Fresno State couldn’t hang with nationally ranked UC Santa Barbara all week, dropping Saturday’s nonconference series finale 9-3 as the No. 15 Gauchos completed a four-game baseball sweep at Caesar Ukesaka Stadium.
It extended the Bulldogs’ struggles on the road, where they are 2-13 this season — including five losses in a row and six of their last seven to drop one game below .500 at 16-17.
UC Santa Barbara (23-7) got to starter Anthony Arias for two runs in each of the first two innings.
Arias (1-1) started fast by retiring the first two batters, but that momentum quickly vanished. A double error on a play in the infield gave the Gauchos the lead. Arias, a redshirt freshman left-hander, was done after two, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits.
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The Bulldogs clawed back, scoring twice in the third and holding the Gauchos at bay behind reliever William Munro, who threw three scoreless innings. He was helped by a defense that converted two double plays before Santa Barbara broke through against the senior right-hander in a three-run sixth.
Fresno State got one run back in the seventh but gave up two in the eighth via four hits and an error.
The Bulldogs host No. 21 Cal at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday for the second of three meetings between the teams this season. Fresno State beat the Bears 7-2 on March 27.
Softball team gets key series win
Fresno State starter Jill Compton, celebrating her 21st birthday, picked up where she left off two days earlier against San Diego State — the leader in the Mountain West Conference softball race.
Compton did not allow an earned run and went the distance for the second time in the three-game series as the Bulldogs won 8-1 in Saturday’s finale.
On Thursday, Compton delivered a two-hit shutout in a 5-0 series-opening win. She gave up just five hits in seven innings Saturday to improve to 15-9 in the circle this season.
“It was a great birthday win for Jill,” coach Trisha Ford said. “I was pleased with our at-bats today, laying off of the rise ball.”
Fresno State went up early on Michelle Solomon’s RBI line-drive single in the first. Doubles by Alyssa Villalpando, Brenna Moss and Taylor Green highlighted a four-run seventh.
The Bulldogs (25-13, 6-3 Mountain West) are a half-game behind the front-running Aztecs (24-14, 7-2). Fresno State, tied for second with San Jose State (26-14, 6-3), hosts New Mexico in a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Margie Wright Diamond.
Golfers stay close at Ole Miss
Freshman Joanna Kim shot a 1-under 71 for Fresno State’s best round of the day and the Bulldogs were in fifth as a team after the second round of the Ole Miss Rebel Intercollegiate women’s golf tournament in Oxford, Mississippi.
The Bulldogs are the only unranked program in the top five, with No. 19 Texas A&M leading at 1-over 577. Tenth-ranked Tennessee (580), No. 15 Furman (582) and No. 18 Kent State (584) are just ahead of Fresno State (585).
Kent State’s Josee Doyon (69-71) leads individually at 4-under 140. Fresno State’s Madchen Ly (70-73-143) shares fourth.