for the third straight day, and struck out three, walked six, gave up six hits, and four of her seven runs allowed were earned in her complete game.
Factoring in its 5-1 and 7-2 wins earlier in the weekend series, Fresno State won its sixth straight conference series (and fifth straight in 2-1 fashion) the last 1 1/2 months.
Combined for the three-game weekend series, four `Dog hitters topped .400 - Ortiz (.556, 5-for-9, 3 RBI, SB), Brazil (.500, 4-for-8, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB), junior DP Kelly Megee (.400, 2-for-5) and Angotti (.400, 2-for-5, RBI, BB).
Two other starters also hit +.300 - Gumz (.375, 3-for-8, RBI) and Moss (.364, 4-for-11, BB).
With her two stolen bases on the weekend, Moss now has 29 on the season - second-best in school history and five shy of her school record from last year (34).
Before Sunday's contest, a Senior Day ceremony was held to honor the five-member Bulldog senior class before their last game at Margie Wright Diamond - Angotti (Clovis, Calif.), Brazil (Turlock, Calif.), catcher Kim Fisher (Fresno, Calif.), Vonnie Martin (Plano, Texas) and Ortiz (Lodi, Calif.).
Angotti has started 68 of her 82 games played the last two years in left field and at DP. This year, she has stolen five bases, and is hitting .392 in MW play. Last year, the former walk-on and Clovis native was one of the team's biggest surprises, and led Bulldog starters with her .323 season average.
Brazil has a team-leading 10 homers this year, and her 26 career-wise for the `Dogs is seventh-most in school history. Likewise, her .521 career slugging mark is sixth-best in Fresno State history. Nationally this week, she ranked 83rd with her three triples and fifth in the Mountain West, and she also stood eighth in the conference in both homers and RBI.
Fisher also hails from Fresno and was a Bulldog letterwinner last year - her first season with the program. The two seasons prior, she was a team captain for Fresno City College, and with Angotti helped the Rams to a conference title and runner-up finish.
Martin has been an All-MW and All-WAC honoree the last two years. This season, the Plano, Texas native has belted seven homers and boosted her career total to 16 - 11th-most in school history. Her discipline at the plate has been equally impressive, and her 36 walks this season rank 26th nationally, second in the MW, and fourth all-time for the `Dogs.
In her first year at shortstop Ortiz has shown her versatility by helping the team rank ninth nationally with 25 double plays. At the plate, the former second baseman is hitting .338 in MW play this season, and her five triples this year leads the Mountain West and ranks seventh nationally. An All-WAC honoree in 2012, she sports a .309 career hitting mark, and her 12 career triples rank ninth-most in school history.
After Sunday's results, Fresno State softball is now tied for the MW lead with Boise State with 14-7 marks after the Broncos won, 5-4, vs. New Mexico Sunday.
Returning MW champion San Diego State also won vs. SJSU Sunday, 5-3, and is in third place a game back of the lead at 13-8.
Looking ahead, Fresno State caps the regular season this week at Nevada (25-24, 7-14) with three games on Thursday-Saturday, May 8-10 (while Boise State plays three games at San Diego State the same days).
Next Sunday, May 11, the 64-team NCAA Tournament will be revealed on its televised selection show at 7 p.m. PT on ESPNU.
NCAA Regional play then starts Thursday-Sunday, May 15-18 at 16 sites nationally (that will feature four teams at each site playing double-elimination format over the course of three days).
Colorado State 8, Fresno State 7 (May 04, 2014 at Fresno, Calif.)
Colorado State 220 013 0 - 8 14 3 (31-15, 12-9 MW) Fresno State 030 100 3 - 7 6 3 (30-19, 14-7 MW)
Pitchers: Colorado State - REINKE and MANZANARES. Fresno State - Compton, Jill; HARRIS, Hannah(2); LANGDON, Taylor(7) and Gumz, Paige. Win-REINKE(19-9) Loss-HARRIS, Hannah(9-9) T-2:27 A-1341. HR CS - O'CONNOR (11). Weather: 72, wind 1-3 mph
"Catch the Wave!" - Look for Bulldog student-athletes from all sports to be honored at the annual "Night of Champions" awards show Tuesday, May 8 - set for a live video stream start at 6:30 p.m. at www.GoBulldogs.com/Videos
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