May 8, 2012 By Jason Clay
By Jason Clay
Fresno State (33-21, 13-6 WAC) vs. Louisiana Tech (23-31, 8-12 WAC)
Date: May 9, 2012
Game Time: 6 p.m. PT
Site: NM State Softball Complex (1,050) - Las Cruces, N.M.
Radio: ESPN2 790 AM with Guy Haberman
Live Stats: Gametracker Links
Video Streaming: WAC.tv
FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State softball team opens up the 2012 WAC Tournament as the No. 3 seed and faces No. 6 seed Louisiana Tech on Wednesday, May 9 at the NM State Softball Complex in Las Cruces, N.M. The Bulldogs and Lady Techsters, who played a three-game series this past weekend in Fresno, will play the first-round game of the double-elimination tournament at 6 p.m. PT.
Fans can follow the Bulldogs at the WAC tournament several ways. ESPN2 790 AM will be broadcasting all Fresno State games from the tournament with the call of Guy Haberman and video streaming of all WAC Tournament games are available at WAC.tv (subscription required).
The 2012 WAC Tournament will be both the programs final appearance in the league and the last for legendary head coach Margie Wright, who on Sunday announced her retirement effective June 30, 2012.
Wright, who is the NCAA Division I all-time winningest softball coach and is ranked second all-time in NCAA Division I history for victories regardless of sport, steps down after guiding the university to its first NCAA Division I team title (1998) and directing the softball program to unparalleled heights.
The Bulldogs, who joined the WAC in 1993, have won 10 WAC regular season championships and three WAC Tournament titles, the last of each coming in 2009. Fresno State is set to join the Mountain West for the 2012-13 school year.
This will be Fresno State's eighth WAC Tournament appearance and the 'Dogs own a 18-9 all-time record at the league's championship tournament, which has been played every year since 2006. The other year the WAC had the conference tournament was in 1999, a year in which the Bulldogs took the title and made their last Women's College World Series appearances.
Fresno State has reached the championship game of the tournament five times, including each of the last three seasons. The Bulldogs won the WAC Tournament in 1999, 2007 and 2009.
In 2011, Fresno State also opened the WAC Tournament against La Tech. The Lady Techsters took that opening game, 2-0, but the Bulldogs came back to defeat Louisiana Tech 1-0 two days later. Fresno State has 3-2 all-time record against La Tech in the tournament.
Last weekend, the Bulldogs took 2-of-3 from the Lady Techsters at Bulldog Diamond and their two victories were both 4-0 shutouts.
The winner of Wednesday's game moves on to face second-seed BYU on Thursday at 1 p.m. PT while the loser will play on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in an elimination game against the loser between Wednesday's match-up of Hawai'i against either Nevada or San Jose State.
The Bulldogs own a 5-2 record in their first-round games at the WAC Tournament.
Fresno State WAC Tournament History
The Bulldogs own a 18-9 all-time record in seven WAC Tournament appearances (1999, 2006-11). Fresno State has reached the championship game of the tournament in five out of their seven appearances, including each of the past three seasons, and has won it three times (1999, 2007, 2009). The last time the WAC Tournament was played in Las Cruces (2010), Fresno State entered as the No. 2 seed and reached the championship. The 'Dogs beat Hawai'i, 4-3 in the first game to hand Hawai'i its first loss, but then fell 14-3 in the true championship game.
Fresno State's Series History Against Louisiana Tech
Fresno State leads the all-time series against Louisiana Tech, 33-7. Last year, Fresno State went 4-1 against the Lady Techsters. The one loss came in the opening game of WAC Tournament, but Fresno State came back to beat the Lady Techsters two days later in that tournament. Fresno State won the first 15 games in the series from 2002-05 and 11 of those were shutout victories. The Bulldogs have shut out La Tech 24 times in their 33 victories in the series, including two times last weekend as Fresno State took 2-of-3 from the Lady Techsters in the final series of the regular season.
An Individual Look at the Bulldogs vs. La Tech
Courtney Moore and Mackenzie Oakes are the two Bulldogs that have seen the most success against Louisiana Tech. In 11 career games, Moore is batting .306 (11-for-36) against La Tech with two doubles, one home run and four RBIs. Oakes in seven career appearances and five starts is 4-1 with a 0.67 ERA. Of the 11 shutouts she has thrown in her career, three of them have been against La Tech and she has held them to just 34 hits and only four runs in 42.0 innings pitched. Michelle Moses is 3-2 lifetime in five starts against La Tech with a 1.43 ERA. She has 44 strikeouts in her 34.1 innings of work against the Lady Techsters. Offensively, Moses has 12 hits in 48 at-bats (.250 average) in 15 career games with four doubles, one home run and nine RBIs. Andrea Ortega is batting .282 vs. Louisiana Tech in 13 career games and Brooke Ortiz is 5-for-26 (.192) in eight career games with one RBI. Of her five hits, one was a double and another two were triples.
