'Dogs Hope to Strike Gold in Reno in Regular Season Finale
May 7, 2014
Location: Christina M. Hixson Softball Park, Reno, Nevada
Dates: Start Times
- All-Time Series (First Year): Fresno State leads, 39-13 (1978)
THIS WEEK'S ACTION
The Wolf Pack comes off a three-game sweep at Utah State last weekend, while the `Dogs topped Colorado State, 2-1, in its final home action of 2014.
Fresno State is currently tied for the MW lead with a 14-7 conference record with Boise State, while last year's champion San Diego State sits one game back at 13-8, and will host the Broncos on Thursday-Saturday.
Two other teams have mathematical chances at tying for the conference title - Colorado State and UNLV - who are tied for fourth place this week at 12-9 (and Fresno State beat both teams by 2-1 margins the last two weeks). On Thursday-Saturday, UNLV plays at Utah State, and CSU hosts San Jose State.
The next day, ESPNU will televise the 64-team NCAA Tournament selection show live on Sunday night, May 11 at 7 p.m. PT.
THE ROAD TO OKLAHOMA CITY
Each regional winner then advances to eight Super Regional sites for a best-of-three, two-day series on Thursday-Sunday, May 22-25, with every game televised by ESPN networks.
The eight remaining teams then advance to the ESPN-televised Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, May 29-June 4. More information on the NCAA Tournament and WCWS is available at the www.NCAAsports.com website.
RECENT `DOG ACTION
Fresno State won the opener, 5-1, behind a two-hit complete game by Jill Compton (19-9), while the `Dogs scored all five of their runs in the sixth inning.
Prior to the 7-2, second-game victory, Bulldog Diamond was renamed Margie Wright Diamond in honor of the hall of fame former head coach. Two of Wright's former players cleared the fences as senior Stesha Brazil cranked a pair of solo homers, and junior right fielder Michelle Solomon connected on her first grand slam of the season and third career-wise. Compton added five strikeouts in her two innings of relief en route to her second save of the season, and starter Hannah Harris (9-9) got the win.
In the 8-7 finale loss on Senior Day, the `Dogs scored three runs in the seventh inning and had the tying and winning runs on base before falling to the Rams who entered the weekend in a tie for second place in the MW.
RECENT BULLDOG TEAM NOTES
- Not surprisingly, Moss and Willis are also the team's top hitters in MW play (.413 / .383). Five others are topping .300 after 21 conference games this year - senior left fielder Kapri Angotti (.382), sophomore catcher Paige Gumz (.379), senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (.358), senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz (.338) and Smith (.324).
- Five players have homered this year - Stesha Brazil (10), Vonnie Martin (7), junior right fielder Michelle Solomon (6), junior DP Kelly Megee (2) and Paige Gumz (1). Career-wise, Brazil and Martin ranked seventh and 11th on school career lists (26 / 16). Martin and Solomon have grand slams this year (vs. Boise State and Colorado State), and Solomon and Brazil are the only `Dogs to have two round-trippers in one game. Two weeks ago against UNLV, Solomon and Brazil became the first Fresno State players to hit homers on back-to-back pitches this year.
- Fittingly on Senior Day Weekend, three of the four players that hit +.400 vs. the Rams for the three games combined were seniors - shortstop Brooke Ortiz (.556, 5-for-9, 3 RBI, SB), first baseman Stesha Brazil (.500, 4-for-8, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB) and DP Kapri Angotti (.400, 2-for-5, RBI, BB). Three other starters topped .300 - junior DP Kelly Megee (.400, 2-for-5), sophomore Paige Gumz (.375, 3-for-8, RBI) and junior center fielder Brenna Moss (.364, 4-for-11, BB).
- After Jill Compton, Kiley Shae Aldridge and Hannah Harris won MW Pitcher of the Week honors the past six weeks, all four Bulldog sophomore pitchers have won honors under the guidance of head coach Trisha Ford. In 2013, Compton won a pair of awards, as did sophomore Taylor Langdon once.
- Jill Compton's no-hitter two weeks ago vs. San Jose State made her the 16th Bulldog to pitch multiple no-hitters in her career. Former great Jamie Southern leads the list with eight, followed by fellow All-Americans Melanie Parrent (7), and Carie Dever, Amanda Scott and Wende Ward (6).
