Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fresno State sweeps Matadors, moves to 6-1

Freshman right-handed pitcher Jill Compton picked up her fourth win of the season as Fresno State defeated Cal State Northridge 3-2 in game one of a non-conference doubleheader sweep over the Matadors Wednesday at Bulldog Diamond.

For Compton, it was already her Mountain West-leading fourth pitching win of the season. So how does another freshman try to match that performance?  By throwing a complete-game, one-hitter.  That's how.

Freshman Hannah Harris followed up Compton's effort with a spectacular showing, allowing only one hit as Fresno State routed the Matadors 8-2 in the nightcap to complete the sweep.

The Bulldogs' eight runs were the most scored against Cal State Northridge this season, and the one hit allowed by Harris was the fewest in a game for CSUN in 2013.  Considering the competition the Matadors have faced -- including consensus Top 10-ranked teams Arizona State, Florida and California -- those are impressive feats for this young team of Bulldogs.

Freshman third baseman Whitney Smith contributed in a big way offensively with three hits on the day, including a double, and finished with two RBI.  She scored a pair of runs and reached base safely three times in four plate appearances in the nightcap.

Junior Stesha Brazil blasted her second home run of the season as part of the Bulldogs' 10-hit attack in the nightcap.  Brazil had a pair of extra-base hits, two RBI, scored three runs on the day, and also reached base safely three times in game two.

Fresno State hit three triples -- one from each of its starting outfielders -- in the doubleheader.  Sophomore right fielder Michelle Solomon hit her second triple of the season in the opening game, while left fielder Diane Runge and center fielder Brenna Moss hit theirs back to back in a 3-run fourth inning of the nightcap.  That pushed Fresno State's lead to 8-1, which was more than enough for Harris.

Harris and Compton arrived at Fresno State as two of the more heralded pitching recruits in a school known for its great pitching.  Harris (1-0), Compton (4-1) and fellow freshman Taylor Langdon (1-0) have all picked up wins as the Bulldogs have roared from the gate with a 6-1 start to the season.

In game one, Cal State Northridge looked strong early with four straight hits to begin the game before Compton settled into a groove.  The Matadors scored twice and had runners at second and third base in the top of the first inning with nobody out before the freshman worked out of her tightest jam of the game.

Fresno State quickly responded in the bottom half of the first inning in the opener by bunching together four hits of its own.  With one out, Brooke Ortiz singled and came home on an RBI double to left by Brazil.

Solomon then tripled, bringing home Brazil from second to knot the score at 2-2.  Still with just one out, Smith laced an RBI single up the middle for the Bulldogs' third run of the inning.  Fresno State, just like CSUN earlier in the frame, stranded base runners at second and third.

Neither team had much offense after that in the opener as a pitcher's duel broke out.  Fresno State's defense came up big time after time as the Bulldogs turned inning-ending double plays three times during a 4-inning stretch of the opening game.

Compton retired Northridge leadoff hitter Mia Pagano, who already had two hits in the game, to end the opener, keeping that potential tying run at second base.

In the nightcap, Harris allowed her only hit of the game -- a double -- in the fourth inning.  After scoring a single run that frame, CSUN scored a second run in the seventh inning after Harris walked a batter and hit two to load the bases.  A sacrifice fly plated the Matadors' final run without benefit of a hit.

In the nightcap, Fresno State scored two runs in the second inning and pushed three runs across in both the third and fourth innings to turn this one into a rout.

This was the second time in four days that Fresno State avenged a loss from a year ago.  After beating Sacramento State (a team that edged the 2012 Bulldogs team) on Sunday, Coach Trisha Ford's team got another bit of revenge today.  Cal State Northridge knocked off last season's Bulldogs team 8-5 at a tournament in San Diego.

The Bulldogs now head to Santa Barbara for this weekend's UCSB Tournament where they'll meet the host Gauchos, along with No. 7/8 Missouri and San Diego.