Mac-Attack: Oakes’ two consecutive shutouts to start the season earn her WAC honor

Oakes’ presence in the circle early this season has the ‘Dogs at
a 9-2 record and earned her fourth WAC Player of the Week honor.
Dalton Runberg / The Collegian

Oakes’ two consecutive shutouts to start the season earn her WAC honor

After two consecutive shutout victories last weekend, senior softball pitcher Mackenzie Oakes was named Verizon WAC Pitcher of the Week on Monday.

The award marks the fourth time Oakes has received this honor in her Fresno State career.

Fresno State’s official athletic site said the award came the day after Oakes pitched a no-hitter in an 8-0 victory against Cal State Fullerton on Sunday.  Oakes racked up nearly two consecutive no-hitters but gave up just two hits during Saturday’s game against Santa Clara.

Oakes, a 20-year-old senior mass communication and journalism major, holds a 3-1 season record after Thursday’s 9-0 loss to Arizona at the Cathedral City Classic.

Margie Wright, Fresno State’s head softball coach for 27 years, said Oakes first caught her attention as a recruit at Stockdale High School in Bakersfield, Calif.  Wright said Oakes was extremely competitive and seemed to have true command of the game – a crucial trait from a pitching perspective.

After nearly four years together, Wright said Oakes has always been a great team player but has made huge strides as a collegiate softball pitcher.

“On the mound I think she’s really come into her own with her own style and own competitiveness,” Wright said.  “You can’t ask for much more than that.”

Kaitlin Griffin, a 21-year-old senior kinesiology major and Oakes’ catcher, said Oakes has a great personality and sense of humor.

“She’s actually really funny,” Griffin said.

But once Oakes hits the field, it’s a whole new ball game.

“She’s kind of almost a totally different person on the mound,” Griffin said.  “She doesn’t really joke around much.”

Oakes said she was 7 years old when softball first became her life passion and, later her job.  Oakes said her mother played softball in college and her grandfather was a pitching coach so she just grew up surrounded by softball.

As a Central Valley native familiar with Fresno State’s softball history, Oakes said she always knew playing college ball was the goal and had her sights set on Fresno State.  After Wright attended quite a few of her travel team games, she made an offer for Oakes to play for Fresno State and invited her to visit the campus.

She was sold.

“I loved it,” Oakes said.  “I loved my visit. I loved the campus. I loved everything about it.”

Even with recruiters from other schools beckoning for her services, Fresno State was her pick from the start.  Oakes said she couldn’t wait to play in Bulldog Diamond for a school with a great softball legacy.

“It was an easy decision,” Oakes said.

Throughout her college softball career, Oakes said Wright taught her more than just lessons on the softball diamond.

“It’s a lot of things that aren’t so much even softball-related…,” Oakes said.  “Like being a strong person and fighting for what I believe in and what I want.”

After this season Oakes plans to graduate, settle down somewhere and find a job she loves.

But until then, the Fresno State softball team shares one goal for the season:  “They want to get to the College World Series,” Wright said.  “And they know what they have to do in order to get there.”

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