- The past two months, 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 seven wins this season against NCAA Tournament returnees - 1-0 shutouts of No. 6 Washington, No. 14 Nebraska and N.C. State, and a pair of victories vs. both San Diego State (5-4, 2-0) and San Jose State (8-1, 2-0).
ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Sophomore Taylor Langdon again paced the league in saves (4), and stood ninth in games in relief (12) and 10th in games finished (9), and sophomore Hannah Harris also stood fourth in ERA (2.61), fifth in shutouts (3) and eighth in opposing batting (.270).
At the plate, senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz topped the triples category (5), and six other `Dogs were spotted offensively - All-MW center fielder and junior Brenna Moss (stolen bases, second, 29; hits, fourth, 62; runs, fifth, 39; triples, 10th, 2), senior third baseman Vonnie Martin (walks, second, 36), sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith (toughest to strike out, third, 1:18.6 at-bats), junior right fielder Michelle Solomon (triples, fifth, 3), senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (triples, fifth, 3; homers, sixth, 10; runs, seventh, 35; RBI, seventh, 39) and freshman left fielder Kierra Willis (triples, 10th, 2).
Team-wise, the Bulldog pitchers still pace the conference in lowest opposing batting average (.248), fewest hits allowed (312), saves (6) and double plays (25), and stood second in ERA (2.56) and fewest homers allowed (24). Offensively, the `Dogs rank first in triples (16) and third in stolen bases (70).
Eight other `Dogs stood top 150 nationally - sophomore pitcher Jill Compton (shutouts, 17th, 8; wins, 47th, 19; ERA, 94th, 2.13; hits allowed, 98th, 5.55 p/7 innings; strikeouts, 100th, 148), senior third baseman Vonnie Martin (walks, 30th, 0.73 p/g), junior center fielder Brenna Moss (stolen bases, 24th, 0.59 p/g), senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz (triples, 10th, 5), sophomore second baseman Whitney Smith (toughest to strikeout, 61st, 1:18.6 at-bats), junior right fielder Michelle Solomon (triples, 97th, 3), senior first baseman Stesha Brazil (triples, 97th, 3) and sophomore right-hander Hannah Harris (shutouts, 148th, 3).
Team-wise, Fresno State's highest national rankings were in triples (10th, 0.33 p/g), double plays (10th, 0.51 p/g), fielding (43rd, .969), stolen bases (43rd, 1.41 p/g), ERA (52nd, 2.56), win-loss percentage (75th, .612) and scoring (97th, 4.80 p/g).
Fans can find NCAA statistics updated every Monday at the http://stats.ncaa.org/rankings/ranking_summary URL address.
BULLDOG-NEVADA SERIES HISTORY
WOLF PACK SCOUTING REPORT (www.GoWolfPack.com)
2013 FRESNO STATE-NEVADA RECAP
In the first game, Paige Gumz and Michelle Solomon both went 2-for-2 and had two and one RBI, respectively. In the circle, Jill Compton struck out three, walked one and gave up 11 hits and four earned runs in the complete game.
In the finale, two `Dogs had multiple hits - Brenna Moss (2-for-4) and Gumz (2-for-3). Compton pitched the first three innings, struck out three, walked one and allowed four hits. Harris got the win for pitching the final four innings, struck out none, walked none and allowed three hits.
For the three games, Gumz led the team in hitting (.625, 5H, 2B, 2 RBI), and, six others topped .300 - Maria Sio (.500, 2H), Kelly Megee (.500, 1H), Runge (.444, 4H), Solomon (.375, 3H, 2B), Moss (.333, 4H, RBI) and Vonnie Martin (.333, 3H).
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 ninth and 10th homers of the season last week vs. CSU, and her 26 career-wise is seventh-most in school history (not to mention the four she hit as a freshman at Houston in 2011).
Junior center fielder Brenna Moss stole two more bases last week vs. Colorado State to up her career total to 74 - second-best for Fresno State. That total ranks 26th nationally among active collegians (and seventh among players that are juniors or younger). Her 29 stolen bases this year is second-most in a season for Fresno State all-time, and five 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.
