Feb. 3, 2014
By Geoff Thurner
THIS WEEK'S BULLDOG SOFTBALL ACTION
Up Next: Kajikawa Classic
Host Website: www.TheSunDevils.com
Dates: Friday-Sunday, February 7-9, 2014
Site: Farrington Stadium / Tempe Sports Complex - Tempe, Ariz.
Tourney Schedule: http://www.thesundevils.com/pdf9/2595788.pdf
Friday, Feb. 7
1:30 p.m. Fresno State vs. Oregon Farrington Field (ASU)
4 p.m. Fresno State vs. N.C. State Farrington Field (ASU)
Saturday, Feb. 8
10 a.m. Fresno State vs. Appalachian State Tempe S.C.(Field 4)
12:30 p.m. Fresno State vs. UC Riverside Tempe S.C.(Field 4)
Sunday, Feb. 9
11:30 a.m. Fresno State at Arizona State Farrington Field (ASU)
BULLDOGS KICK OFF 37TH SEASON IN TEMPE
This weekend, the Fresno State softball team opens the 2014 season against several of the nation's top teams in the Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State, Fri.-Sun., February 7-9.
The `Dogs kicks off the tournament vs. Super Regional returnee and No. 8 Oregon, and two of its other games are vs. NCAA Tournament returnee N.C. State and at Women's College World Series returnee and No. 7 Arizona State. Also slated in the three-day, five-game slate are Saturday tilts vs. Appalachian State and UC Riverside.
BREAKING DOWN THE FIELD
The No. 8 Ducks and No. 7 Sun Devils finished 1-2 in the Pac-12 last year, respectively, while N.C. State won the 2013 ACC Tournament and received the 32nd-most votes in the recent NFCA preseason national poll. Appalachian State won the 2013 regular season Southern Conference title (17-7) en route to a 31-22 overall mark, and UC Riverside comes off a 20-35 season in 2013.
SIZING UP THE BULLDOGS IN 2014
Second-year Fresno State head coach Trisha Ford welcomes back starters at seven of the eight field positions, and 2013's top three pitchers. All four of last year's All-MW picks are also back - senior infielder Vonnie Martin, junior outfielder Brenna Moss and sophomore pitcher Jill Compton and catcher Paige Gumz - while senior infielder Brooke Ortiz was an All-WAC choice in 2011.
Last year in Ford's first season, the Bulldogs went 30-24 overall and tied for second in the MW Conference with an 11-7 mark.
The `Dogs will meet the Wolfpack and Mountaineers for the first time in school history, and own all-time edges vs. the other three teams - Arizona State (18-10), Oregon (29-3) and UC Riverside (10-1).
After 7-3 wins over UC Riverside each of the last two years, Fresno State sports a 10-game series win streak. In other most recent meetings, the `Ducks won in 2012 (5-4) on a seventh-inning comeback in Fresno, as did the Sun Devils (4-0) that spring as both advanced to the Women's College World Series in 2012.
Head Coach Trisha Ford owns a 1-0 mark in season openers with the Bulldogs after the `Dogs topped UTEP, 10-2, in five innings last year at home in the Fresno State Kick-Off. In her two prior years as the head coach at St. Mary's, she also defeated San Francisco State in 2002 (1-0) and lost to Oregon State in 2003 (11-1) in season openers.
2013 OPENING WEEKEND HIGHLIGHTS
Last February, the `Dogs kicked off Trisha Ford's first games as the helm with a 4-1 record in the Fresno State Kick-Off Tournament. The `Dogs began the weekend with a 10-2 five inning win over UTEP and went on to beat UC Riverside, 7-3. On the second day, the Bulldogs split with a 5-3 loss to Southern Miss 5-3 in eight innings and 4-2 victory over UC Davis. The Bulldogs concluded the weekend with a 3-2 win over Sacramento State.
Among offensive highlights vs. UTEP, Vonnie Martin hit her first career grand slam in her first at-bat of 2013, and Brenna Moss added a base-clearing triple the same inning. Team-wise for the weekend, the `Dogs hit .304 with 41 hits four doubles, two triples, two home runs and 19 RBI.
