Bulldogs To Host Aggies On Strike Out Cancer Weekend
March 26, 2014
BULLDOG SOFTBALL WEEKLY RELEASE
Up Next: Utah State (13-14, 3-0)
**Note: Saturday & Sunday game times adjusted from original schedule due to weather forecasts**
Tickets Prices: Adult Lower Box $15; Adult Upper Reserved $10; Adult G.A. (Outfield Berm) $7; *Senior/Youth Upper Reserved $7; *Senior/Youth G.A. (OF Berm) $5
BULLDOGS RETURN HOME FOR AGGIE SERIES
The `Dogs went 1-2 last weekend at Boise State with its second-game, 24-4 win breaking MW and school records for most runs in a game. Fresno State's 3-2, 10-inning loss in the opener lowered its record in extra-inning contests to 1-2 in 2014, while its 8-1 loss in the finale featured one of its top relief performances this year (11 straight batters retired by Hannah Harris to end the game).
Last weekend, the Aggies swept Colorado State at home to extend their win streak to eight games, then lost to Southern Utah in Provo on Tuesday by a 4-1 score.
In the preseason conference coaches rankings, the `Dogs were picked second (the same as last year's MW finish) just ahead of Boise State (third), while the current conference leader Aggies were picked ninth in the ninth-team league.
SPECIAL WEEKEND PROMOTIONS
Saturday, 6 p.m. - More Strike Out Cancer t-shirts will be given to select fans, and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Central Valley organization will have an info table at the game. The Central California Blood Mobile will be on-site taking pre-game blood donations, and more books will be accepted for the First 5 book drive (but not for free admission).
Sunday, Noon - For Salute to Sundays, free admission is available to active military or veterans with a valid military ID. Look again for Strike Out Cancer t-shirts, while book donations will also be accepted (but not for free admission). Youth can get Freshman Autograph cards signed and run the bases post-game.
FURTHER UP DOWN THE ROAD
Other April series at home include San Diego State (Fri.-Sun., April 11-13) and UNLV (Fri.-Sun., April 25-27), while it also has mid-week games at St. Mary's (Wed., April 16) and at San Jose State (Tue., April 22 (doubleheader); Wed., April 23).
The `Dogs open May with three home tilts vs. Colorado State (Fri.-Sun., May 2-4), then wrap the regular season at Nevada (Thu.-Sat., May 8-10).
RECENT BULLDOG TEAM NOTES
Among MW conference all-time records, the tally also bested the previous MW best of 21 runs set by BYU (vs. Utah Valley, 4/16/08) and Utah (vs. Hampton (3/19/11), while the former best in MW-only play was set by CSU vs. Utah (20, 4/21/07).
The `Dogs had four players homer in the second game - a season high and two shy of their school record. With the round trippers by senior Stesha Brazil and Vonnie Martin, junior Kelly Megee and sophomore Paige Gumz it was the second time this year that the squad a multiple players homer in the same game (and the other came courtesy of Brazil and junior Michelle Solomon two weeks ago vs. NMSU).
For the three games on the weekend, seven Bulldog starters topped .300 - junior center fielder Brenna Moss (.538, 7-13, RBI, 4 SB), senior left fielder Kapri Angotti (.500, 4-for-8, RBI), sophomore catcher Paige Gumz (.444, 4-for-9, HR, 3 RBI), junior right fielder Michelle Solomon (.417, 5-for-12, 2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, SB), junior DP Kelly Megee (.400, 2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, HBP), sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith (.364, 4-for-11, RBI, BB) and senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (.364, 4-for-12, HR, 4 RBI, BB).
RECENT BULLDOG HEROES
Combined for the three games at the Broncos, she led the team in batting (.538), on-base percentage (.538), hits (7) and stolen bases (4), and stood second in runs (4). On the season, she paces the squad in batting (.368), hits (35), runs (23) and stolen bases (15), and ranks third in on-base percentage (.417) and total bases (39), and fourth in slugging (.411).