Wright Announces Retirement at the End of the Season
After 27 years of leading the Fresno State softball program to unparalleled heights and 33 years overall as a Division I head coach, Margie Wright announced on Sunday she would retire at the end of the 2012 season, effective June 30. Wright is the NCAA Division I all-time winningest softball coach, is ranked second all-time in NCAA Division I history for victories regardless of sport and led the University to its first NCAA Division I team title (1998). An U.S. Olympic coach and 13-time hall of famer, Wright has amassed 1,454 career wins in 33 years while leading the `Dogs to 1,291 victories in 27 seasons. With 10 NCAA Women's College World Series appearances under her tutelage, she also has led the program to three national runner-up finishes, three third place showings and three fifth-place performances in the WCWS. In addition, the 10-time conference coach of the year has led the softball program to 17 outright or shared conference titles. Wright enters the WAC Tournament with 1,997 games coached in her 33-year career and needs to win one game in the tournament to ensure that she will coach in her 2,000th career game.
Ortega Cracks Top 10 for Career Doubles
Andrea Ortega led the Bulldogs to a series victory over Louisiana Tech to close out the regular season by batting .556 in the series. Of her five hits on the week, two of them went for doubles and she had at least one RBI in all three games. Ortega tallied five RBIs in the series, which was just three less than she had in her first 50 games this year. She started the week by going 1-for-3 on Friday with a two-run single in the first inning to help lead the Bulldogs to a 4-0 win, which marked the 200th win she has been a part of in her Bulldog career. The next day she came out and drove in two more runs in another 4-0 win over La Tech to start Saturday's doubleheader. She had a pair of one-run doubles in that game, which gave her the fourth game of her career where she had connected for two doubles. With those two doubles, she also moved into ninth place in school history for the most hit in a career. She went 3-for-3 in that game, which was her sixth multi-hit game of the season and her seventh career game with three or more hits. In the series finale, she was 1-for-3 with one run driven in.
Oakes Shuts Down La Tech
Mackenzie Oakes threw her third shutout of the season in her only start of the week, as she led the Bulldogs to a 4-0 win over La Tech in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader. Oakes scattered four hits while finishing the game with four strikeouts and no walks. She retired 12 of the first 13 batters she faced in the game and of her 83 pitches, 58 of them went for strikes (70 percent). The win helped Oakes finish the season perfect at home, as she was 9-0 at Bulldog Diamond this year with a 1.70 ERA in 15 appearances and 10 starts. She also picked up her 10th victory overall on the season, giving her double-digit victories for the third-straight season.
Need For Hits
Fresno State has a 28-1 record this season in games where it out-hits its opponent. The Bulldogs have 53 more hits than their opponents do in 54 games and have scored 55 more runs. When Fresno State does not out-hit its opponent, it has a 5-20 record.
The Bulldogs finished the 2012 regular season with a 24-8 record at home, including a 10-1 mark in WAC home games.
Fresno State is 15-2 this year when scoring in the first inning. In the Bulldogs' two wins against La Tech last weekend, Fresno State scored in the first inning both times. In the series-opening victory, Fresno State put up three runs in the first and then in game two, it scored two first-inning runs. When opponents score in the first inning, the Bulldogs have just a 2-7 record. Fresno State is also 28-5 this year in games where it scores first, but just 5-16 when it does not.
Fresno State's pitching staff collectively has held opposing teams to a .220 batting average against, which is the second-lowest average in the league behind Hawai'i's .171 opposing batting average.
Senior Michelle Moses leads the WAC in batters struck out (234) and shutouts (12) while ranking No. 2 in the conference with 16 home runs. She is tied for fifth nationally with in shutouts, tied for 20th in home runs hit and tied for 24th in the country in strikeouts.
Fresno State's RBI ranking this week is No. 63.
With 15 triples this year the Bulldogs lead the WAC and are tied for 10th nationally in triples hit. Stesha Brazil and Brooke Ortiz both have hit four triples this season, which ranks No. 25 nationally while Brenna Moss has a WAC-leading five triples to rank 11th nationally.
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