Bulldogs to Wrap Tourney Run with Fresno State Classic
March 12, 2014
FRESNO STATE SOFTBALL WEEKLY RELEASE
Up Next: Fresno State Classic
Thursday, March 13
Friday, March 14
Saturday, March 15
Sunday, March 16
*Asterisk indicates home team
WHAT'S UP THIS WEEK
This weekend's action wraps a majority of the `Dogs' non-conference slate, while the MW season begins next week with a three-game swing at Boise State, Fri.-Sun., March 21-23.
Last weekend in the Judi Garmin Classic in Fullerton, the `Dogs staked their first wins vs. top-25 teams since February 2012 with 1-0 shutouts of World Series returnees and No. 6 Washington and No. 14 Nebraska.
In return for her success on Sunday vs. the Huskies, redshirt sophomore pitcher Kiley Shae Aldridge picked up the team's first MW Pitcher of the Week honor of 2014 on Tuesday - the fourth player/pitcher weekly conference honor under second-year head coach Trisha Ford.
TICKET PRICES: 4-DAY PACKAGE / DAILY RATES
SPECIAL MARKETING / FAN PROMOTIONS
Pacific (Thu., March 13, 5 p.m.) - Social Media Madness Night means 2 for 1 ticket deals for all fans who like or follow a Fresno State Athletics Social Media Account.
Ohio State (Fri., March 14, 6 p.m.) - On Greek Night, the Greek House with the largest attendance will receive a $250 Visa gift card for their house. Free Youth Jersey Friday earns free admission for kids wearing jerseys with a paid adult.
St. Mary's (Sun., March 16, 3:45 p.m.) - For Salute to Sundays, all active military and veterans receive free admission with a valid military ID.
RECENT TOURNAMENT RECAP
RECENT BULLDOG HEROES
Combined for the five games in the Judi Garmin Classic, Aldridge led the team in ERA (0.00), fewest hits allowed (3), strikeouts (9) and opponent batting average (.130).
In her shutout vs. Nebraska, sophomore Jill Compton held the Huskers to four hits and no runs after it put five runners into scoring position. She struck out five NU batters and walked only one. She also pitched her first of two complete games on the weekend (the other came vs. CS Fullerton) and seven on the season. It was her second 1-0 shutout of an NCAA Tournament returnee after she topped returning ACC Tournament champion N.C. State opening weekend.
Returning All-MW center fielder and junior Brenna Moss was the only `Dog to have multiple multi-hit games on the weekend, and banged out two hits vs. Houston (2-for-4), No. 14 Nebraska (2-for-3) and No. 6 Washington (2-for-3).
For the weekend, she led the team in batting (.353), hits (6), runs (2), doubles (2), slugging (.412) and stolen bases (1). Defensively, she threw out her fifth base-runner this season in the first inning vs. Houston at third base on an overthrow by the catcher on a stolen base attempt.
Against UW, she turned a single to center field vs. Washington into a double - interestingly her first career-wise after racking up 15 triples the last 2 1/2 years (and fifth-best career total in school history).
After a pinch-hit triple vs. Cal State Fullerton and pinch-hit single against Houston, freshman left fielder Kierra Willis saw her 14-game reached base streak end vs. No. 14 Nebraska Sunday with a pinch-hit ground-out. She also walked vs. Long Beach State the first game of the weekend, and still ended the tourney with a .400 batting average (2-for-5, 2 walks).
Junior DP Taylor Green made her first starts of the year in the final four games of the Judi Garmin Classic and was one of three `Dogs that topped .333 (4-for-12, HBP). She singled in the first two contests, and also went 2-for-3 vs. No. 6 Washington to tie for the team game high in hits with Brenna Moss.
Junior right fielder Michelle Solomon hit her team-leading second triple of the season in the first inning vs. No. 14 Nebraska - also her second game-winning RBI of the season. She also had an RBI single and walk vs. Houston.
Making all five starts at shortstop last weekend (the first of her career at the position), sophomore Whitney Smith also added her first game-winning RBI of 2014 with her fifth-inning single against No. 6 Washington.
Freshman Liza Liddell made her first five starts as a collegian last weekend at second base, and collected her first hit as `Dog vs. CS Fullerton.
ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Former All-MW honoree and sophomore right-hander Jill Compton added third-place rankings in wins (7) and starts (11) and fourth in opponent batting (.220), and sophomore Hannah Harris ranked ninth in starts (7).