WEEKEND SCOUTING REPORT
No. 8 Oregon (www.GoDucks.com): The Ducks won their first-ever Pac-12 title last year with a 19-5 league mark and advanced to their fourth straight Super Regional en route to a 50-11 mark. UO graduated three former All-Americans (pitcher Jessica Moore, outfielder Sam Pappas and second baseman Kaylan Howard), but return All-America junior center fielder Janie Takeda (.442, 92 H, 5 HR, 31 SB), senior catcher Alexa Peterson (.424, 39H, 12 HR), and All-Pac-12 Freshman Team pitcher Cheridan Hawkins (19-5, 1.55, 212 SO, 34 BB, 140.1 IP). Fifth-year head coach Mike White has led Oregon to one Women's College World Series bid and a 16-8 postseason mark, and has mentored six All-Americans, 18 All-Region picks and 13 All-Pac-12 choices.
N.C. State (www.GoPack.com): The Wolfpack won last year's ACC Tournament title to earn its third-ever NCAA Tournament invitation and first since 2006 and `07. Among the team's 11 returning letterwinners, top offensive returnees include junior shortstop Renada Davis (.305, 58H, 10 2B, 26 HR, 51 RBI), sophomore first baseman Hanna Sommer (.297, 46H, 11 HR, 30 RBI) and senior catcher Kirsty Grant (.293, 43H, 10 2B, 6 HR). Junior right-hander Emily Weiman pitched 323.1 of the team's 369 innings last spring, and her season stats follow (1.97, 271 strikeouts, 79 walks, 267 hits, 10 shutouts, .219 opposing batting average). In 2013, head coach Shawn Rychcik became the first ACC softball coach to win a conference tourney in his/her first season, and last year's team set school records for homers (88), runs (266) and slugging (.491).
Appalachian State (www.AppStateSports.com): The Mountaineers return seven starters in the field and two key pitchers from last year's 31-22 squad that won the Southern Conference regular season title last year with a 17-7 mark. Junior catcher Sarah Warnock is the team's returning leader in batting (.376), slugging (.515) and hits (62). Among other returnees, other offensive leaders include senior first baseman Lindsay Loudermilk (37 RBI) and junior outfielder Dani Helchen (15 stolen bases). Head Coach Shae Wesley enters her fourth year at the helm after she was the 2009 National Junior Coach of the Year at Heartland CC (Normal, Ill.).
UC Riverside (www.GoHighlanders.com): The Highlanders went 20-35 last year and sported a 4-20 mark in the Big West. UCR lost its two top hitters from 2013 in Kayla White (.382, 65 H, 11 HR, 33 RBI) and Ariel Shore (.305, 51 H, 11 RBI), but still returns senior outfielder Dionne Anderson (.300, 45H, 7 2B). Last year, junior right-hander Alyssa Razo (9-15, 31G, 131.2 IP, 54 SO, 51 BB, 131.2 IP) led the team in wins, strikeouts and ERA, and sophomore right-hander Alyssa Ercolano (6-11, 5.12) led the team in appearances (33). Head Coach Linda Garza returns for her second season after a stint at Wright State that included a 2010 Horizon League Tournament title and NCAA Tournament invite.
No. 7 Arizona State (www.TheSunDevils.com): The Sun Devils return 10 starters and all four pitchers from last year's World Series advancers that finished second in the Pac-12 (16-8) and went 50-12 overall. All-Region senior outfielder Bailey Wigness led the team last year in hitting (.376), and other top returnees include All-America junior catcher Amber Freeman (.361, 66 H, 11 2B, 18 HR, 61 RBI), All-America senior shortstop Cheyenne Coyle (.358, 62 H, 11 2B, 20 HR, 66 RBI, 49 BB), junior first baseman Bethany Kemp (.331, 45 H, 9 HR) and All-Region junior third baseman Haley Steele (.330, 61 H, 14 2B, 12 HR). All-America senior right-hander Dallas Escobedo staked a 30-6 mark in 2013 (325 SO, 74 BB, 172 H, 250.2 IP), and senior right-hander Mackenzie Popescue was nearly a 20-game winner (19-6, 140.2 IP, 105 SO, 54 BB, 116H). First-year head coach Craig Nicholson spent the past seven seasons at Ball State and was the 2009 MAC Coach of the Year and led the Cardinals to an NCAA Tournament bid in 2010. Prior to that, he led Central Arizona to four national junior college titles and seven conference titles in his 11 seasons.
