Bulldogs to Open April in Albuquerque
April 2, 2014
Up Next: New Mexico (10-23, 1-5)
Last weekend, the `Dogs swept Utah State with home wins on Friday (6-0), Saturday (8-0 (5)) and Sunday (4-3) to hand the Aggies their first MW losses of the campaign.
Two days later, senior first baseman Stesha Brazil was rewarded with her first MW Player of the Week honor after she led the team for the three games combined in hitting (.625), slugging (.875), on-base percentage (.727), hits (5), stolen bases (3) and total bases (7).
One of four MW teams with identical conference-leading winning percentages (.667) this week, the `Dogs were picked second in the preseason - the same as last year's MW finish - while the Lobos were tabbed eighth in the ninth-team league.
FURTHER UP DOWN THE ROAD
The `Dogs' then have back-to-back three-game home series vs. UNLV (Fri.-Sun., April 25-27) and Colorado State (Fri.-Sun., May 2-4), then wrap the regular season at Nevada (Thu.-Sat., May 8-10).
RECENT BULLDOG TEAM NOTES
- The `Dogs' five-inning, 8-0 win last Saturday was their fourth +8-run win in less than seven innings in 2014, while its 4-3 win in Sunday's finale was its fifth, one-run victory of the year. Its 6-0 and 8-0 decisions in the first two games marked its seventh and eighth shutouts of the campaign.
- Team-wise, Fresno State held notable offensive edges vs. the Aggies in the three games in hitting (.416-.185), hits (32-12), doubles (7-2), triples (3-1), RBI (16-3), slugging (.584-.246), walks (7-5) and stolen bases (11-0).
- Individually for the three-game series, seven Bulldog hitters topped +.300 - MW Player of the Week and senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (.625, 5H, 3B, 3 SB), junior center fielder Brenna Moss (.455, 5H, 2B, 2 RBI), senior left fielder Kapri Angotti (.429, 3H, SB), sophomore catcher Paige Gumz (.429, 3H, 2B), sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith (.375, 3H, BB), senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz (.364, 4H, 2B, 2 3B, RBI) and junior right fielder Michelle Solomon (.364, 4H, 2 2B, 3 RBI, SB).
- Bulldog pitchers held notable advantages in team comparisons for the three games vs. Utah State in ERA (1.11-6.00), fewest hits allowed (12-32), strikeouts (14-4), fewest walks allowed (5-7) and lowest opponent batting average (.185-.416).
- The `Dogs' seven stolen bases in the Aggie opener was a team season high and one off their school game record from 2013 vs. New Mexico (8). Also in the series, Fresno State posted team season game bests in doubles (5 - Sunday) and triples (2 - Saturday).
RECENT BULLDOG HEROES
Returning All-MW center fielder and junior Brenna Moss upped her team-leading hit streak to nine games vs. Utah State. With her 3-for-4 opener, she now has a team-leading 14 multi-hit games on the season, and she also singled once in both the second and third games. Her two stolen bases in the first tilt was her fifth multi-steal effort of the year and gives her seven swipes the last five games. Season-wise, her 18 stolen bases in 2014 ranks sixth-most in school history and raised her career total to 63 (still second-most all-time for the `Dogs). The week before, her three stolen bases vs. Boise State in the finale tied her Bulldog game record. On the year, she also leads the team in hitting (.377) and hits (40), and in the MW this week, she ranked second in stolen bases and hits, fourth in runs (25) and eighth in batting (.377). She topped in the squad in all four categories this week and stood 32nd nationally in stolen bases.
Junior right fielder Michelle Solomon hit safely in all three games vs. Utah State to raise her current hitting streak to six games. Her 2-for-4 opener vs. the Aggies was her fourth multi-hit game the last eight contests and one of seven overall in 2014. She knocked in an RBI in all three tilts to give her RBI's in seven of the last nine contests. She also added a double in both the first and third games to give her a team-leading 13 extra-base hits this year. The week before in the team's 24-4 win vs. Boise State, her 3 RBI was one off her season high vs. UC Riverside and marked her sixth multi-RBI tilt of the year (second-most on the squad). She also leads the team in triples (3) and ranks second in homers (4), RBI (24) and batting (.293), and ranks top 10 in the MW this week in triples (second, 3) and runs (seventh, 24) and 29th nationally in triples.
Sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith hit safely once in all three games vs. Utah State to give her an eight-game hitting streak and hits in 11 of the last 12 contests. In the finale vs. the Aggies, her one-out single to right field in the seventh inning marked her second game-winning RBI of the year. The day before, her two-run single in the second game vs. the Aggies stood as her second multi-RBI effort of the season. In MW play, she is hitting .368, while on the NCAA charts this week she was the top Bulldog and 83rd nationally in the toughest to strike out category (1:18. at-bats).
Senior third baseman Vonnie Martin drew two more walks last weekend vs. Utah State to up her season total to 28 - two shy of the 10th-best season mark for the `Dogs and 11th-best nationally this week. She also had a game-tying, RBI grounder in the fifth inning in the 4-3 finale win. The weekend before in the 24-4 win at Boise State, she 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 that included a homer and RBI single.
Sophomore catcher Paige Gumz is riding her third, three-game hit streak of the season after the Utah State series. She hit her second double of the year in the second inning of the finale. Two weeks ago, she 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). 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.
With a pair of triples on the weekend vs. Utah State, senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz is tied for the team lead this season (3), and her 10 career-wise is two shy of the Fresno State all-time career list (ninth is 12). She had a pair of hits in both of the final two games vs. the Aggies to give her sixth multi-hit efforts on the year. Three weeks ago, she hit a game-winning RBI infield single in the fifth inning of the 3-1 win over Ohio State.
Junior first baseman/DP Kelly Megee enjoyed the first multi-hit game of her career in the finale vs. the Aggies (2-for-2) after she stroked her first career double in the fifth inning. That start - her third the last two weeks - also gave her five on the season and 14 career-wise. The week before in the 24-4 win vs. Boise State, she drilled her first career homer 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. the Broncos the day before - her first hit of the season.
Senior left fielder Kapri Angotti has hit safely in six straight games, including her third multi-hit effort of the season in the second game win at Boise State (2-for-3, RBI). Against the Aggies, she added her fourth stolen base of the year in the opener, and also made a running catch in the seventh inning in the left center field gap for the penultimate out.
Against Utah State, All-MW returnee Jill Compton (12-6) posted wins in the opener and finale, and led Bulldog pitchers on the weekend in ERA (0.64), innings (11), strikeouts (11) and lowest opposing batting (.114). Her victory in the opener stood as her fifth shutout of the season (23rd-most nationally), and she logged five strikeouts, one walk and three hits allowed in seven innings.
In the finale vs. the Aggies, she posted six strikeouts in four innings of relief, and her one hit allowed was a season low among her 16 games that she has pitched four innings or more. Her six strikeouts was her fifth-highest of the campaign and best among efforts of four innings or less. This week, she ranked 45th nationally in wins (12) and third in the MW, as well as third in the conference in ERA (2.14), opposing batting (.226), starts (17), strikeouts looking (27), and fifth in strikeouts (fifth, 84) and innings (fifth, 111.1).
Last weekend vs. Utah State, sophomore Hannah Harris (5-4) won her second five-inning complete in as many weeks. In the more recent second-game 8-0 decision vs. the Aggies, she struck out two, walked one, and allowed two hits. The week before in the finale at Boise State, she enjoyed one of her best relief efforts of the season, and in her final 3.2 innings she retired all 11 batters she faced with two strikeouts and no walks.
Three 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.
ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Former All-MW honoree and sophomore right-hander Jill Compton added third-place rankings in wins (12), starts (17) and opponent batting (.226) and ERA (2.14), and fifth in innings (111.1) and strikeouts (84).
