The Fresno State softball team demolished Stanford with five home runs and 20 hits en route to a 24-8 victory Sunday that concluded the Bulldogs’ first weekend under new coach Linda Garza.
Miranda Rohleder, Lindsey Willmon, Chase Leehong, Savannah McHellon and Katie Castellon each homered as Fresno State applied the mercy rule in five innings against a once-dominant Stanford program to wrap up the Bulldogs’ play at the ASU Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.
The Cardinal made the NCAA Tournament as recently as 2013, but the program has declined sharply since, including a 13-35 record last season.
Fresno State’s win over Stanford might not carry as much weight as it would have a few seasons ago, but the No. 24 Bulldogs are off to a 4-1 start to the season.
43-18 How much the Bulldogs outscored opponents by during their first five games (4-1)
Fresno State’s lone loss came against No. 9 Oregon on Friday when the Bulldogs fell 4-1 as junior transfer McHellon struggled in her Bulldogs debut.
McHellon, a 5-foot-5 righty who previously played at Northwest Florida State and Georgia, gave up four runs off six hits and seven walks against a Ducks program that advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals last season.
Kamalani Dung, meanwhile, threw shutouts with seven strikeouts in each against two Big Ten teams for Fresno State’s first two wins of the year. The sophomore blanked Indiana in a 2-0 victory to start the season Friday then kept Purdue scoreless during a 4-0 win Saturday.
Fresno State’s 12-6 victory against San Diego was highlighted by freshman Schuylar Broussard going 2 for 4 with four RBIs.
In addition, McHellon went deep for the first time in a Bulldogs uniform while finishing 2 for 3 with two runs and three RBIs. She got the win, too, scattering six hits while giving up two runs.
New Fresno State softball coach Linda Garza has the Bulldogs off to a 4-1 start, including wins against three programs from Power Five conferences.
Garza’s debut proved to be somewhat similar to former coach Trisha Ford’s first five games at Fresno State.
Those Bulldogs in 2013 also started 4-1, except they didn’t play any programs from Power Five conferences.
SOFTBALL: FRESNO STATE AT PUERTO VALLARTA COLLEGE CHALLENGE
Vitals: Thursday-Sunday in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Upcoming tournament opponents: Mississippi State, Florida Gulf Coast, Cal State Fullerton, Texas Tech