Junior right fielder Michelle Solomon hit safely in all three games at Boise State, including her fifth and sixth multi-hit games in the opening two contests (2-for-5; 2-for-4). Her homer vs. the Broncos in the opener was her fourth of 2014, and her double and triple in the second tilt gave her a team-leading 12 extra-bases this campaign. Her 3 RBI in the second game was one off her season high vs. UC Riverside and marked her sixth multi-RBI tilt of the year (second-most on the squad).
Senior first baseman Stesha Brazil clubbed her team-leading sixth homer of 2014 vs. Boise State (and one of two homers the last four games). Career-wise, she now has 22 homers to move into a tie for seventh all-time for the `Dogs with former All-WAC honoree Caitlin Stiglich. Her 2-for-3 finale was her sixth multi-hit game of the season (second-best on the squad). The week before, she claimed her third game-winning RBI of the year vs. the Aggies (an RBI single).
Junior DP Taylor Green has started seven of the last 12 games at DP to go along with a team-high 12 pinch-hit appearances on the season. Her double vs. St. Mary's was her third two-bagger the last 26 at-bats, while others came in back-to-back pinch-hit appearances vs. Virginia and LIU Brooklyn in Palm Springs. Three weeks ago, she had her first multi-hit game of the season vs. No. 6 Washington (2-for-3), and her first RBI came vs. St. Mary's via a seventh-inning infield ground-out. Overall she has hit safely in six of her last 11 games.
Sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith has hit safely in eight of the last nine games including the last five straight. In the opener vs. Boise State (2-for-4), she posted her second multi-hit game of the season. Also in that stretch, she hit her third double of 2014 vs. Ohio State, and a two-run single in the sixth inning vs. New Mexico State in the 6-3 victory. Three weekends ago, she claimed her first game-winning RBI of 2014 with her fifth-inning RBI single in the 1-0 win against No. 6 Washington.
Last weekend at Boise State, sophomore Hannah Harris (4-4) logged the team's second-game win and her five-inning effort marked her second complete game of 2014. In the finale, she pitched the final 3.2 innings and retired all 11 batters she faced with two strikeouts and no walks or hit batsmen en route to her first game finished in relief of the season. In the circle for the weekend, she led the team in ERA (3.23) and lowest opponent batting (.281).
Two weekends ago, All-MW returnee Jill Compton logged her fourth shutout of the year in the 3-0 Fresno State Classic finale over St. Mary's, and allowed no walks for the first time in 2014, along with four hits, and struck out four. In the 3-1 win over Ohio State, the sophomore registered a season-high nine strikeouts and allowed only one earned run. In her 6-4 decision Saturday over New Mexico State, she pitched the final six innings, and her seven strikeouts was her second-best tally of season. She also made the Thursday start vs. Pacific, and allowed no earned runs in five innings, struck out two and walked one.
Two weeks ago, redshirt sophomore Kiley Shae Aldridge was tabbed the MW Pitcher of the Week after her first career shutout and 1-0 win over No. 6 Washington the Sunday before. That start was her first in nearly two years after redshirting last year because of a knee injury/surgery and featured nine strikeouts - a team season high (and three times her previous career best (3)) - and only three hits allowed.
Sophomore catcher Paige Gumz hit her first career homer in the Boise State second-game win. Her 3-for-4 day also featured her career highs in hits (3-tie) and RBI (3). Two weeks ago at home vs. St. Mary's, she also lined a sixth-inning two-run single up the middle in the 3-0 win. In mid-February, her first multi-hit effort of the year came in the Mary Nutter Classic vs. Virginia (2-for-5), and she also threw out a base stealer that day vs. both Virginia and Texas.
In her first start in nearly three weeks, senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz hit safely in the final two games vs. Boise State, and her two-RBI second game featured her first double and third multi-RBI tilt of the year. The week before, she hit a game-winning RBI infield single in the fifth inning of the 3-1 win vs. Ohio State - her first start since the February 23rd game vs. No. 2 Tennessee.
