After a month of playing away from Fresno, the ‘Dogs come home to host the Classic
Mike Howells/The Collegian
After spending close to a month on the road, the Fresno State softball team has returned home to host the Bayer CropScience Classic this weekend.
The Bulldogs will begin the Classic Thursday night against Idaho State and will take on Bradley, Drake University, Troy and No. 11 California during the four-day competition
“I think this weekend we can definitely make up for last weekend,” catcher Caitlin Stiglich said. “We’ll get everything sorted out [from last weekend], and then playing in front of a home crowd, all of that stuff kind of goes away. It should be a great tournament.”
The Bulldogs have only two short days of practice to prepare for their latest opponents after returning from the Campbell/Cartier Classic in San Diego last weekend.
Earning victories against BYU and San Diego State, Fresno State was unable to keep their winning momentum dropping the remaining three games against No. 25/23 Houston, Long Beach State and Baylor. The losses dropped their season record from 6-1 to 8-4.
“I think it was just one of those weekends,” infielder and pitcher Nicole Angene said. “We can’t be perfect. We may have lost, but we gained a lot from each loss and we’re going to work on them, and it’s only going to make us better.”
Ready to get the wins rolling again, the Bulldogs will be focused on not repeating any of the little mistakes that occurred last weekend and enjoying the return to the friendly confindes of Bulldog Diamond.
“We love our fans here,” Angene said. “I don’t think there’s any stadium better than this one that we play in.”
Stiglich agreed with her teammate, stating the return home to host the Classic produces a relaxing and encouraging environment.
“It’s kind of both,” Stiglich said. “We do want to perform very well in front of our home fans cause they are great fans, but it’s also very relaxing cause we’re on our home field so we know the ins-and-outs of everything.”
Mike Howells/The Collegian
The Bulldogs are expecting to be challenged in every matchup this weekend as they work toward improving their overall record, and want both fans and opponents to know that regardless of who is on the diamond they’re going to give everything they’ve got.
“Actually, there’s no one they shouldn’t be looking out for,” Angene said. “We have a stacked lineup, people that can come in at any moment, so anyone that’s out there they need to keep their eye on.”
The Bayer CropScience Classic opens with a doubleheader for Idaho State as they square off against Troy in a late-afternoon game Thursday, before taking on Fresno State later that night.
During the tournament the Bulldogs will play six times, taking on Idaho State back-to-back nights and playing doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday before wrapping up with California on Sunday.
With Thursday’s game, the Bulldogs will again have a chance to reach a historic milestone, this time doing it in front of dozens of their hometown supporters as they play for the softball program’s 1,500th win.