Lindsey Willmon didn’t find paradise in two seasons at Hawaii. But just a couple of months into the 2016 campaign, she seems to have found it in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley.
Fresno State’s starting first baseman has been an offensive wrecking ball since joining the program as a junior transfer in the fall.
Willmon leads the team in home runs (9), doubles (10), runs (35), hits (42) and slugging percentage (.704). Her 34 RBIs are second behind Alyssa Villalpando’s 36.
Her nine homers are tied for most in the Mountain West with Boise State’s Rebekah Cervantes (Redwood) and Nevada’s Megan Sweet (Frontier/Hanford West highs), and she is in the top three in slugging percentage, runs, RBIs and total bases.
.365 batting average for Lindsey Willmon, second on the team to Whitney Smith’s .368
Defensively, she’s made five errors in 229 chances while playing a role in 12 double plays.
The numbers not only represent dedication and hard work, she said, but also how comfortable she is on the diamond – even as a newcomer.
“It hasn’t been hard,” said Willmon, a California native who played three years at Pleasant Grove High before graduating from Lake City in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. “I mean, it’s definitely hard work.
“I feel like (Fresno State) has been such a great fit for me. I’ve enjoyed it so much and I think it makes it a lot easier to do hard work when you enjoy what you’re doing; and when you know that everyone beside you has the same common goal, it makes it so much easier.”
The thing about Lindsey is that she loves this game. She comes out every single day with passion, energy, and she’s ready to go and that’s just contagious with her teammates. She’s fit in wonderfully. We couldn’t have asked more from her and we’re happy that she feels comfortable, because I think that’s important.
Ford on junior transfer Lindsey Willmon’s success in her first season with the Bulldogs
Willmon said it was a variety of things that made her decide to transfer, including being far away from the mainland.
Villalpando, also a Hawaii transfer who joined the Bulldogs in her junior year last season, reached out to offer advice.
“Being on the island isn’t easy,” Villalpando said. “I was in her footsteps. I knew what she was going through.”
Eventually, Villalpando pitched the idea of Willmon playing for the Bulldogs.
“Back at Hawaii, she was a key component to the team,” Villalpando said. “I thought she was great there, but I knew she could be better here.”
That wasn’t the only selling point.
Willmon had family ties to Fresno State, with grandmother Jeanie Eller an alumna and mother Dena a Valley native.
Bulldogs coach Trisha Ford had recruited Willmon out of high school, then finally landed her the second time around. Willmon is coming off a 2015 season in which she hit .271 with four homers and 25 RBIs while starting 45 games for the Rainbow Wahine.
You can have the same hitter with the same technical skills, but if they feel like a million bucks in the box, you’re going to see a huge difference than from a kid that doesn’t feel like a million bucks in the box.
Bulldogs coach Trisha Ford on ensuring players are comfortable and happy at Fresno State
Ford promised Willmon that she would be happy here, while also becoming a better player and helping the program continue its tradition of conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances.
“When we’re recruiting a transfer, we want them to be happy here,” Ford said, “because if they’re not happy here, they’re not going to be successful.”
Willmon’s debut was a telltale sign that she made the right move. She smacked a two-run homer in her first at-bat in a 7-0 opening win against Indiana at Arizona State’s Kajikawa Classic.
It just kind of fell into place. I went on a couple visits, liked the schools and then came here (to Fresno State) and this was my last visit and it happened to be the best one.
Willmon on why she chose to become a Bulldog
Baseball – Fresno State continues Mountain West play when it welcomes Nevada to Beiden Field for a three-game series starting at 6:05 p.m Friday.
The Bulldogs (21-13, 9-6) have lost four straight, including three at New Mexico after entering the conference series tied with the Lobos for first. Fresno State had won each of its first four Mountain West series this season.
Nevada (15-15, 6-5) has won 10 of 14, including its past four weekend series, to get back to .500 overall after a 5-11 start.
Bulldogs sophomore Ricky Tyler Thomas (4-3, 1.82 ERA, MW-best 58 strikeouts) is scheduled to face senior Christian Stolo (2-4, 3.83) in a Game 1 matchup of left-handers.
Lacrosse – The Bulldogs (4-8, 1-5 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) host No. 9 Stanford (10-2, 5-0) at 5 p.m. Friday.
SOFTBALL: FRESNO STATE VS. UTAH STATE
- Series: 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon Sunday
- Records: Bulldogs 27-9-1, 9-0 Mountain West; Aggies 19-16, 5-4
- Radio: Saturday-Sunday, KFPT (AM 790)
- Webcast: Friday-Sunday on Mountain West Network (themw.com)
BASEBALL: FRESNO STATE VS. NEVADA
- Series: 6:05 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 1:05 Sunday
- Records: Bulldogs 21-13, 9-6 Mountain West; Wolf Pack 15-15, 6-5
- Radio: Friday, KFPT (AM 790); Sunday, KFIG (AM 940)