In danger of falling further back in the Mountain West softball standings, Fresno State stepped up Thursday night in the opener of a three-game series at front-running San Diego State.
Jill Compton pitched a two-hitter and Alyssa Villalpando broke an 0-for-10 slide with a 4-for-4 night at the plate that included a home run as the Bulldogs beat the Aztecs 5-0.
Fresno State (24-12, 5-2) moved within a game of first while handing the defending champion Aztecs (23-13, 6-1) their first Mountain West loss. San Jose State (25-13, 5-2), which took 2 of 3 from Fresno State last weekend, lost 6-0 to Colorado State.
Compton (14-9, 2.32 ERA) struck out four and walked one in her eighth shutout of the year. She was cruising through the first five innings before running into a little trouble in the sixth.
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A leadoff walk and a single put runners at first and second. But the junior continued to pitch to contact and induced three straight outs — a liner and a pair of popups — to end the Aztecs’ only threat.
The Bulldogs strung together five singles for three runs in the first inning. Paige Gumz drove in the first run, and Villalpando followed with a two-run single up the middle. Villalpando hit her fourth homer of the season, a solo shot, in the seventh.
The series continues at 6 p.m. Friday.
Baseball: Bulldogs take a tumble in comeback attempt
Fresno State literally stumbled on its attempt to extend game 2 of its nonconference baseball series at No. 15 UC Santa Barbara.
Taylor Tempel tripped while trying to sprint home on a double-steal attempt with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Rather than potentially scoring the tying run, Tempel had to retreat back to third base. And after a walk loaded the bases, Manny Argomaniz popped up to end the game as the Gauchos held on for a 2-1 win at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
The Bulldogs (16-15), losers of three straight, have nine one-run defeats, including a 6-5 loss Wednesday in the opener of the four-game series. The Gauchos (21-7) moved to 15-5 at home.
Game 3 is at 3 p.m. Friday.
Fresno State was held scoreless with just three hits and no walks through the first eight innings against Gauchos right-hander Dillon Tate, considered one of college baseball’s top pro prospects.
But during the ninth, the Bulldogs finally started chipping away against the flame-throwing Tate, whose fastball has been clocked as fast as 98 mph.
Singles by No. 9 hitter Korby Batesole and No. 2 hitter Kenny Corey put runners on first and second with one out for the Bulldogs top hitter, Taylor Ward.
Tate got Ward swinging as the Bulldogs catcher finished 0 for 4. Cleanup hitter Kevin Viers singled to right to drive in the Bulldogs’ run and with Tempel, in as a pinch-runner, at third and Viers at first, Fresno State called for a double steal.
Viers beat the throw to second but Tempel tripped midway down the line. And the Bulldogs never got to the Gauchos ace again. Tate went the distance, striking out eight while scattering six hits and one walk.
Bulldogs starter Tim Borst took the loss, allowing a pair of runs on six hits and a walk in 51/3 innings.