Paige Gumz delivered a walk-off single in the ninth to cap Fresno State’s wild rally from an early eight-run deficit, as the Bulldogs beat Utah State 12-11 on Friday to maintain their perfect run in the Mountain West Conference softball race.
Freshman Kamalani Dung struck out 13 in seven innings in relief of ace Jill Compton, who allowed nine runs (six earned) in two innings. Dung finished with authority, fanning the final five batters she faced and posting the Mountain West high for strikeouts this season.
The hit for Gumz was her only one in six at-bats, but the 14th for Fresno State in the opener of a three-game series. Alyssa Villalpando and Dominique Jackson each drove in three runs.
A six-run top of the third gave Utah State a 10-2 lead, but the Bulldogs chipped away from the third through sixth innings at Margie Wright Diamond.
Morgan Howe delivered a pinch-hit two-run single and Bria Kennedy broke a 10-10 tie with a two-out single, highlighting a four-run sixth.
Utah State made it 11-11 an inning later, only to lead to Gumz’s heroics – which were set up when Kennedy was hit by a pitch to lead off the ninth and the Aggies then failed to get an out on Malia Rivers’ groundball.
The Bulldogs (28-9-1, 10-0), down 10-3 after three, first found life behind freshman Dominique Jackson’s home runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Jackson has nine homers for the season, tying Lindsey Willmon for the team and conference lead.
Leading the barrage for Utah State (19-17, 5-5) was junior Victoria Saucedo, who delivered an RBI single in a four-run second and a three-run homer in a six-run third.
Fresno State, ranked 23rd and 25th in the top two national polls, entered the game 37-12 all-time against the Aggies and 24-1 against them since 2001. Compton, meanwhile, arrived with a 16-4 record and 2.58 ERA this season and 79 wins for her four-year career.
The series continues with a 6 p.m. game Saturday, then wraps up at noon Sunday.
Women’s tennis – Anneka Watts rallied for a three-set win in the final match at No. 5 singles as 37th-ranked Fresno State escaped with a 4-3 Mountain West victory at San Jose State.
Watts defeated Miyo Kobayashi 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 as the Bulldogs improved to 16-8 overall and 3-0 in the conference while winning their 16th straight regular-season league match dating to 2013.
Fresno State also received straight-set singles wins from Mayar Sherif Ahmed, Rana Sherif Ahmed and Sofya Malysheva on a day the Bulldogs lost the doubles point. And that was largely due to the Spartans upset at No. 1 with Sybille Gauvain and Marie Klocker beating the 24th-ranked Ahmeds.
Men’s tennis – Air Force kept Fresno State winless in the Mountain West with a 4-2 win in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The Bulldogs received singles victories from Euan McIntosh at No. 2 and Patrik Pech at No. 4.
Lacrosse – Elizabeth Cusick scored four goals to power ninth-ranked Stanford (11-2, 6-0) past the Bulldogs 18-6 in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation game at the Fresno State Lacrosse Field.
Anjelica Fuccillo – passing Marcy Levatino (2012-15) as the young program’s career points leader – and Caroline Dineen-Carlson each scored twice for Fresno State (4-9, 1-6). The Bulldogs will play at UC Davis on Tuesday before closing the regular season at home on April 24 against Saint Mary’s.
Men’s golf – Greg Gildea and Cody Riecks carded 74s to earn a share of seventh after Friday’s opening round of the UC Davis-hosted El Macero Classic at El Macero Country Club. The two Bulldogs are four behind front-running Federico Zucchetti of Texas Tech, which also has the team lead at 3-over 291. Oregon State (303) is second and Fresno State (312) seventh among 15 teams at the 54-hole tournament.
SOFTBALL: FRESNO STATE VS. UTAH STATE
- Schedule: 6 p.m. Saturday, noon Sunday
- Records: Bulldogs 28-9-1, 10-0 Mountain West; Aggies 19-17, 5-5
- Webcast/radio: Mountain West Network (themw.com)/KFPT (AM 790)