'Dogs Open Home Slate with Fresno State Kick-Off This Fri.-Sun.
Feb. 12, 2014
Up Next: Fresno State Kick-Off
Tourney Schedule: http://www.gobulldogs.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/14-kickoff.html
9 am Sacramento State vs. CSUB
11:45 am UCSB vs. CSUB
2 pm UC Riverside vs. Sacramento State
4:15 pm Southern Utah vs. UCSB
6:30 pm Fresno State vs. Southern Utah
TICKET PRICES (All-Tourney - 3-Day / Daily)
*Youth are ages 5-18; Seniors are ages 65 and older;
WHAT'S UP THIS WEEK
Fans can catch 15 games over the course of three days at Bulldog Diamond. Friday's and Sunday's four Bulldog games will be broadcast locally by 790AM ESPN The Deuce, and every Bulldog game will be video-streamed online at the http://www.gobulldogs.com/videos website.
The 44th president of the United States is already scheduled to speak in the Central Valley that day concerning the area's record-breaking drought and accompanying federal aid efforts.
Since the invite was cordially issued Monday afternoon, local newspapers and TV stations have picked up the story as well as ABC News website and ABC radio.
SPECIAL TICKET/MARKETING PROMOTIONS
LAST WEEK'S RECAP
In the season opener vs. No. 8 Oregon, the `Dogs almost topped the returning Pac-12 Champions after it jumped out to a 7-2 lead after two innings. After UO retook the lead, Fresno State re-tied the game, 9-9, in the bottom of the seventh on a Whitney Smith single, then had the bases loaded again in the eighth inning before ultimately falling, 10-9. In its tourney finale, Fresno State lost to returning World Series advancer and No. 7 Arizona State and All-America senior Dallas Escobedo, 7-0.
Offensively for the five-game set, three Bulldogs topped .300 - senior center fielder Brenna Moss (.500, 7 H, RBI, 5 BB), senior third baseman Vonnie Martin (.400, 6 H, 4 RBI, 4 BB) and junior right fielder Michelle Solomon (.353, 6 H, 5 RBI, SB).
ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST
At the plate, two `Dogs were spotted - senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (RBI, second, 9) and All-MW center fielder and junior Brenna Moss (stolen bases, second, 3; runs, fifth, 7; batting, eighth, .500).
Team-wise, the `Dogs might have faced the MW's toughest opening week schedule, but still paced the conference in lowest opposing batting average (.209) and fewest hits allowed (27) and ranked second in ERA (2.68). Fresno State hitters also led MW offensive categories for triples (2) and stood second in stolen bases (8), fourth in walks 922) and fifth in runs (29).
After wins over UC Riverside each of the last three years, Fresno State sports an 11-game series win streak. In other recent meetings last year, UC Santa Barbara won 5-2 in 2013, and the `Dogs split with CSU Bakersfield (3-2 FS win; 5-4 CSUB win) and Sacramento State (3-2 Sac State win, 3-0 Fresno State win). Southern Utah won its last meeting with Fresno State in 2007 (1-0) to end an eight-game `Dog win streak between 1996-2003.
2013 FRESNO STATE KICK-OFF HIGHLIGHTS
In the second day, Brooke Ortiz tallied a game-high three hits in a 4-2 win against UC Davis, while Stesha Brazil hit a solo homer and Michelle Solomon tripled in the team's 5-3 loss to Southern Mississippi.
In the circle, Jill Compton logged three complete games en route to a 3-1 mark and 1.75 ERA for the tournament.
SIZING UP THE 'DOGS IN 2014
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.
NEW TO THE FOLD
Her first recruiting class is entirely from California and includes catcher Niki Kaleialii (Oakley), infielder Liza Liddell (La Verne), and outfielders (Melissa Gilbert (Merced), M.J. Jimenez (Newark), Alanna Layton (Acton), Christina Rodriguez (Livingston) and Kierra Willis (Pleasant Hill).
Kaleialii helped led her team to three Bay Valley Athletic titles and was a two-time captain; Liddell was a four-time all-league selection at third base and shortstop; Jimenez was a three-time All-League pick; Gilbert helped lead Merced High School to three CCC titles; Layton was a CIF All-League First-Team choice; Rodriguez was a multiple all-conference choice; and Willis was a four-time first-team all-league selection.
