Senior outfielder Andrea Ortega
Esteban Cortez / The Collegian
With the new season of Fresno State softball, a familiar face will look to build on her career as well as cement her legacy at Bulldog Diamond.
Senior Andrea Ortega will enter her final season at Fresno State, where she has established herself as a premier outfielder after being named to the 2011 All-Western Athletic Conference team and is a preseason All-WAC selection this season.
“This is my last year,” Ortega said. “I want to go out with a bang, so I’m going to do everything to be that top-notch player.”
Nicknamed “Grandma” by her teammates for being the oldest member of the team at 23, Ortega has shown leadership skills both on and off the field.
Despite being an established outfielder, Ortega has the ability to play any position. Last season, she started 51 games in left field and two in right while working stints in the infield during her career.
“Wherever coach puts me, that’s where I’ll play,” the senior said. “As long as I’m playing, that’s the biggest thing for me.”
Ortega has overcome an injury that cost her all but six games of the 2009 season. She was able to maintain that season of eligibility due to her medical hardship. Ortega battled back her redshirt sophomore season, starting in 59 games.
She was an immediate impact to her team, starting in 36 games as a freshman while playing in a total of 49. That season, the Bulldogs not only won the WAC regular-season title but also went on to win the conference tournament.
On the diamond, defense is most important to Ortega, who has committed no more than four errors in any season. Her fielding percentage has averaged a .947 for her career, with her lowest fielding percentage being no lower than .939 and maxing out at .957.
A player that can hit for average is always a benefit for any team and Ortega has proven she can hit with the best of them. She has hit close to .300 in each of her three previous full seasons with her low coming last season when she hit .298.
The softball team will begin the season playing 10 games in 11 days, including three double-headers.
“I think when we’re home it’s going to help us a lot,” Ortega said. “We know the ins and outs of the field so it’s going to be great for us.”