Fresno State extended its perfect run in the Mountain West Conference softball race to 16 on Friday, coming from behind to beat closest pursuer San Jose State 11-5 to open a three-game series.
Down three runs after three innings, the Bulldogs (35-9-1) scored 10 runs over the final four innings. Included was a two-out, five-run rally in the fifth as Fresno State extended its lead on the Spartans (22-22, 11-5) to five games.
Lindsey Willmon started the comeback with her 10th homer of the year, a two-run shot to cut the deficit to 4-3.
In the fifth, the Bulldogs got two on with two outs before being handed the lead by junior reliever Colette Riggs, whose errant throw on Willmon’s comebacker allowed Kierra Willis to score the tying run and Christina Rodriguez to move to third.
Riggs walked Dominique Jackson to load the bases and hit Morgan Howe to force in the go-ahead run.
Emily Rogers, another junior, came on for the Spartans, but her first pitch hit Whitney Smith. Bria Kennedy capped the rally with a two-run single to left.
The Bulldogs finished with 10 hits, and three players drove in two runs apiece. San Jose State hit three batters in all while also walking five and making two errors.
Senior ace Jill Compton (21-4) pitched an eight-hitter. She had two walks and three strikeouts.
The Bulldogs, ranked No. 20 in the USA Today/NFCA and 21st in the ESPN/USA Softball polls, can clinch the series at noon Saturday. With a sweep Sunday, Fresno State can secure its second straight conference championship and an automatic NCAA Tournament berth.
Tennis – Fresno State’s top-seeded women’s team opened its stay at the Mountain West Championships with a 4-0 sweep of No. 9 Utah State in Fort Collins, Colo. The Bulldogs will face No. 4 San Jose State at noon Saturday in the semifinals.
At the men’s championships in Las Vegas, the No. 8 Bulldogs upset top-seeded Utah State 4-2. Fresno State advances to Saturday’s semifinals against the winner between No. 5 New Mexico and No. 4 UNLV.
Men’s golf – Fresno State junior Trevor Clayton was named to the All-Mountain West team after capturing the individual championship at the conference tournament in Tucson, Ariz. Clayton, the second Bulldog to be named to the All-MW team in the school’s four years in the conference (joining Rufie Fessler, 2012-13), has an automatic berth in the NCAA regionals. Six sites will be set May 5.