The Fresno State University Bulldogs (31-12, 4-0 WAC) rode the golden arm of two-time All-American Jamie Southern in consecutive victories over the Lady Techster softball team, as Fresno defeated Tech 2-0 and 8-4 in a doubler header at the Lady Techster Softball Complex Thursday night.
Southern (20-5), through both contests with the Lady Techsters (13-20, 0-3) on the evening, has only given up seven earned runs in 179 1/3 innings pitched on the season and once again dominated on the mound.
Tech managed only four hits off of Southern throughout the entire first contest, but Tech's head coach Sarah Dawson was proud of the way her team stood strong in the box against the All-American.
"I was pleased with the way our kids hit against her," Dawson said. "Tonight was probably the most hits we've had off her. She's tough. She throws the ball hard, has very good movement on her pitches, throws a great change up and has great command on her pitches. She's not an All-American for nothing."
Southern wasn't the only stellar pitcher on the mound for the game. Tech's senior ace Marla Pinkston (8-13) also pitched an outstanding game against a powerful offense, as Pinkston allowed only four hits and two runs (one earned) with seven strikeouts in seven innings of work.
After a rocky start, where Pinkston gave up two runs and three hits through two innings, Pinkston settled in and locked down Bulldog hitters, allowing only two base runners from that point.
"It was a good recovery from a not so great start, but you can't afford a start like that against a good team like Fresno, especially when you have such a dominate pitcher on the mound," Dawson said. "I'm proud of the fact Marla made the adjustment and figured out what she needed to do."
Mary Cohn deliverd two of Tech's hits in the game, while Ashley Aycock and Ashley Cameron chalked up the other two hits, and Dawson commended Cohn for her battle through adversity at the plate.
"Mary comes through in the most random situations," Dawson said. "She's been struggling lately. She got enough of the ball to get the hit, and a lot of times we can score in that situation. I'm proud of her for hanging in there and working hard instead of packing it in when things got rough for her."
In the second game, the Lady Techsters put together a few hits for some early offense, as Tech jumped ahead of the Bulldogs 3-1 in the first inning.
Amber Miles started the inning with a single and stole second base. Miles then advanced to third on an illegal pitch, before the next two Tech batters would go down in order. Then, it was Bridget Broadnax who came through with the RBI single for the Lady Techsters.
Cameron stepped to the plate and singled before advancing to second on the throw, and Tech had runners on second and third base with two outs and Ashley Palma walking to the plate.
Palma stepped in and ripped a triple to right center field, plating Broadnax
and Cameron to put Tech on top 3-1. However, Tech would soon see the lead dwindle, as Fresno posted one run in the third inning, four in the fourth inning and two in the fifth inning to take the lead.
"From our fourth inning on, we had more quality at bats, but it came down to us stringing things together," Dawson said. "We got down after the fourth inning. They brought Southern back in, and we just couldn't put anymore offense together."
After Tech scored one more run on Bulldog starting pitcher Laura Ferreira (8-4), Fresno brought in Southern to earn her second save on the season.
Freshman Kristen Rupp picked up the loss for Tech, pitching three innings and giving up five hits and five runs (two earned) with one strikeout. Pinkston pitched the fourth and fifth innings, allowing two hits and three runs (two earned), and Lindsey Meadows finished the game while only allowing two hits.
The Lady Techsters will be back in action for a home double header against Nevada on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m., and Dawson looks for this match-up to get her squad back to winning.
"Reno isn't going to be a pushover," Dawson said. "They put two runs on Southern last weekend and have a pretty strong pitcher of their own. That ball should look like a beach ball after tonight, and our kids' confidence is back where it needs to be."