No. 25 `Dogs Open Season at Bulldog Diamond
Fresno State hosts Santa Clara at 6 p.m. Friday.
Feb. 9, 2010
FRESNO, Calif.- For the first time in two years, the Fresno State softball team will open its season in its own backyard at Bulldog Diamond as the `Dogs welcome Santa Clara on opening day for a doubleheader at 6 p.m. on Friday.
Fresno State then welcomes Pacific and Sacramento State for the first of two tournaments in 2010 at Bulldog Diamond, the Fresno State Kick-Off on Saturday and Sunday. Each day three games will be played as the `Dogs take on Pacific at 12 p.m. and Sacramento State at 2 p.m., followed by Pacific vs. Sacramento State at 4 p.m.
Scouting Santa Clara
Santa Clara returns to Bulldog Diamond for the first time since 2008 where the `Dogs earned an 8-0 victory. Fresno State dominates the overall series 42-1 with the Broncos' only win coming in 2003 in Fresno. The `Dogs have won the last eight in the series. The Broncos are led by head coach Lisa Mize in her second year with the team. Mize was a pitcher at Fresno State in 1993. In 2009, Santa Clara posted a 6-49 overall record and a 1-19 record in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference.
The `Dogs picked up a 3-0 win over the Tigers last year in Stockton. This year, Pacific returns to Bulldog Diamond also for the first time since 2008. Fresno State leads the overall series 76-21-1 and has won the last three meetings. Pacific is led by Brian Kolze in his 18th season. In 2009, the Tigers with 18-34 and finished eighth in the Big West Conference with a 3-18 record.
Scouting Sacramento State
Sacramento State returns to Bulldog Diamond after an appearance in the 2008 NCAA Tournament in which Fresno State defeated the Hornets 11-0. Fresno State leads the overall series 27-9 and as won the last eight, dating back to 1995. Kathy Strahan is in her 18th year as head coach and led Sac State to a 28-23 record in 2009 and a second place finish in the PCSC.
Coach Wright's 25th Season at Fresno State
Fresno State head coach Margie Wright enters her 25th season as head coach of the `Dogs and her 31st in collegiate softball. Wright is the Fresno State, WAC and NCAA all-time winningest coach with over 1,100 Fresno State wins, 1,300 career wins and 300 WAC wins. She led the `Dogs to the first team national championship in school history in 1998. Join us in celebrating her 25th year all season long beginning with a special presentation for Coach Wright at the home opener on Feb. 12.
On opening night the first 200 fans to enter Bulldog Diamond will receive a special pin to honor Coach Wright's 25 years at Fresno State. For the Feb. 13 games the theme is "American Pride." All veterans, soldiers and their families will get into all games that day for free. Sunday, Feb. 14 is "Diamond Club Sampling Night." This day honors the booster club that supports Fresno State softball.
`Dogs Favored to Win WAC Title
For the 13th time in 15 years the Bulldog softball team was favored to win the WAC title by the league coaches. The `Dogs won their 21st regular season conference title in 2009 with a 15-5 WAC record. Fresno State also won its third WAC tournament title as the `Dogs went a perfect 3-0 at Bulldog Diamond to earn extend its NCAA record of 28-straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
Melloh and Gilleland Earn Preseason All-WAC Honors
For the second-straight year, Morgan Melloh was named the Preseason Pitcher of the Year in the WAC. Melloh was the 2008 WAC Freshman and Pitcher of the Year and a first-team All-WAC selection in 2009. Haley Gilleland also earned Preseason All-WAC honors after being named second-team All-WAC in 2009.
ASA Top 50 Watch List
For the second-straight year, Fresno State All-American pitcher Morgan Melloh is on the list. The junior left-handed pitcher from Fishers, Ind., was the 2008 WAC Freshman and Pitcher of the Year and a Second-Team All-American. Melloh was the 2009 WAC Tournament MVP, a First-Team All-WAC Selection and a West Region honoree.
In 2009, Melloh became the fourth pitcher in NCAA history to record back-to-back 400 strikeout seasons in her freshman and sophomore campaigns.
The 2010 Pre-Season Watch List is comprised of 50 players representing 35 schools and 14 different NCAA Division I Conferences. The list includes 27 seniors, 17 juniors and six sophomores.
