Going, going, gone went three San Jose State home runs Saturday, enough to at least give pause to thoughts that Fresno State had a hammerlock on the Mountain West softball race. Just like that, a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning was a 3-2 deficit headed to the second.
But the big bats of the Bulldogs quickly reaffirmed supremacy in a matchup of the top two teams in the conference, a run-scoring double and bases-loaded walk followed by Dominique Jackson’s grand slam in a six-run second as Fresno State pounded the host Spartans for the second straight day, 13-7.
With the series clinched, the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches No. 20 and ESPN.com/USA Softball No. 21 Bulldogs (36-9-1, 17-0) put themselves in position to lock up the championship and an automatic NCAA Tournament berth when the teams meet at noon Sunday.
The Spartans (22-23, 11-6) would continue to blast away, hitting two more home runs and finishing with 10 hits, but it hardly mattered on a day the Bulldogs kept scoring.
Fresno State senior Whitney Smith hit her first homer of the season and just the third of her career in the third and Bria Kennedy added a two-run triple in the sixth, while in between a bevy of San Jose State mistakes aided the Bulldogs’ cause.
Spartans pitchers walked seven and hit two batters and the defense committed a pair of errors.
Bulldogs freshman Kamalani Dung was the starter and victim of the three-homer barrage while getting just one out in the first. Taylor Langdon (3-1) got within two outs of finishing it, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks, before ace Jill Compton was summoned to quash a final Spartans rally.
Kierra Willis drove in three and scored three times. Smith, at the bottom of the order, was 2 for 3 with a pair of runs.
San Jose State sophomore Brittany Abacherli, batting in the leadoff spot, hit two of the Spartans’ five home runs and finished 3 for 3 with three RBIs.
▪ The Bulldogs’ 18-game winning streak leads the nation.
▪ Fresno State is 9-1 on the road, including 8-0 in the conference.
▪ The two victories this weekend have stretched the Bulldogs’ two-year Mountain West record winning streak to 27.
Tennis – Sofya Malysheva won 6-3, 6-1 at No. 6 singles as top-seeded Fresno State beat No. 4 San Jose State 4-2 and advanced to the championship of the conference tournament in Fort Collins, Colo.
Doubles victories by the teams of Sophie and Anneka Watts and Malysheva and Olivia Noble gave the No. 47-ranked Bulldogs a 1-0 lead. Mayar Sherif Ahmed, ranked No. 62 nationally, and Rana Sherif Ahmed picked up the other singles victories for Fresno State, which at 9:30 a.m. Sunday faces No. 2 New Mexico or No. 3 UNLV for the title.
The Bulldogs are seeking their second Mountain West title in their four years in the conference after winning in 2014 and reaching the semifinals a year ago.