Bulldogs Continue Battle for MW Top Spot
April 21, 2014
BULLDOG SOFTBALL WEEKLY RELEASE #12
Tuesday, April 22: at San Jose State, Noon - Doubleheader; *Radio: 790 AM
Friday, April 25: UNLV, Fresno, Calif., 6 p.m.
THIS WEEK'S MARKETING / TICKET PROMOTIONS
- Friday (4/25), 6 p.m. - vs. UNLV. Facial Hair Friday means those with real or fake facial hair get free admission. It's also Youth Jersey Friday, so all youth (12 and under) get into the game FREE with a softball or baseball jersey!
- Saturday (4/26), 6 p.m. - vs. UNLV. Bark in the Park is back, so bring your dog out to the outfield berm and enjoy the game (and dogs get in FREE!) Don't have a dog? The Valley Animal Center will be in attendance with some GREAT adoptable dogs!
- Sunday (4/27), 1 p.m. - vs. UNLV. Salute to Sundays means all active military and veterans receive FREE admission to the game with a valid military ID.
WHAT'S UP THIS WEEK
The `Dogs first play at first-year MW member San Jose State (24-18, 7-5) with a doubleheader on Tuesday, April 22 at noon and single-game noon finale on Wednesday April 23. All three games will be broadcast on the radio live in Fresno on 790 AM ESPN The Deuce.
On Friday-Sunday, April 25-27, Fresno State and UNLV (19-24, 9-6) will play single games each day at Bulldog Diamond.
With its 8-4 conference record, Fresno State currently sits in a three-way tie for first place with Colorado State and San Diego State, and is followed closely by UNLV (fourth, 9-6) and San Jose State (fifth, 7-5).
Last weekend, the `Dogs split a doubleheader vs. St. Mary's (4-1 win, 4-3 loss (9 innings)). The next day, the Fresno State lost a heartbreaker (1-0) when the Broncos collected four of their six hits in the seventh inning.
FURTHER UP DOWN THE ROAD
RECENT BULLDOG TEAM NOTES
- Not surprisingly, Moss, Smith and Willis are also the team's top hitters in MW play (.457 / .429 / .423). Four others are topping .300 after 12 MW games this year - sophomore catcher Paige Gumz (.394), senior left fielder Kapri Angotti (.391), senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz (.356) and senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (.333).
- Against St. Mary's and Santa Clara, three `Dogs topped .300 last weekend - Smith (.677, 6-9), Gumz (.333, 3-9) and senior third baseman Vonnie Martin (.300, 3-10, HR, 2 RBI).
- With Kiley Shae Aldridge's and Hannah Harris' MW Pitcher of the Week honor the past five weeks, all four Bulldog sophomore pitchers have now won honors under the guidance of head coach Trisha Ford. In 2013, sophomore Jill Compton won a pair of awards, as did sophomore Taylor Langdon once.
- Fresno State has won three straight MW series with its sweep of Utah State and 2-1 advantages at New Mexico and vs. San Diego State the past month.
- The past month, the Bulldogs have scored the biggest and third-biggest run tallies in school history in wins vs. Boise State (24-4 (5) and New Mexico (20-0 (5)).
- Fresno State has scored five wins this season against NCAA Tournament returnees - 1-0 shutouts of No. 6 Washington, No. 14 Nebraska and N.C. State, and 5-4 and 2-0 victories vs. San Diego State.
ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Former All-MW honoree and sophomore right-hander Jill Compton added third-place rankings in starts (22), opponent batting (.231) and ERA (2.34), and stood fourth in wins (15), strikeouts looking (32) and strikeouts (109), and fifth in innings (139.2). Sophomore Hannah Harris also stood fourth in opposing batting (.253), fifth in ERA (2.62) and sixth in fewest hits (77).
At the plate, senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz topped the triples category (4), and five other `Dogs were spotted offensively - All-MW center fielder and junior Brenna Moss (stolen bases, second, 25; hits, second, 50; runs, fifth, 32; triples, seventh, 7), senior third baseman Vonnie Martin (walks, second, 33; on-base percentage, 10th, .453), junior right fielder Michelle Solomon (triples, fourth, 3; runs, 10th, 29), senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (RBI, sixth, 35; triples, seventh, 2 ; homers, eighth, 7), and freshman left fielder Kierra Willis (triples, seventh, 2).
Team-wise, the Bulldog pitchers still pace the conference in lowest opposing batting average (.251), fewest hits allowed (257) and double plays (20), and stood second in ERA (2.74), fewest homers allowed (20), and saves (4). Offensively, the `Dogs rank first in triples (13) and second in stolen bases (63).
Eight other `Dogs stood top 150 nationally - senior third baseman Vonnie Martin (walks, 14th, 0.83 p/g), sophomore pitcher Jill Compton (shutouts, 29th, 6; ERA, 129th, 2.34; strikeouts, 139th, 109), junior center fielder Brenna Moss (stolen bases, 19th, 0.63 p/g; runs, 142nd, 0.80 p/g), senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz (triples, 19th, 4), sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith (toughest to strikeout, 49th, 1:20.6 at-bats), junior right fielder Michelle Solomon (triples, 56th, 3), senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (RBI, 113th, 0.88 p/g) and sophomore right-hander Hannah Harris (shutouts, 113th, 4).
