Softball: Fresno State Kick-Off ends on winning note

Fresno State junior RHP Taylor Langdon winds up during the Bulldogs' game against UC Riverside on Feb. 13 . (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)
Fresno State junior RHP Taylor Langdon winds up during the Bulldogs' game against UC Riverside on Feb. 13 . (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)

Fresno State junior RHP Taylor Langdon winds up during the Bulldogs’ Feb. 13 loss to UC Riverside. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)

The weekend Fresno State Kick-Off ended with the Bulldogs softball team going 3-2 at the Margie Wright Diamond.

The ‘Dogs split their first two games on Friday, then went on to win back-to-back games against UC Davis and Santa Clara before ending the tournament with a loss against the California Golden Bears.

Fresno State 2, Santa Clara 0

Hannah Harris was the starting pitcher for the ‘Dogs and went the distance, going all 7 innings in a 2-0 shutout against the Broncos.

“My drop ball inside was working well for me, so I used that a lot,” Harris said. “I was getting ground balls, and my defense was working for me. Our team is very talented, and as long as we stay together and focus on us, we’re going to be fine.”

Freshman Katie Castellon was able to record her first career hit and put the ‘Dogs up 2-0 with a home run in the fourth inning.

UC Riverside 4, Fresno State 2

Fresno State pitcher Jill Compton got the start in the circle and threw for 6 2/3 innings in the game while allowing six hits and four runs before Taylor Langdon entered the game in relief.

The ‘Dogs lead early in the game and took a 2-0 lead after center fielder Brenna Moss scored on a wild pitch and a walk with the bases loaded in the third inning scored sophomore Kierra Willis.

The Highlanders, however, put up the crucial four runs in the top of the seventh inning to beat the Bulldogs. “It’s early in the year and we need to do better and get gritty when things get sticky,” said Fresno State head coach Trisha Ford after the game. “I think Hannah has done a really good job this fall and I think Jill just needs to believe in herself. But she’ll get there, and the more times we’re in these situations, the better off we’re going to be at the end of the season.”

Fresno State 8, UC Davis 5

On Saturday, the ‘Dogs started out hot and never let up in an 8-5 win against the Aggies. In the first inning, Moss drew a walk and scored off a single up the middle from Michelle Solomon. Willis helped the effort with a two out double that scored two runs to put the ‘Dogs up 3-0 early.

Solomon then had two more RBIs when she hit a shot to center field that scored both Moss and Whitney Smith to increase the lead to 6-0 early in the game.

Compton started the match and lasted one inning before Langdon replaced her in the second to finish out the game.

Fresno State 2, Santa Clara 1

Facing the Broncos for the second time in this tournament series, the ‘Dogs were able to pull out another win with Jill Compton getting the start in the circle and allowing just one run to score while registering a season high 10 strikeouts.

The ‘Dogs recorded their first runs with a two-run home run from Willis in the sixth inning, enough to beat Santa Clara for the tournament sweep.

California 14, Fresno State 9

Playing the last game of the tournament series, the ‘Dogs hosted No. 23 Cal in what was a shootout from start to end of the game.

Every California softball player who had an at-bat registered a hit in the game while recording 23 hits. Meanwhile, the ‘Dogs’ 14 hits just weren’t enough to make up the difference, and Cal went on to win 14-9 in seven innings.

Compton made another start in the circle for the ‘Dogs, lasted four innings and gave up 4 earned runs on the mound before getting replaced by Kiley Shae Aldridge in the fifth. Aldridge lasted one inning and gave up five earned runs before Harris entered the game and finished the last two innings while giving up two earned runs.

“This by far was our best game,” said Ford. “I don’t think we’ve swung the bat as well in the other games, but we battled, which was good. Offensively, I think we came out banging. We did a great job of attacking the zone and putting some good swings on some good pitches. Defensively, we had some lapses, and Cal is a good hitting team. I think we just need to shore up some things on the infield.”

The Bulldogs will be away this weekend for the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, California.

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