Fresno State faces a do-or-die showdown Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Seattle Regional.
Senior right-hander Megan Betsa, the national leader in strikeouts, fanned 13 while pitching a one-hitter and No. 20 Michigan had a two-run response in the bottom of the fifth to the Bulldogs’ only scoring rally as the Wolverines beat Fresno State 3-1 on Day 1 of the regional Friday.
The Bulldogs at 4:30 p.m. will face Montana, an 8-0 loser in five innings to No. 7 Washington.
Michigan faced Washington at 2 p.m. Saturday. The loser there plays at 7 p.m. against the survivor of the elimination game between Fresno State and Montana.
The championship is at 4 p.m. Sunday, with a second game, if necessary, at 6:30 p.m.
Bulldogs sophomore right-hander Kamalani Dung, coming off a stellar regular season in which she was named Mountain West Pitcher of the Year, walked three in the second and with two outs gave up Natalie Peters’ two-out single as Michigan took a 1-0 lead.
But center fielder Vanessa Hernandez kept it from getting worse, throwing home to nail a second runner trying to score.
Fresno State tied it on Katie Castellon’s foulout sacrifice fly in the fifth. A first-and-third situation had been created after Kierra Willis walked, then advanced two bases when the Wolverines botched Haley Fuller’s sacrifice bunt.
Dung got a groundout to open the bottom of the fifth, but then hit a batter before a bunt single and another to left preceded Aidan Falk’s 0-2 two-run single to right.
Betsa, facing the heart of the Bulldogs’ order, struck out the side in the sixth and fanned two more in the seventh after Willis drew a leadoff walk.
The first Wolverine player with three straight 300-strikeout seasons and the third to surpass 1,000 career strikeouts, Betsa at 1,178 is closing in on Jennie Ritter (1,205, 2003-06) and leader Jordan Taylor (1,220, 2008-11) on Michigan’s all-time list.
Miranda Rohleder had the Bulldogs’ hit, a one-out double in the first. Betsa did walk four.
Dung was charged with three earned runs on four hits and four walks while striking out six.