Softball: Fresno State sweeps Cal State Northridge

Cal State Northridge came to town on Wednesday to take on Fresno State softball in a doubleheader.

The Bulldogs started the doubleheader by scoring three runs in the first inning of the first off of Matador pitcher Shelly Tait.

An early pitching change brought in Brianna Elder, who was able to prevent Fresno State from getting any more runs across.

Despite the fact that the Matador out hit the Bulldogs 9-5, another strong outing from freshman Jill Compton kept them in the game, leading them to a 3-2 victory. Compton’s record improves to 4-1 on the season.

Bulldogs coach Trisha Ford is happy with what Compton and the young pitching staff has put together early in the season.

“She’s (Compton) done well so far,” Ford said. “I think we have a good staff, so you’ll see a good mixture of them. Hannah (Harris) came in today, did really well and kind of showed what she’s capable of doing, so we’ll see. We’re still trying to piece it together and figure it out.”

Fresno State struck first again in game two. The Bulldogs were patient at the plate in the second inning. Third baseman Whitney Smith and catcher Paige Gumz both earned walks to get the nightcap started. That brought up shortstop Maria Sio.

After Matadors pitcher Jennifer Tyler missed the strike zone twice, a wild pitch caused both runners to advance. That was enough for Matadors coach Taria Flowers, who made another early pitching change, to move Crystal Maas over from third base to finish the inning.

It did not stop the bleeding – Mass walked Sio to load the bases.

That brought up left fielder Diane Runge with two outs and the bases loaded. Despite the pressure, she worked a walk to score Smith, giving the Bulldogs their first run.

Center fielder Brenna Moss was up next and hit a single to right field to bring home Gumz, making the score 2-0. In the third inning, the hits kept coming, as first baseman Stesha Brazil led off the inning with a home run to left field.

Right fielder Michelle Soloman joined in with a single. Another pitching change by the Matadors brought in Elder for the second time of the day to face Smith.

She promptly responded with a double to the left field fence. Megee followed with a fly out to left, but an errant throw by the left fielder allowed Soloman to score.

That brought up Gumz, whose hit slapped a single down the third base line to score Smith from third. Cal State Northridge got its first hit in the fourth with a standup double to right by catcher Mikayla Thielgas.

After a wild pitch from Hannah Harris, a sacrifice fly to left by first baseman Sydney House brought home Thielgas to give the Matadors their first run.

The hit parade marched on in the fourth, as Fresno State put up another three runs. It started with back-to-back triples by Runge and Moss to bring home the sixth run for the Bulldogs.

The next five batters all proceeded to get on for the Bulldogs to give them two more runs to make the score 8-1 going into the fifth.

Fresno State went into cruise control from there. Harris helped out with back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the fifth and sixth.

Despite a little shakiness from the freshmen pitcher in the seventh, that allowed the Matadors to get one more run across, Harris shut down Cal State Northridge to give the Bulldogs an 8-2 win.

Ford said she was not happy with how the team started the first game, but that she appreciated the way they recovered.

“We came out a little flat,” she said. “The good thing is they bounced back in the bottom half of the first inning, came back and responded. Which is the sign of a good team, a sign of a team that’s going to fight. The second game they came back with a little more tenacity and little more focus and put it to them.”

Now Ford leads the Bulldogs on their first road trip of the season, where they will take part in the UC Santa Barbara Tournament this weekend.

Fresno State will face the Gauchos, the University of Missouri and University of San Diego.

“We got two W’s,” Ford said. “We took care of business and now it’s on to prepare for this weekend.”

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