In 2013, the Fresno State coaching staff was excited to see the `Dogs rank top 100 in several national team statistical categories, including triples (12th, 0.31 p/g), fielding (24th, .971), stolen bases (29th, 1.61 p/g), double plays (71st, 0.33 p/g) and ERA (73rd, 2.66).
Individually, several `Dogs were also easy to spot on NCAA charts last spring, as junior outfielder Brenna Moss led the nation in triples per game (0.18 average) and stood 15th in stolen bases (0.67 p/g) and 72nd in the toughest to strike out category (1:16.3 at-bats).
Two others hitters stood top 100 - junior infielder Maria Sio (sacrifice hits, fourth, 0.35 p/g) and junior outfielder Michelle Solomon (triples, 95th, 3) - as well as a pair of sophomore pitchers, Jill Compton (shutouts, 35th, 7) and Hannah Harris (walks, 92nd, 1.81 p/7 innings).
ANOTHER STACKED SCHEDULE
Among the Bulldogs' 56 games this year against 35 opponents, its non-conference slates features five WCWS returnees in 2013 national runner-up Tennessee, Arizona State, Nebraska, Texas and Washington.
In the opening months of the year, Fresno State will face another Super Regional advancer (Oregon), a seventh NCAA Regional Finalist (N.C. State) and five other NCAA tourney qualifiers (Arizona, BYU, Houston, San Diego State and San Jose State).
Overall, the `Dogs will play 17 contests against 12 squads that advanced to last year's 64-team NCAA tournament field (not to mention four teams that have combined for 12 national titles in their school histories).
ON TOP OF THE MW
Last year, junior outfielder Brenna Moss not only led the league in triples (9) and stolen bases (stolen bases, 34), as did junior shortstop Maria Sio (sacrifice bunts, 19) and senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (fielding, 1.000).
In other MW stats, Moss stood second in runs (42), and ninth in hits (54), and others ranked top 10 included Brazil (homers, fourth, 10; putouts, fourth, 368; stolen bases, fourth, 15), Michelle Solomon (RBI, fifth, 38; triples, fifth, 3; stolen bases, eighth, 9), Brooke Ortiz (hitting, ninth, .361) and Whitney Smith (assists, second, 11; walks, ninth, 21).
On the MW pitching charts, all three `Dog returnees stood top 10 in multiple categories - sophomores Jill Compton (starts, second, 31; appearances, third, 39; strikeouts, fourth, 144; opposing batting, fourth, .242; innings, fourth, 193.2; wins, fifth, 15; ERA, seventh, 300), Hannah Harris (saves, first-tied, 2; ERA, fifth, 2.37; games finished, fifth, 10; games in relief, sixth, 10; opposing batting, seventh, .259; wins, ninth, 9) and Taylor Langdon (ERA, second, 1.92; games in relief, third, 13; games finished, third, 12; fewest walks allowed, third, 12; fewest hits allowed, eighth, 57).
REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS
Junior outfielder Brenna Moss smashed the school stolen bases record last year with her 34 swipes - seven better than the former mark (27) shared by Haley Gilleland (2011) and Karen Tabor.
Moss's nine triples was also second-best in `Dog history behind All-American Laura Berg (11, 1995), while two others stood top 15 in other season rolls - Maria Sio (sacrifices, 14th-tie, 19) and Vonnie Martin (hitting streak, eighth-tie, 14 games).