Thanks to two walks vs. CSU, senior third baseman Vonnie Martin now has 36 on the year - fourth-most for Fresno State and only seven behind the shared school record of Christina Clark and Gina LoPiccolo (43).
With her triple vs. UNLV, senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz has five, three-baggers on the season and 12 career-wise - a tally that stands 14th nationally among active collegians and ninth all-time for Fresno State.
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, and the first Bulldog freshman to achieve the feat since 2006. In late April, she repeated the feat at San Jose State with a 2-0 win.
Last year, the squad combined for a school record 87 stolen bases in 54 contests. For comparison's sake in 2014, the `Dogs have swiped 70 bases after 49 games (which would equate to 74 in a 52-game season).
RACKING UP THE WEEKLY HARDWARE
In her 2-0 win at the NCAA Tourney returnee Spartans in the series finale, the Oceano, Calif., native logged her first no-hitter of the season, second career-wise, and 71st in school history.
She also won the series opener vs. SJSU, 8-1, and struck out seven in both contests to tie her second-highest total of the year.
Later in the weekend series vs. the Rebels, she logged a 1-0 shutout in which she struck out six, and allowed only four hits and one walk - also only the third shutout of UNLV this year by any team, and first in MW play.
The day before on Saturday, she picked up first career save after retiring the final two outs in the 6-3, second-game win vs. the Rebels with the tying run at the plate.
In the opener vs. UNLV, she pitched seven scoreless innings, before allowing a run in the eighth inning in the 1-0 decision.
In previous weeks, senior first baseman Stesha Brazil and sophomore pitchers Hannah Harris and Kiley Shae Aldridge were rewarded with MW Player and Pitcher of the Week honors in March and April to give the team nine honors from six current players the past 1 1/2 years.
In past years, 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, and senior shortstop Brooke Ortiz was a WAC Player of the Week in 2012.
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 40 games at DP and in left field among her 47 appearances this year, while Liddell has made six starts at second base among her 14 appearances. Rodriguez had appeared in 31 games as a pinch-runner and stole bases vs. Sacramento State, Long Beach State, Utah State and San Jose 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.
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 both last year's NCAA Tournament representatives from the MW and WAC (San Diego State / San Jose State) in April.
Overall, the `Dogs have played 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 Santa Barbara, Calif., native was one 12 players selected for the District 8 squad and one of three pitchers. Sporting a 3.44 cumulative grade point average, the media communications and advertising major was also a recent MW Pitcher of the Week.
To be eligible, players must be at least a sophomore academically and be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA. Nominated student-athletes were then voted on by members of the College Sports Information Directors of America in their respective districts.
All district honorees are now in consideration for 2014 Capital One® Academic All-America honors that will be announced on May 30.
All-time in Fresno history, 34 players have been honored since 1985.
Similarly last year, six players were named to the 2013 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete team that was released in October.
The group of senior infielder Brooke Ortiz, junior infielder Kelly Megee and catcher/infielder Taylor Green, Harris and Taylor Langdon and former senior outfielder Diane Runge were selected based on their +3.50 GPA's 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.
SIMPLY THE BEST
Before the game, the field welcomed a ribbon-cutting ceremony and first pitch by the former 27-year head softball mentor. Also honoring her that day was University President Dr. Joseph I. Castro, Director of Athletics Thomas Boeh, Congressman Jim Costa and former Bulldog softball player / Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis.
En route to an NCAA record 1,294-450-1 ledger with the `Dogs, she guided Fresno State to 10 World College World Series trips that included one NCAA title (1998), three NCAA runner-up finishes (1988, `89, `90), three NCAA third-place finishes (1991, `92, `97) and three NCAA fifth-place finishes (1987, `94, `99).
The 10-Time Conference Coach of the Year led Fresno State to 17 conference titles, 26 NCAA Tournament bids (1986-2011) and 178 straight weeks in the NCAA Top 25 en route to NFCA and ASA-USA Softball Hall of Fame nods.
On the individual front, her Bulldog players included 53 All-Americans, 15 Olympians, 29 Conference Players/Pitchers/Freshmen, 16 Academic All-Americans, eight professional players, four Honda Award Finalists and two NCAA Top VIII Award winners.
