Lindsey Willmon swears she was hit by a pitch to begin her final at-bat Friday.
The home plate umpire thought differently, claiming it was not Willmon’s arm but her bat that made contact with an inside pitch to the Fresno State cleanup hitter.
Though annoyed that she wasn’t awarded first base, Willmon quickly refocused and responded with a walk-off three-run home run that sealed Fresno State’s 9-1 victory over Nevada in six innings before a rowdy announced crowd of 1,385 at Margie Wright Diamond.
It’s the second straight weekend that the Bulldogs (24-11, 5-2) kicked off a Mountain West series in mercy-rule fashion.
My teammates say the ball never lies.
Lindsey Willmon after she appeared to be hit by a pitch, the umpire rule the inside pitch hit her bat instead, then she followed with a walk-off three-run homer
“My teammates say the ball never lies,” Willmon said minutes after she had hit her fourth homer of the season and was welcomed by excited teammates at home plate as well as a standing ovation by the crowd.
“You always want to make the other team pay for their mistakes. That’s the Bulldog way.”
And, Willmon added as she pointed to her wrist area: “Oh, definitely hit.”
It was just a week ago that Fresno State mercy ruled Boise State 9-0 in five innings en route to taking two of three in the series.
4 Times Fresno State has won and ended a game early with the eight-run mercy rule this season
Fresno State has won via the eight-run mercy rule four times this season.
Bulldogs coach Linda Garza is hoping the big win early on sets the tone for the rest of the series again, all while reducing the number of innings thrown for starting pitcher Kamalani Dung.
“Whenever we can take an inning off of her and take an inning off of an opponent being able to see her, knowing that the likelihood that she will be a Sunday pitcher as well, is big for us,” Garza said. “I am glad that our offense was able to do what we were able to do early.
“It is always nice to get a walk-off, whatever way that it happens.”
Fresno State’s Savannah McHellon also hit a three-run homer, her team-high seventh of the year, upon going yard in the fourth.
The Bulldogs also scored three runs in the first.
Kierra Willis hit an RBI double that scored Malia Rivers. Willis scored on a wild pitch. And Vanessa Hernandez knocked an RBI single that scored Willmon.
Willis finished 1 for 2 with three runs and an RBI.
Most notably, the senior drew two walks and set the school record for career walks at 116. She entered Friday tied with the school record.
“I keep my same mojo every time I step in the box,” Willis said. “I stay patient, and if the pitches come, and it’s a good pitch to hit, then I am going to swing.”
The series continues at 6 p.m. Saturday.
NEVADA AT FRESNO STATE
- Series: 6 p.m. Saturday, noon Sunday at Margie Wright Diamond
- Records: Bulldogs 24-11, 5-2 Mountain West; Wolf Pack 16-15, 2-5
- Radio: KFPT (AM 790)
- Of note: Nevada has two local ties. Freshman Sienna Swain went to Buchanan High. Sophomore Rachel Rodriguez graduated from Central and played last season at Boise State before transferring to Nevada.