Sophomore pitcher Jill Compton also made history with the program's 70th no-hitter vs. St. Mary's last February. Her seven-inning, five-strikeout performance also made her the Bulldog freshman to achieve the feat since 2007.
Among other all-time Bulldog game bests, Moss's three stolen bases vs. New Mexico tied a school record.
ON PACE IN THE CLASSROOM
After a successful season on the field and in the classroom, six Fresno State softball players were named to the 2013 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete team that was released last October.
The group of senior infielder Brooke Ortiz, junior infielder Kelly Megee and catcher/infielder Taylor Green, sophomore pitcher/utility player Hannah Harris and Taylor Langdon and former senior outfielder Diane Runge were selected based on their +3.50 grade point averages for the 2012-13 academic year.
The six-member class tied the largest in Bulldog softball history, and are among 39 Fresno State players that have received similar honors since the 1997-98 school year. Runge and Ortiz are three- and two-time honorees and the 10th and 11th Bulldogs to claim multiple honors. In addition, Runge and Ortiz were CoSIDA Academic All-District First-Team choices in 2013 and `12, respectively.
Last spring, nine `Dogs picked up Academic All-Mountain West honors - Harris, Langdon, Megee, Ortiz, Runge, senior catcher/infielder Stesha Brazil and infielder/outfielder Vonnie Martin, junior center fielder Brenna Moss and sophomore infielder Whitney Smith.
Overall in school history, the softball team has racked up 108 academic all-conference honors since it began WAC play in 1993 and MW action in 2013.
PRIDE OF THE VALLEY
Two players are from the Fresno area directly - seniors Kapri Angotti (Clovis) and Kim Fisher (Fresno) - and also played their initial collegiate seasons at Fresno City College. Two others' hometowns are less than an hour's drive away - freshman Melissa Gilbert (Merced) and sophomore Bria Kennedy (Hanford), and two other starters are from the Central Valley, senior Stesha Brazil (Turlock) and junior Brenna Moss (Bakersfield).
Looking northward, seven players matriculated from the Bay Area - freshmen Christina Rodriguez (Livingston), Niki Kaleialii (Oakley), M.J. Jimenez (Newark) and Kierra Willis (Pleasant Hill), sophomores Kiley Shae Aldridge (Lompoc) and Whitney Smith (Auburn) and junior Brooke Ortiz (Lodi).
Ten players hail from the nation's most fertile softball fields (Southern California) - freshmen Alanna Layton (Acton) and Liza Liddell (La Verne),sophomores Jill Compton (Oceano); Hannah Harris (Santa Barbara), Taylor Langdon (Glendora) and Paige Gumz (Chino Hills) and juniors Michelle Solomon (Beaumont) Maria Sio (Lake Forest), Kelly Megee (Riverside) and Taylor Green (Chino Hills).
The team's only non-California resident is senior Vonnie Martin (Plano, Texas) who is only a 22-hour 1,556-mile drive from Fresno.
2013 MW STANDINGS
Pl. Team MW Record Pct. Overall
1. San Diego State 13-5 .722 36-20
2. Fresno State 11-7 .611 30-24
2. Colorado State 11-7 25-24
4. Nevada 9-9 .500 30-23
4. Boise State 9-9 25-26
6. UNLV 7-11 .389 21-31
7. New Mexico 3-15 .167 21-35
2013 ALL-MW TEAMS
> Jill Compton, Fresno State - RHP, Fr.
> Paige Gumz, Fresno State - C, Fr.
> Vonnie Martin, Fresno State - 3B, Jr.
> Brenna Moss, Fresno State - OF, So.
Holly Bourke, BSU - OF, Sr.
Devon Bridges!, BSU - 1B, Jr.
Tara Glover!, BSU - OF, Jr.
Chelsea Biglow!, CSU - 3B, Jr.
Kacie McCarthy!, CSU - RHP, Sr.
Ashlie Ortega!, CSU - SS, Jr.
Karley Hopkins, Nev. - 2B, Jr.
Jasmine Jenkins, Nev. - 3B, Fr.
