The Fresno State softball team started the 2013 season in victorious fashion this weekend, going 4-1 in the Fresno State Kick-Off Tournament.
The Bulldogs got wins from Sunday’s game against Sacramento State, Friday’s matchups against UTEP and UC Riverside and a Saturday win over UC Davis by two runs.
Fresno State’s only loss was to Southern Miss in extra innings on Saturday.
The Bulldogs sent freshman Jillian Compton to the mound on Sunday to face the Hornets, for her fourth start and fifth appearance of the tournament. Despite her nerves, she was able to lead the Fresno State to a 3-2 victory.
“I was very nervous,” Compton said. “The first pitch of the weekend I was pretty nervous.”
Coach Trisha Ford was happy with what Compton was able to do in her first weekend.
“She took this team on her shoulders this weekend and our whole team just was really behind her,” Ford said. “They played some good defense behind her. She just threw her heart out.”
Sacramento State made a worthy opponent for the Bulldogs, never allowing Fresno State to extend a lead greater than one run. The Bulldogs threatened to score early, loading the bases with no outs for in the bottom of the first. They were unable to capitalize though, as they hit the ball right at the Hornets three straight times.
It did not take long for the Bulldogs to straighten things out, because catcher Paige Gumz started the bottom of the second inning hitting a double toward left field. After a bunt by shortstop Maria Sio moved her to third, left fielder Diane Runge brought Gumz home with a single to give Fresno State a one-run lead.
The Hornets evened things up in the top of the third with a home run to left field by third baseman Emily McCormick.
In the bottom of the fourth, center fielder Brenna Moss started the inning off with a single. After a fielder’s choice by second baseman Brooke Ortiz and a bunt by first baseman Stesha Brazil, Moss was able to score off of a wild pitch by Taylor Stroud. The ‘Dogs regained the lead at 2-1.
A single by catcher Paris Prado started off the fifth for the Hornets. A hit that would end up costing the Bulldogs when she came around to score off of a single by McCormick to tie the game at two runs.
The sixth inning would prove to be a big one for the Bulldogs. It started off with a walk to Kelly McGee pinch-hitting Sio. After a Runge bunt moved Sio to second, a single to right by Moss would move her to third. The ‘Dogs would find some luck when a stolen base by Moss resulted in an errant throw to center field by catcher Kortney Solis, scoring Sio to give the ‘Dogs a 3-2 lead.
“We’re just playing Bulldog softball, we’re going to be aggressive,” Ford said. “We’re going to push, we’re going to push. We’re going to keep pushing. We just wanted to make the defense make a decision and luckily, it worked out for us. We got a passed ball and we were able to score.”
An error by Stroud and a single by Brazil loaded the bases, but Fresno State was unable to capitalize to expand its lead anymore. It ended up not being a problem though as the Hornets were unable to take advantage of a lead off single by Kayla Papez.
Ford said this new aggressive style of play is going to be the regular plan for the Bulldogs this season.
“Conservative is not really my forte, I guess,” she said. “We’re going to stay aggressive. There are going to be times where it pays off and there are going to be times where it doesn’t. We’ve got good team speed and we’re going to put pressure on the defense. “