Behind a complete-game performance from ace Jill Compton, superb defense and some clutch hitting, Fresno State cruised by Colorado State for a 7-2 win and a series sweep in Sunday’s finale at Margie Wright Diamond.
The Bulldogs (34-9-1, 15-0 MW) grabbed an early lead, scoring on a passed ball and Paige Gumz’s RBI single in the bottom of the first.
The Rams (18-22, 4-10) cut the deficit in the top of the third on a sacrifice fly.
The Bulldogs, who are ranked 20th in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll and 22nd by ESPN/USA Softball, responded in the bottom of the inning with a three-hit, four-run rally that pushed them in front for good.
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Fresno State loaded the bases with one out via two walks and a single that set up slugger Lindsey Willmon for a bases-clearing triple that fell at the warning track in right-center. Willmon then scored on Dominique Jackson’s groundout at first for a 6-1 lead.
Willmon tripled again, this time to lead off the bottom of the fifth and scored on Jackson’s line drive single to left. Willmon went 2 for 3 with three runs batted in and two runs scored to lead the Bulldogs.
That’s what a good team does; they figure out a way to win.
Trisha Ford, Fresno State softball coach
The run support helped Compton find her groove, as she retired the side in order in the second and fourth innings.
“Our goal is to shut them down every time,” Compton said. “If they score against us, we’re going to come back and score a run. And if we score, we’re going to go into the next inning and shut them down to keep momentum on our side. That’s been a goal for us this season.”
The Bulldogs senior ace bent but never broke while improving to 11-0 in conference play and 20-4 overall. With the help of her defense, she stranded seven Rams on base, while holding them to 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. In all, Compton gave up eight hits for two runs (both earned) to go with two walks and three strikeouts to lower her ERA four points to 2.86.
Colorado State threatened in the seventh, loading the bases with one out. The Rams eventually scored on a sacrifice fly, a booming hit by Taryn Arcarese that was caught at the wall in deep center by Fresno State’s Vanessa Hernandez.
Compton and the Bulldogs, however, escaped the threat, getting the game’s final out on a routine groundout to first.
“We’re a team,” Compton said. “This is the best I’ve ever felt since I’ve been here. We’re not afraid. … The dynamic of this team is amazing and I love it.”
MOUNTAIN WEST: FRESNO STATE AT SAN JOSE STATE
- Series: noon Friday, noon Saturday, noon Sunday
- Records: Bulldogs 34-9-1, 15-0 MW; Spartans 22-21, 11-4
- Of note: San Jose State is coming off a sweep of Nevada and is in second place in the Mountain West, four games behind the Bulldogs.