At the plate, five `Dogs were spotted offensively - senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (RBI, fourth, 22; homers, fifth, 4), All-MW center fielder and junior Brenna Moss (runs, third, 18; stolen bases, third, 9), junior right fielder Michelle Solomon (triples, second, 2; hit by pitch, third, 3), senior third baseman Vonnie Martin (walks, third, 20) and freshman left fielder Kierra Willis (walks, sixth, 13).
Team-wise, the Bulldog pitchers still pace the conference in saves (4), and stood second in lowest opposing batting average (.255) and third in ERA (2.98).
Six other `Dogs stood top 80 nationally - senior third baseman Vonnie Martin (walks, ninth, 0.68 p/g), sophomore pitcher Jililan Compton (shutouts, 28th, 3), junior right fielder Michelle Solomon (triples, 32nd, 2), sophomore catcher Paige Gumz (sacrifice flies, 33rd, 2), senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (RBI, 57th, 1.10 p/g) and junior center fielder Brenna Moss (stolen bases, 80th, 0.45 p/g).
Team-wise, Fresno State's highest rankings were in triples (34th, 0.30 p/g), stolen bases (72nd, 1.36 p/g), ERA (79th, 2.90) and win-loss percentage (87th, .600).
NCAA statistics are updated every Monday at the http://stats.ncaa.org/rankings/ranking_summary URL address.
2013 FRESNO STATE CLASSIC REWIND
Versus the World Series-returning Bears, Jill Compton dealt six scoreless and hitless innings before a seventh-inning Cal homer proved the difference in the 1-0 decision. The All-MW selection struck out a career-high 10 Cal batters, while two `Dogs hit safely - Brenna Moss (1-for-3) and Paige Gumz (1-for-3) against Cal's former Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Valerie Henderson.
In the opener, Taylor Langdon earned her sixth win of 2013 after throwing two scoreless relief innings vs. the Cyclones, while pinch-hitter Kelly Megee hit a bases-loaded, game-winning RBI single in the seventh inning. In the final, Hannah Harris recorded her first complete game shutout in a three-hitter over the Gaels.
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 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 has started 19 games this year, while Liddell has made five starts at second base among her 11 appearances. Rodriguez had appeared in 13 games as a pinch-runner and stole bases vs. Sacramento State and Long Beach State; Jimenez pinch-ran ran vs. No. 8 Oregon and Riverside; and Kaleialii saw time behind the plate vs. UC Riverside and No. 25 Texas.
Last year, Fresno State beat Pacific (1-0); split with Cal Poly (6-5 loss, 6-1 win); and went 2-1 vs. St. Mary's (1-0 and 8-0 (6) wins; 3-2 loss).
In other most recent meetings, Fresno State won all three games vs. New Mexico State in 2012 (1-0, 3-1, 2-1), and the Buckeyes won 3-0 in 2012 (while Fresno State's last series wins came in 2004 (1-0, 3-2)).
WEEKEND SCOUTING REPORT
Ohio State (www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com): The Buckeyes (9-11) went 3-1 last weekend in the Red and Black Classic with wins vs. Illinois State (6-5), UMass (9-7, 13-3 (5)) and losses to Ohio (7-3) and Louisville (11-5), and other notable wins this year have come vs. Long Beach State (10-8) and Fordham (1-0). Ohio State returns seven starters in the field and all five pitchers from last year's squad that went 34-22 and placed eighth in the Big Ten (10-13). Three Ohio State players are hitting +.300 this year - sophomore outfielder Caitlin Conrad (.368, 21 H, 2 HR, 12 RBI), junior first baseman Evelyn Carrillo (.328, 20 H, 5 2B, 12 RBI, 3 SB) and redshirt sophomore catcher Erika Leonard (.316, 18 H, 4 2B). Four pitchers have split time in the circle with +20 innings of work - sophomore Alex DiDomenico (3.07, 3-2, 21 SO, 14 BB, 30 H), sophomore Olivia O'Reilly (4.45, 1-2, 22 IP, 16 SO, 14 BB, 28 H), freshman Shelby Hurshe (4.47, 2-3, 31.1 IP, 34 SO, 37 BB, 22 H) and redshirt junior Melanie Nichols (4.54, 3-4, 37 IP, 30 SO, 24 BB, 39 H). Second-year head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly sports a 231-185-1 career mark after she spent six seasons as the head coach at Miami (Ohio) and directed the team to two NCAA berths (2009, `12). In her prior work as an assistant coach, she helped Penn State to six NCAA bids and her alma mater Michigan to three Women's College World Series trips. As a pitcher for the Wolverines, she was a 1995 All-American and two-time Big Ten Pitcher of the Year.