Rebecca Arbino!, SDSU - RHP, Sr.
Lorena Bauer, SDSU - DP, Jr.
Patrice Jackson!, SDSU - OF, Jr.
Danielle O'Toole, SDSU - LHP, Fr.
Emily Haslinger, UNLV - C, Fr.
Amanda Oliveto, UNLV - RHP, Jr.
Stefany Valentino!, UNLV - OF, Jr.
Tayler Van Acker%, UNLV - 1B, Jr.
Player of the Year - Patrice Jackson, SDSU
Pitcher of the Year - Rebecca Arbino, SDSU
Freshman of the Year - Danielle O'Toole, SDSU
Coach of the Year - Kathy Van Wyk, SDSU
! 2012 All-MW Selection; % 2011 All-MW Selection
FRESNO STATE QUICK FACTS
Location: Fresno, Calif.
President: Dr. Joseph I. Castro
Colors: Red & Blue
Conference: Mountain West
Facility: Bulldog Diamond (3,288)
Director of Athletics: Thomas C. Boeh
Senior. Associate AD/SWA Michael Boele
Softball Coaching Staff
Head Coach Trisha Ford (St. Mary's,1999)
Career Record-Yrs 72-88 (3)
School Record -Yrs / MW 30-24 (1) / 11-7
Assistant Coach Sara Pickering, 2nd Year (Washington, `97)
Assistant Coach Carly Wynn, 2nd Year (Florida State, `10)
Team Manager Halle Ortiz
Athletic Trainers Colin Mulligan, Taylor Mickelson
Returning All-MW Vonnie Martin (2012, `13), Jill Compton (`13), Paige Gumz (`13), Brenna Moss (`13)
Returning All-WAC Brooke Ortiz (2011)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost 17/4
Position Starters Returning/Lost 7/1
Position Players Returning/Lost/New 13/3/7
Infielders Returning/Lost/New 9/1/2
Outfielders Returning/Lost/New 4/2/5
Pitchers Returning/Lost/New 4/1/1
Bulldog Softball History
All-Time Record (Years) 1592-594-1 (36)
All-Time NCAA D1 Record (Yr) 1508-537-1 (32)
All-Time Home Record (Yr) 821-208-1 (36)
All-Time Conf. Record (Yr) 635-158 (36)
All-Time MW Record (Years) 11-7 (1)
Conference Titles 21 (1978, 82, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 96, 98, 99, 2000, 01, 02, 04, 05, 06, 09)
AIAW Tourn. Appearances 4 (1978, 79, 80, 81)
NCAA Tourn. Appearances 30 straight (1982-2012)
NCAA Titles 1 (1998)
NCAA Runner-up Finishes 4 (1982, 88,89, 90)
WCWS Trips 12 (1982, 84, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 94, 97, 98, 99)
Academic All-Americans 18
All-Region Selections 110
All-Conference Selections 181
Olympians 12 players / 1 coach
NPF Professional Draft Picks 23
2013 MW Team Rankings (NCAA Ranking if available)
Batting .279, 4th (106th)
Slugging .377, 6th (172nd)
On-Base Pct. .340, 5th
Runs 205, 6th (185th)
RBI 173, 6th
Doubles 41, 6th (271st)
Triples 17, 1st (12th)
Homers 22, 6th (208th)
Total Bases 544, 5th
Walks 124, 5th
Hit by Pitch 12, 7th
Stolen Bases 87, 1st (29th)
ERA 2.62, 2nd (73rd)
Opposing Batting .254, 2nd
Batters Struck Out 184, 7th
Batters Struck Out Looking 62, 5th
Wins 30, 2nd (11th)
Saves 2, 4th
Fewest Hits Allowed 352, 1st
Fewest Runs Allowed 172, 2nd
Fewest ER Allowed 135, 2nd
Fewest Walks Allowed 104, 2nd
Fielding .970, 1st (24th)
Double Plays 19, 3rd (71st)
Fewest SB Against 26, 1st
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