Fresno State’s softball honors continued on Sunday when five Bulldog seniors were commemorated on the pitching circle before the ‘Dogs’ series finale against the Colorado State Rams.
Shortstop Brooke Ortiz, third baseman Vonnie Martin, first baseman Stesha Brazil, left fielder Kapri Angotti and catcher Kim Fisher each received roses and caught first pitches from family members.
The Bulldogs almost pulled off a big upset to stay alone in first place in the conference, but Colorado State’s early offense prevented them from tying the game in the bottom of the seventh.
Down 8-4 in the seventh inning, Ortiz singled up the middle. Right fielder Michelle Solomon followed with a ground ball that was mishandled by Colorado State shortstop Ashlie Ortega.
Ortiz was out at third base in a fielder’s choice off Martin’s bat, but Brazil walked to load the bases. Whitney Smith also drew a walk to force Solomon home and trim Colorado State’s lead to three.
Martin and Brazil scored in consecutive at-bats to bring the ‘Dogs within one run of the Rams, but Angotti chopped a groundout to end Fresno State’s home season.
“We worked very well as a team and never let up,” Martin said. “In softball, you have seven innings. And playing all seven is definitely key to winning ballgames.
“I had a feeling we were going to come back, we didn’t expect anything less. We fell a little bit short, but we pushed and put pressure on [the Rams]. We tried to push that last run, but we couldn’t get it.”
“That fight in the last inning was just tremendous,” said Fresno State head coach Trisha Ford. “We just came up a little short. Some errors cost us some runs late in the game. It’s kind of how the ball falls sometimes.”
With victories on Friday and Saturday, the Bulldogs won the series 2-1, but their spot in first place remains shared. Instead of Colorado State tied with the ‘Dogs on top of the Mountain West, the Boise State Broncos worked their way up.
The Broncos won their match over New Mexico in walk-off fashion on Sunday to cap a three-game sweep and extend their winning streak to eight games. Now, both Fresno State and Boise State are 12-7 in conference play with three games remaining on their schedules.
The Bulldogs will visit the last-place Nevada Wolf Pack this weekend, and Boise State will travel to California and play the San Diego State Aztecs.
“We’re not going to worry about the ifs, ands and buts,” Ford said. “We’re just going to keep taking it one game at a time. I think we’re in a good position, and we’re going to be all right. We just have to go out and take care of business.”