Willis started all five games opening weekend in Tempe, while Liddell made three appearances at second base. Jimenez pinch-ran ran vs. No. 8 Oregon and Riverside, while Kaleialii saw time behind the plate vs. UC Riverside.
WEEKEND SCOUTING REPORT
UC Riverside (www.GoHighlanders.com): Last week in Tempe, UC Riverside dropped decisions to Fresno State (8-1), New Mexico (11-10), Western Michigan (3-2) and No. 7 Arizona State (11-1 (5)). 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 return senior outfielder Dionne Anderson (.300, 45H, 7 2B). Last year, junior right-hander Alyssa Razo (9-15, 31G, 131.2 IP, 131.2 IP) led the team in wins, strikeouts (54) and ERA (4.52), and sophomore right-hander Alyssa Ercolano (6-11, 5.12) paced the squad 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.
Southern Utah University (www.SUUtbirds.com): Last week at home, the Thunderbirds (1-5) topped Nebraska Omaha (5-1), and lost to Utah State (8-0 (5)), NCAA Tournament returnee BYU (10-2 (5)), Nevada (4-2), East Carolina (6-3) and Grand Canyon (7-3). SUU return nine letterwinners and seven starters from last year's third-place Big Sky finishers that went 18-34 overall, but lost its top two hitters - Kelsey Bryant (.331, 54 H, 5 HR, 36 RBI) and Mikkel Griffin (.305, 50 H, 7 HR, 24 RBI). The pitching staff returns junior right-hander Ariel Hart (11-20, 4.28, 186.2 IP, 123 SO, 69 BB), the team leader in ERA and strikeouts, and sophomore right-hander Ashley Ostler (6.54, 3-4, 55.2 IP, 32 SO, 18 BB). Head coach Kyle Magnusson returns for his fourth season after leading the Thunderbirds to three consecutive conference tournament appearances since taking over the program in 2010.
CSU Bakersfield (www.gorunners.com): The Roadrunners (2-4) are in their first year in the Western Athletic Conference, and last week posted two wins at home over Dayton (1-0, 4-1) and lost to No. 11 Texas A&M (14-8), UCSB (6-0) and Pittsburgh (4-3, 7-5). Sophomore Amber Mills was a 2013 All-PCSC Second-Team honoree as a pitcher/utility player, and junior Kelsie Monroe was an all-conference honorable mention. Centerfielder Laura King led the team last year in batting (.333) and slugging (.424). Third-year head coach Crissy Buck-Ziegler led the Roadrunners to a 15-34 mark in 2013 and their best-ever PCSC record (10-14) and fourth-place placing in the Coastal Division. As a player, the four-year infield/outfield starter helped the Bruins to the 1999 NCAA title. Afterward she worked as an assistant coach at Oregon State and helped the team to a Pac-12 title in 2005 and World Series trip in 2006.
UC Santa Barbara (http://ucsb.prestosports.com): Last week at home, the Gauchos (2-2) topped Dayton (9-8) and CSU Bakersfield (6-0) and lost twice to No. 11 Texas A&M (9-1, 8-0). UCSB returns 14 letterwinners and seven starters from last year's squad that went 31-24 overall and tied for fourth in the Big West (12-12). The team's top returnees include junior utility player Shelby Wisdom (.299, 50 H, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 136 SO), sophomore outfielder Arianna Palomares (.307, 50 H, 12 RBI), and senior infielder Kathryn Pilpil (.287, 27 R, 43 H, 19 RBI). Among the team's losses to graduation, Jessica Soria led the team in batting (.330), hits (62), and stolen bases (22) last season. Seventh-year head coach Brie Galicinao led UCSB to its second 30-win season in her career and claimed her second Big West Conference Coach of the Year (and is the first UCSB coach to twice collect the accolade).
REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS
Last year, Moss smashed the school stolen bases record 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 - 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 2006. Among other all-time Bulldog game bests, Moss's three stolen bases vs. New Mexico tied a school record.
ANOTHER STACKED SCHEDULE
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).
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.
ON PACE IN THE CLASSROOM
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.
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).
ON THE MW CHARTS
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).
MORE ONLINE SOFTBALL INFORMATION
FRESNO STATE SOFTBALL QUICK FACTS
Softball Coaching Staff
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The official name of the school is: California State University, Fresno