Team-wise, Fresno State's highest national rankings were in double plays (eighth, 0.50 p/g), triples (12th, 0.33 p/g), stolen bases (35th, 1.55 p/g), fielding (42nd, .970), ERA (67th, 2.74), win-loss percentage (79th, .600) and scoring (87th, 4.90 p/g).
Fans can find NCAA statistics updated every Monday at the http://stats.ncaa.org/rankings/ranking_summary URL address.
BULLDOG-SPARTANS-REBELS SERIES HISTORY
Last year, the Spartans topped the Bulldogs, 5-2, while Fresno went 2-1 in the series in 2012 (1-0 and 4-3 (8) wins; 2-1 loss).
The Rebels held the upper hand in 2013 with their 4-1 and 8-2 wins, while the `Dogs won the finale, 6-4. UNLV also won both games in 2012 (8-5, 12-2 (6)) to end a four-game Fresno State series win streak between 2006-09.
SPARTANS SCOUTING REPORT (www.SJSUspartans.com)
REBELS SCOUTING REPORT (www.UNLVrebels.com)
2013 FRESNO STATE-SAN JOSE STATE REWIND
2013 FRESNO STATE-UNLV RECAP
RPI ON THE RISE
This week's RPI rating is again well 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 ).
REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS
At the plate, senior first baseman Stesha Brazil drilled her seventh homer of the season three weeks ago at New Mexico, and her 23 career-wise is seventh-best in school history (not to mention the four she hit as a freshman at Houston in 2011).
Junior center fielder Brenna Moss stole another base last weekend vs. St. Mary's to up her career total to 70 - second-best for Fresno State. That total ranks 26th nationally among active collegians (and seventh among players that are juniors or younger). Her 25 stolen bases this year is fourth-most in a season for Fresno State all-time, and nine behind her school record from last year (34).
The Bakersfield, Calif., native's triple against New Mexico moved her to 16 career-wise and fifth all-time for the `Dogs (and third nationally among active collegians). Moss's nine triples in 2013 is also second-best in Bulldog history behind former Olympian and All-American Laura Berg (11, 1995),
Among all-time game bests, her three stolen bases vs. Boise State and San Diego State this year tied her school record vs. UNM in 2013. Likewise, her four runs opening week vs. UC Riverside also matched a school game record.
With her triple vs. New Mexico, senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz has four, three-baggers on the season and 11 career-wise - a tally that stands 17th nationally among active collegians and one 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 63 bases after 40 games (which would equate to 81 in a 52-game season).
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).
Willis has started 31 games at DP and in left field this year, while Liddell has made six starts at second base among her 14 appearances. Rodriguez had appeared in 25 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, Boise State and New Mexico.
As preps, 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.
RACKING UP THE WEEKLY HARDWARE
The Santa Barbara, Calif., native logged her third shutout among her five MW starts in the 2-0 second-game win. In the seven-inning effort, she logged two strikeouts and one walk, and her three hits allowed was one shy of her season low.
In the finale, she also made her fifth relief appearance of 2014 and finished her third game of the season. She came in with one out and the bases loaded in the ninth inning, and helped the team notch its 18th double play of the year against the only batter that she faced.
On the weekend, she led the team in ERA (0.00), wins (1), lowest opponent batting (.125), appearances (2), fewest walks (1) and fewest hits allowed (3).
In previous weeks, senior Stesha Brazil and sophomore Kiley Shae Aldridge were rewarded with MW Player and Pitcher of the Week honors in March and April to give the team eight honors from six current players the past 1 1/2 years.
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 prior, 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 WCWS 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 faced 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).
Among the tilts in February and March, the `Dogs posted 1-0 shutouts vs. No. 6 Washington and No. 14 Nebraska on the same day in the finale of the Judi Garmin Classic, while it lost by one run the opening three weeks to No. 2 Tennessee (5-4) and No. 8 Oregon (10-9 (8)).
Among conference foes, the `Dogs went 2-1 against last year's NCAA Tournament representative from the MW - San Diego State - in their series in Fresno in mid-April.
Overall, the `Dogs will play 15 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
Wright, who led Fresno State to its first-ever team national championship in 1998, was a driving force behind the construction of the 3,288-seat Bulldog Diamond in 1996. 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. Her 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.
THIS WEEK'S MW STANDINGS
Pl. Team MW Record Pct. Overall 1. Fresno State 8-4 .667 24-16 Colorado State 8-4 .667 27-10 San Diego State 8-4 .667 31-12 4. UNLV 9-6 .600 19-24 5. San Jose State 7-5 .583 24-18 6. Boise State 8-7 .533 23-19 7. Utah State 5-7 .417 17-24 8. New Mexico 4-11 .267 13-29 9. Nevada 3-12 .200 21-22
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
Complete NCAA Stats - http://bit.ly/1gPx6rG
NOTABLE MW INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS (NCAA)
NOTABLE MW TEAM RANKINGS (NCAA)
ALL-TIME BULLDOG CAREER RANKINGS
ALL-TIME BULLDOG SEASON RANKINGS