Away from the collegiate spectrum, she served as the 1998 ISF World Championship Gold Medal head coach and 1996 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal assistant coach.
The venue has served as the collegiate softball national attendance leader 13 times since 1991. An NCAA all-time largest regular-season softball crowd of 5,724 saw the team's versus Arizona (March 14, 2000), and also topped the 5,000 mark twice at home versus UCLA in 1996 (5,427, February 24 - stadium opener) and 1997 (5,167, February 8).
THIS WEEK'S MW STANDINGS
Team MW Record Pct. Overall 1. Fresno State 14-7 .667 30-19 Boise State 14-7 .667 30-19 3. San Diego State 13-8 .619 36-17 4. Colorado State 12-9 .571 31-15 UNLV 12-9 .571 23-28 6. San Jose State 11-10 .524 28-23 7. Nevada 7-14 .333 25-24 New Mexico 7-17 .292 16-36 9. Utah State 6-15 .286 18-32
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
NOTABLE MW INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS (NCAA)
NOTABLE MW TEAM RANKINGS (NCAA)
Complete NCAA Stats - http://bit.ly/1gPx6rG
BULLDOG ALL-TIME CAREER RANKINGS
BULLDOG ALL-TIME SEASON RANKINGS
THIS WEEK'S NATIONAL POLLS
USA TODAY / NFCA WEEK #13
Rank Team Record Pts Prev *1 Oregon (29) 47-6-1 797 1 2 UCLA (3) 46-5 757 2 *3 Arizona State 43-8-1 731 3 4 Florida State 47-6 702 4 5 Florida 45-10 678 5 6 Alabama 44-10 640 6 *7 Tennessee 42-9 607 8 *8 Washington 30-13 548 11 *9 Arizona 40-11 514 9 10 Michigan 40-11 504 7 11 Georgia 42-12 429 16 12 La.-Lafayette 41-7-1 422 14 13 Oklahoma 43-10 411 15 14 Missouri 41-15 403 13 15 Minnesota 38-9 385 12 16 Kentucky 41-14 370 10 17 Baylor 41-12 316 17 *18 Nebraska 40-14 229 19 19 Tulsa 47-7 218 18 20 Notre Dame 37-10 187 22 21 USC Upstate 44-5 144 23 22 Auburn 38-16-1 116 20 23 South Alabama 38-11 99 21 24 Texas A&M 35-20 71 24 25 LSU 34-21 49 25
Others receiving votes: Wisconsin (18), DePaul (16), James Madison (11), Northwestern (11), Mississippi State (7), UCF (5), *N.C. State (2), IPFW (1), Lipscomb (1), USF (1).
Dropped out: None
* (asterisk) indicates Bulldog opponents in 2014
ESPN / USA SOFTBALL POLL WEEK #13
Rank Team Record Pts Prev. *1. Oregon (17) 47-6-1 497 1 2. UCLA (1) 46-5 469 2 *3. Arizona State 43-8-1 462 3 4. Florida St. (1) 47-6 439 4 5. Alabama (1) 44-10 424 5 6. Florida 45-10 395 7 *7. Tennessee 42-9 380 9 *8. Washington 30-13 339 10 *9. Arizona 40-11 325 8 10. Oklahoma 43-10 316 12 11. Michigan 40-11 301 6 12. La.-Lafayette 47-7-1 291 13 13. Missouri 41-15 241 15 14. Georgia 42-12 226 18 15. Kentucky 41-14 217 11 16. Minnesota 38-9 216 14 17. Baylor 41-12 201 17 *18. Nebraska 40-14 164 19 19. Tulsa 47-7 142 16 20. Notre Dame 37-10 94 22 21. Auburn 38-16-1 77 20 22. South Alabama 38-11 74 21 23. LSU 34-21 70 23 24. USC Upstate 44-5 56 24 25. Texas A&M 35-20 22 25
Others receiving votes: Wisconsin (20), DePaul (12), South Florida (7), Northwestern (6), *Texas (6), Central Florida (6), Mississippi State (2), *North Carolina State (2), Lipscomb (1)
New to Poll: None
Parenthesis denotes first place votes.
* (asterisk) indicates Bulldog opponents in 2014
MORE ONLINE SOFTBALL INFO
BULLDOG SOFTBALL MEDIA