Cal Poly (www.GoPoly.com): Last week, the Mustangs (13-9) went 6-0 at home vs. Stony Brook (7-0, 3-1), Fairleigh Dickinson (6-0), Sacramento State (6-1, 6-2) and Santa Clara (3-2), while other notable wins this year have come vs. No. 8 Oregon (6-4), Indiana (9-2), Pacific (7-4), Fordham (10-4) and Maryland (4-0). Cal Poly returns seven starters in the field and one pitcher from last year's squad that went 19-34-1 overall and placed eighth in the Big West (8-16). The squad returns a pair of All-Big West honorable mentions - senior outfielder Kim Westlund and senior catcher Mariah Cochiolo. Tenth-year head coach Jenny Condon is a three-time Big West Conference Coach of the Year. She has led the team to a 245-229-1 record and pair of NCAA tourney appearances and Big West titles in 2007 and '09.
New Mexico State (www.NMstatesports.com): The Aggies (15-10) went 2-3 last week with wins over Northern Colorado (3-2) and UT Arlington (4-3) and losses to UTEP (5-1), UT Arlington (5-3) and Texas Tech (8-4). Other notable wins earlier this year have come vs. Iowa State (5-4), Texas Tech (8-6) and UNLV (5-4). NMSU returns five starters in the field and 14 letterwinners from last year's squad that went 37-20 overall and 16-5 in the WAC. Senior outfielder Staci Rodriguez was the 2013 WAC Player of the Year, and this season leads the team this year in batting (.418), hits (28), homers (9), RBI (29) and on-base percentage (.545). Four other Aggies are topping +.300 this year - sophomore infielder Fiana Finau (.382, 26 H, 9 HR, 22 RBI), sophomore UT Emma Adams (.359, 23 H, 4 SB), junior catcher Lacey Rother (.352, 19 H, 12 RBI) and freshman catcher Devon Thomey (.326, 15 H, 6 SB). Three different NMSU pitchers have five wins this year - senior Celisha Walker (5-4, 3.64, 57.2 IP, 30 SO, 10 BB, 68 H), sophomore Makayla McAdams (5-1, 4.01, 45.1 IP, 18 SO, 13 BB, 53 H) and junior Karysta Donisthorpe (5-5, 5.14, 42 SO, 35 BB, 56 H). Eleventh-year head coach Kathy Rodolph sports a 305-291 mark in Las Cruces, and was the 2011 WAC Coach of the Year.
St. Mary's (www.SMCgaels.com): The Gaels (9-12) went 5-1 last weekend with wins over Lehigh (2-1, 1-0), Belmont (9-8, 6-0) and Brown (5-3) and a loss to Lehigh (4-2). Other notable wins earlier in the campaign came vs. No. 23 California (4-1), Hawai'i (3-2) and New Mexico State (3-2). Two SMC players topped .300 this week - Cassidy Szeredy (.322, 19 H) and Sarah Lira (.306, 15 H) - and its top two pitchers this year are Lujane Mussadi (3.44, 17-11, 73.1 IP, 28 SO, 20 BB, 90 H) and Sarah Lira (2.11, 5-3, 59.2 IP, 14 SO, 20 BB, 60 H). Tenth-year head coach Jessica Hanaseth-Rodgers has led the Gaels to six 20-win seasons, and the two-time conference coach of the year is the all-time winningest coach in program history with 191 wins. A 2001 graduate of SMC, she ended her career ranked top 10 in school history in RBI (second, 84), doubles (third, 19) and batting (eighth, .284).
REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS
At the plate, senior first baseman Stesha Brazil drilled her third and fourth homers of the season three weeks ago in Cathedral City and moved into sole position of eighth place on the Bulldog career homer list (20).
Junior center fielder Brenna Moss stole another base last weekend ago to up her career total to 54 - second-best for Fresno State just ahead of former All-American Becky Witt (third, 51, 1998-2001). Her triple against No. 2 Tennessee moved her to 15 career-wise and into a tie for fifth all-time for the `Dogs, and her four runs opening week vs. UC Riverside tied a team game record shared by four other Bulldogs.
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). Among other all-time Bulldog game bests, Moss's three stolen bases vs. New Mexico tied a school record.
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.
Last year, the squad combined for a school record 87 stolen bases in 54 contests. For comparison's sake in 2014, the `Dogs have already swiped 28 bases after 20 games (which would equate to 78 in a 56-game season).
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 four other NCAA tourney qualifiers (Arizona, Houston, San Diego State and San Jose State).
Overall, the `Dogs will play 16 contests against 11 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 senior 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.
2014 MW Standings
Notable 2014 MW Individual Rankings (NCAA)
Notable 2014 MW Team Rankings (NCAA)
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