Fresno State

Fresno State: Softball team beats last-place Boise State; coach wants more energy

Fresno State coach Trisha Ford has just not been happy with her softball team’s energy during home games throughout much of the season.

Friday was no different.

With first-place Fresno State matched against the Mountain West’s last-place team in Boise State, the Bulldogs survived an eventful seventh inning to hold on for a 4-2 victory at Margie Wright Diamond.

But afterward, Ford couldn’t help but express her annoyance with the players’ concentration and performances during at-bats.

“I was not pleased,” Ford said. “This team has a lot of potential. But potential is a very ugly word.

“It’s just getting them to understand that every night, you have to bring your ‘A’ game. It’s our job to come out with a lot of energy and win games that we’re supposed to win.”

The Fresno State coaching staff warned players the dangers of overlooking opponents. The Bulldogs didn’t have to travel too far down memory lane to remember what happened last season at Boise State.

Fresno State demolished Boise State 24-4 during the second game of a three-game series. But the Bulldogs lost the opener and the finale.

And by season’s end, Fresno State finished one game out of first place and fell just short of winning the conference title and advancing to the NCAA Tournament.

Fresno State (31-14, 12-4), the preseason favorite, entered this weekend in a heated Mountain West race, initially tied with defending champ San Diego State (28-16, 11-4) and just ahead of San Jose State (29-15, 9-4). San Diego State had its game Friday at Colorado State postponed because of weather.

The Bulldogs jumped on the Broncos early with cleanup hitter Kierra Willis driving in two runs with a two-out single up the middle in the first inning.

“I was just relaxed and went up knowing I had to score the runners on base,” Willis said.

Alyssa Villalpando crushed her fifth home run of the season with a solo shot on the first pitch of the bottom of the fourth and the Bulldogs scored again in the sixth on Bria Kennedy’s RBI double.

But Fresno State also stranded four runners on base and committed two errors, which irritated Ford.

Leading 4-1 in the seventh, the Bulldogs and starting pitcher Jill Compton found themselves in trouble with the bases loaded and one out.

A sharp comeback that Compton failed to cleanly field had loaded the bases. Then another comebacker to Compton brought in a Boise State run, though the Bulldogs got the second out of the inning on a throw to first.

“It’s pressure, but that’s what we work for,” Compton said. “We work on it. Just staying calm in those situations. ... I should field them.”

Compton finished it by inducing a groundout to shortstop Whitney Smith, who rifled a throw to first for the last out.

“Glad that we got the W, but we’ve got things to work on,” Compton added. “We didn’t really show our energy like we needed to. But that’s something we can control.”

The series continues at 6 p.m. today, followed by the finale at noon Sunday.

Baseball snowed out

Fresno State’s series opener Friday at Air Force was postponed because of snow.

Weeather permitting, the schools will play a doubleheader Saturday. The first pitch of Game 1 is set for 11 a.m. Both games will go nine innings.

Fresno State (18-19, 9-6) is 2-14 on the road this season. Air Force (16-19, 8-10) is 8-1 at home.

Men’s tennis prepares for final match

The Fresno State men’s tennis team will host its final match of the season at noon Saturday against Nevada at the Wathen Center.

Prior to the match, the team will honor its lone senior, Sai Kartik Nakireddi.

The Bulldogs (15-9, 3-3) defeated their third ranked opponent of the season during their last match, defeating then-No. 65 UC Santa Barbara.

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