At the plate, six `Dogs were spotted offensively - All-MW center fielder and junior Brenna Moss (stolen bases, second, 18; hits, second, 40; runs, fourth, 25; batting, eighth, .377), junior right fielder Michelle Solomon (triples, second, 3; runs, seventh, 24), senior third baseman Vonnie Martin (walks, second, 28), senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (homers, fifth, 6; RBI, fifth, 31; triples, fifth, 2; stolen bases, sixth, 9), senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz (triples, second, 3) and senior left fielder Kapri Angotti (sacrifice bunts, eighth, 4).
Team-wise, the Bulldog pitchers still pace the conference in saves (4), fewest homers allowed (14) and lowest opposing batting average (.256), and stood second in ERA (2.85) and fewest hits allowed (203). Offensively, the `Dogs rank first in triples (10) and second in stolen bases (50).
Nine other `Dogs stood top 140 nationally - senior third baseman Vonnie Martin (walks, 11th, 0.90 p/g), sophomore pitcher Jill Compton (shutouts, 23rd, 5; ERA, 107th, 2.13; strikeouts, 124th, 85), junior center fielder Brenna Moss (stolen bases, 32nd, 0.58 p/g; toughest to strikeout, 133rd, 1:15.1 at-bats; runs, 147th, 0.81) senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz (triples, 29th, 3); junior right fielder Michelle Solomon (triples, 29th, 3), senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (RBI, 64th, 1.00 p/g), sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith (toughest to strikeout, 83rd, 1:18 at-bats), sophomore catcher Paige Gumz (sacrifice flies, 85th, 2), and senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (triples, 86th, 2).
Team-wise, Fresno State's highest national rankings were in triples (14th, 0.32 p/g), stolen bases (36th, 1.58 p/g), double plays (43rd, 0.39 p/g), win-loss percentage (74th, .613) and ERA (77th, 2.85).
Fans can find NCAA statistics updated every Monday at the http://stats.ncaa.org/rankings/ranking_summary URL address.
BULLDOG-LOBO SERIES HISTORY
2013 FRESNO STATE-NEW MEXICO REWIND
In the circle, then-freshman Jill Compton posted shutouts in both her starts, and her 14 combined innings featured 22 strikeouts and only four walks and three hits allowed. Then-freshman Hannah Harris allowed only one earned run in her complete game start, and gave up six hits, no walks and one strikeout.
At the plate, Vonnie Martin logged game-winning RBI's in all three contests (game 1 - first-inning single; game 2 - third-inning, two-run single; game 3 - first-inning single). Moss added a fifth-inning triple in the second game, and stole seven bases in the series. Martin & Compton were later named the MW Player and Pitcher of the Week after they extended their hitting streak and scoreless inning streaks to 13 games and 21 innings.
Team-wise, the `Dogs stole eight bases in the finale to break a school single-game record.
LOBO SCOUTING REPORT (www.GoLobos.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.
Other starters back from 2013 include senior outfielder Kapri Angotti, senior first baseman Stesha Brazil, junior outfielder Michelle Solomon and sophomore infielder Whitney Smith. 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 22 games at DP and in left field this year, while Liddell has made six starts at second base among her 13 appearances. Rodriguez had appeared in 19 games as a pinch-runner and stole bases vs. Sacramento State, Long Beach State and Utah 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 two weeks ago at Boise State, and her 22 career-wise is seventh-best in school history.
Junior center fielder Brenna Moss stole three more bases last weekend vs. Utah State to up her career total to 63 - second-best for Fresno State. That total ranks 29th nationally among active players (and seventh among players that are juniors or younger). Her 18 stolen bases this year is tied for fifth-most in a season for Fresno State all-time, and 16 behind her school record from last year (34).
The Bakersfield, Calif., native's mid-February triple against No. 2 Tennessee moved her to 15 career-wise and into a tie for fifth all-time for the `Dogs. That career tally stands 13th nationally among active collegians. Moss's nine triples in 2013 also second-best in Bulldog history behind All-American Laura Berg (11, 1995),
Among all-time game bests, her three stolen bases vs. Boise State tied her school record vs. UNM in 2013, and her four runs opening week vs. UC Riverside also matched a school game record.