The ASA will announce the 25 finalists on April 7. A player does not have to appear on this initial watch list to be considered as a top 25 finalist. However, once the top 25 finalists are named the winner of the award will come from that list. Freshmen qualify for the top 25 list once they have competed at the collegiate level.
`Dogs Earn Preseason Top 25 Rankings
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) ranked the Bulldogs No. 25 in this year's pre-season poll. The `Dogs were as high as No. 14 in the 2009 NFCA poll and ended the year just outside of the top 25 and receiving votes.
The defending National Champion Washington Huskies are the pre-season favorite and one of 14 Bulldog opponents in 2010 to be ranked in the top 25 or receiving votes. Western Athletic Conference rivals Nevada and Hawai'i are receiving votes.
Since 1988, the `Dogs have been the top-ranked team five times while appearing in the No. 2 spot 35 times, No. 3 slot 32 times and No. 4 spot 20 times.
Fresno State owns a school-best streak of 178-consecutive weeks in the nation's top 25 and has been ranked in the top 10 for 154 weeks since 1983.
Several Bulldogs will look to move up the Fresno State, WAC and NCAA career record books this season. Head coach Margie Wright continues to set records of her own. She is just one win shy of 600 at Bulldog Diamond entering opening weekend. Also with 1,182 win at Fresno State, Wright needs just 18 wins to reach 1,200. Wright is also 55 wins away from 1,400 in her career.
Morgan Melloh is on pace to break the Fresno State and WAC strikeout record this season along with moving up in total appearances, games started, wins, complete games, innings pitched, strikeouts per 7 innings, shutouts and saves.
Junior Haley Gilleland has 38 stolen bases in her career and needs just 12 to tie Becky Witt's school record of 51.
2010 Softball Parking
Due to construction of the brand-new Fresno State aquatic complex on campus, the grass lot (Gray Lot) just east of Bulldog Diamond that softball fans are used to parking in will be unavailable all season.
The Red Lot is the grass lot located next to Beiden Field (Baseball Facility) on the corner of Barstow and Cedar across from the Bulldog Shop. Parking in this lot will be FREE of charge for softball events. Vehicles can enter the Red Lot off of Cedar. The Red Lot will open two hours before the event.
Lot Q is the paved campus parking area, on Barstow and Campus Dr. Lot Q requires a parking pass from 7am-10pm Monday-Thursday and 7am-4pm Friday. Softball fans will be directed to daily ticket machines where an event staffer will assist them with the necessary pass for events during enforced times. Event staffers will be available two hours before each event. The parking pass is FREE of charge for softball events. Those arriving before event staffers are in place are responsible for purchasing a parking pass from the ticket machines.
Lot K (Disabled Parking)
Lot K is the paved campus parking area, off of Barstow in front of the North Gym. This lot is the designated area for disabled parking. Those with disabled placards (license plate or window) will be allowed access to this lot without any other pass. An event staffer will be present at the entrances 2 hours before the event to insure the proper placard is displayed. Vehicles found to not have the proper handicapped placard will be subject to a parking ticket. This parking lot is FREE of charge for softball events.
Blogs and Q&A's
Every Wednesday during the softball season, fans can read a new Q&A from one of the softball student-athletes. All 18 players will be featured during the season. Click on the "Meet the Team" button on the softball page. Every Thursday Bulldog fans can click on the "Blog" button on the softball page to read a new blog throughout the 2010 season about Coach Wright's 25 years at Fresno State. Each week, special blogs from former athletes and staff will touch on her brilliant career.
Check out the 2010 softball team on Wednesday, Feb. 10 on the KMPH Great Day morning show from 5-10 a.m. On Feb. 18, the team will be featured on the KSEE 24 morning show from 5-7 a.m.
Follow Fresno State Athletics 365 days a year on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to get up to the minute scores and breaking news from the Athletic Department.
Two Bulldogs earned academic honors in the Fall of 2009 as junior pitcher Ashley Cox was named to the Dean's List and freshman Diane Runge recorded a perfect 4.0 GPA and was named to the President's List.
"We Are Your Team" - The 2010 Fresno State softball season begins at Bulldog Diamond on Friday, Feb. 12 with a doubleheader vs. Santa Clara beginning at 6 p.m. Season tickets go on sale Jan. 13.