Bulldogs Shuck No. 16/20 Nebraska 1-0
May 20, 2011
PALO ALTO, Calif. - Fresno State's Michelle Moses and Nebraska's Ashley Hagemann went toe-to-toe in a tense ten-inning pitcher's duel before the Bulldogs used small ball to perfection for a 1-0 NCAA Stanford Regional victory over the 16th-ranked Huskers on Friday afternoon at Smith Family Stadium.
After nine scoreless innings, the Dogs' speedster Diane Runge scored the game-winner from second in the tenth frame when she scored on a Demi Walker two-out lightning hot single and Husker shortstop Gabby Banda's throwing error into right field foul territory.
Runge pinch ran for Courtney Moore, who led off the tenth and painfully took a Hagemann pitch on her backside for the free pass.
Senior first baseman Caitlin Stiglich then dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Runge into scoring position.
The win propelled Fresno State (35-17) into a winner's bracket showdown with No. 11/12 Stanford on Saturday at noon.
Moses (16-11) dealt a 10-strikeout performance while she tossed her fifth complete game shutout of the season.
The stirring effort, which included a series of key defensive plays by Fresno State junior leftfielder Andrea Ortega and Haley Gilleland, also marked Moses' fifth win over a Top 25 opponent this season and the Bulldogs' seventh overall against a nationally-ranked team.
Hagemann (29-12) suffered the loss despite throwing a season-high 17 strikeouts - two shy of the junior ace's career-high of 19 in 2009 against North Dakota. Hagemann - a All-Big XII Conference selection - also allowed just two hits over her ten innings of nearly dominant work.
Nebraska fell to 39-13 on the year and must survive a Saturday elimination game at 3 p.m. against Big West champion Pacific, who lost 3-0 to the Cardinal in other Friday action at the Stanford Regional.
Fresno State is now 13-7 all-time versus Nebraska and 4-2 against the Cornhuskers in NCAA Tournament play.
Margie Wright, Head Softball Coach
On Ortega's seventh-inning two-out game-saving catch:
o "When there's two outs, a runner on second, and it's the bottom of the inning, you don't have a choice. Somebody has to catch it."
On the defense making big plays:
o "In the (tenth) inning, the play that Haley made on the short (hop) was `Major League.' It was a well hit ball and she played it just right."
On Nebraska pitcher Ashley Hagemann:
o "She pitched a very good game and was tough to hit. It was tough to get your bat on the ball. For a while we were really struggling with it. I thought she did a very good job."
On the long road of this tournament:
o "You play one game at a time. You know where you want to be at the end. But it's usually a tough road to get there. No matter how you go, every game is a tough game at this point. I give a lot of credit to our team today for the perseverance throughout that whole game. They really stayed sharp and on top of things, and I give them a lot of credit.
Michelle Moses, Jr., Pitcher
On the defense making big plays:
o "We have a great defensive team and when they're colliding to catch a ball and the ball stays off the ground, it's a great feeling to know that the ball can be hit and our defense is going to be in place"
On Nebraska pitcher Ashely Hagemann:
o "She had a lot of movement on the ball. She is a great pitcher. It's tough when it comes down to that one hard hit that makes the difference. Luckily today we came out on top."
"We Are You Team!" - Fresno State will head to its NCAA record 30th postseason tournament May 20-22 for the Stanford Regional. You can always stay connected with Fresno State Athletics on Facebook and Twitter (@FSAthletics).