With her triple last weekend vs. Utah State, senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz has three, three-baggers on the season and 10 career-wise (and two shy of Fresno State's ninth-best career mark).
In her first month as a collegian, sophomore pitcher Jill Compton made history in February 2013 with the program's 70th no-hitter vs. St. Mary's. 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 50 bases after 31 games (which would equate to 83 in a 52-game season).
RACKING UP THE WEEKLY HARDWARE
The Turlock, Calif., native Brazil led the `Dogs to a late-March home sweep of Utah State, and topped the team for the three games combined in hitting (.625), slugging (.875), on-base percentage (.727), hits (5), stolen bases (3) and total bases (7).
Three weeks ago, Aldridge won her first MW weekly career honor after she logged a 1-0 shutout versus No. 6 Washington. Her nine strikeouts came in her first start in nearly two years and tripled her previous Bulldog best from this season (3) and also 2012. She also limited the returning Women's College World Series advancers to three hits.
Among other recent Bulldog honorees in the circle, sophomores Jill Compton and Taylor Langdon combined for three honors in 2013, while senior third baseman Vonnie Martin was a two-time MW Player of the Week last season. Other current `Dogs honored with WAC Player of the Week honors include senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz (2012).
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).
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.
CATCH THE `DOGS ON THE AIR
Twenty of the team's games will also be radio broadcast locally by ESPN 790AM The Deuce this spring. Thirteen will come the first six weeks of the season in non-conference play, followed by seven MW games against Utah State, San Jose State, UNLV and Colorado State.
Christian Lukens and Andrew Haynes will share the radio broadcast duties, while Stephen Trembley and Keenan Sanders will handle the video stream play-by-play.
BULLDOG DIAMOND TO BE RECHRISTENED
The NCAA's all-time winningest Division I softball coach retired in 2012 after amassing 1,294 wins in 27 seasons with the Bulldogs, including 10 Women's College World Series appearances and 17 conference titles. Wright's resume also includes a stint as U.S. Olympic coach and National Coach of the Year honors.
Under her direction, Fresno State was ranked in the national top 25 polls for 27 consecutive years while the Red Wave fan base led the nation in average attendance 13 times.
BULLDOG ALL-TIME CAREER RANKINGS
BULLDOG ALL-TIME SEASON RANKINGS
THIS WEEK'S MW STANDINGS
Team MW Record Pct. Overall Fresno State 4-2 .667 16-12 UNLV 4-2 .667 14-20 San Diego State 2-1 .667 25-9 San Jose State 2-1 .667 19-14 Utah State 3-3 .500 13-17 Colorado State 3-3 .500 18-9 Nevada 3-3 .500 21-13 Boise State 2-4 .333 17-16 New Mexico 1-5 .167 10-23
NOTABLE MW INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS (NCAA)
NOTABLE MW TEAM RANKINGS (NCAA Ranking if available)
Complete NCAA Stats - http://bit.ly/1gPx6rG
THIS WEEK'S MW SCHEDULE
Tuesday, April 1
Wednesday, April 2
Friday, April 4
Saturday, April 5
Sunday, April 6
2014 MW PRESEASON POLL
Pl. Team Pts. 2013 Finish Overall 1. SDSU (7) 63 1st 13-5 35-18 2. Fresno State (2) 56 2nd 11-7 30-24 3. Boise State 42 4th 9-9 25-26 4. Colorado St. 38 2nd 11-7 25-24 San Jose St. 38 1st-WAC 17-4 42-15 6. Nevada 36 4th 9-9 30-23 7. UNLV 27 6th 7-11 21-31 8. New Mexico 13 7th 3-15 21-35 9. Utah State 11 8th-WAC 5-16 11-43
MORE ONLINE SOFTBALL INFO
BULLDOG SOFTBALL MEDIA