In the 24-4 win at Boise State last weekend, senior third baseman Vonnie Martin hit her second career grand slam and fourth homer of the season in the 13-run first inning. The week before vs. Pacific, she logged one of her six multi-hit games of the season with her 2-for-3 day. She hit her third homer of the year vs. the Tigers and also had a RBI single. Also in the Fresno State Classic, she drew two walks vs. New Mexico State and sports a team-leading count of 26 this year.
Junior first baseman/DP Kelly Megee launched her first career homer in the 24-4 win vs. Boise State and reached base in all four appearances with her two walks and hit by pitch. She also had a pinch-hit single in the seventh inning in the first game vs. Boise State the day before - her first hit of the season.
ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Former All-MW honoree and sophomore right-hander Jill Compton added third-place rankings in wins (10), starts (16) and opponent batting (.236), and stood fourth in wins (10) and ERA (1.97), and fifth in innings (100.1) and strikeouts (73).
At the plate, four `Dogs were spotted offensively - junior right fielder Michelle Solomon (triples, second, 3), senior third baseman Vonnie Martin (walks, third, 26), senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (homers, fourth, 6; RBI, fourth, 29) and All-MW center fielder and junior Brenna Moss (stolen bases, third, 15; runs, fourth, 23; hits, fourth, 35).
Team-wise, the Bulldog pitchers still pace the conference in saves (4) and lowest opposing batting average (.262), and stood third in ERA (3.02).
Six other `Dogs stood top 130 nationally - senior third baseman Vonnie Martin (walks, 10th, 0.92 p/g), sophomore pitcher Jill Compton (shutouts, 27th, 4; ERA, 108th, 1.97; strikeouts, 127th, 73), junior right fielder Michelle Solomon (triples, 73rd, 3), sophomore catcher Paige Gumz (sacrifice flies, 52nd, 2), senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (RBI, 65th, 2) and junior center fielder Brenna Moss (stolen bases, 81st, 0.42 p/g).
Team-wise, Fresno State's highest national rankings were in double plays (46th, 0.38 p/g), stolen bases (66th, 1.31 p/g), ERA (71st, 2.73), triples (73rd, 0.23 p/g) and win-loss percentage (90th, .577).
Fans can find NCAA statistics updated every Monday at the http://stats.ncaa.org/rankings/ranking_summary URL address.
BULLDOG-AGGIE SERIES HISTORY
2013 FRESNO STATE-UTAH STATE SERIES REWIND
AGGIE SCOUTING REPORT (www.UtahStateAggies.com)
RPI ON THE RISE
This week's RPI rating is again ahead of last year's year-end position (116), and a full current listing is available here ( http://www.ncaa.com/rankings/softball/d1/ncaa-womens-softball-rpi ).
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 20 games this year, while Liddell has made six starts at second base among her 13 appearances. Rodriguez had appeared in 17 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 has seen time behind the plate vs. UC Riverside, No. 25 Texas and Boise State.
REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS
At the plate, senior first baseman Stesha Brazil drilled her sixth homer of the season last week at Boise State, and her 22 career-wise is seventh-most in school history.
Junior center fielder Brenna Moss stole four more bases last weekend to up her career total to 60 - second-best for Fresno State just ahead of former All-American Becky Witt (third, 51, 1998-2001). Her mid-February triple against No. 2 Tennessee moved her to 15 career-wise and into a tie for fifth all-time for the `Dogs.
Among all-time game bests, her three stolen bases vs. Boise State and her four runs opening week vs. UC Riverside tied team game records.
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 in February 2013. Her seven-inning, five-strikeout performance also made her the first 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 39 bases after 28 games (which would equate to 71 in a 51-game season).
ANOTHER STACKED SCHEDULE
In the opening months of the year, Fresno State faces 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).
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.
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).
ALL-TIME BULLDOG CAREER RANKINGS
ALL-TIME BULLDOG SEASON RANKINGS
THIS WEEK'S MW STANDINGS
NOTABLE MW INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS (NCAA)
NOTABLE 2014 MW TEAM RANKINGS (NCAA)
Complete NCAA Stats - http://bit.ly/1gPx6rG
2014 MW Preseason Poll
MORE ONLINE SOFTBALL INFO
BULLDOG SOFTBALL MEDIA