Senior Day is always emotional for both the players and parents, but Fresno State’s home softball finale against Nevada carried extra weight for one Bulldog in particular.
Taylor Green, the team’s leading reserve hitter and backup catcher, didn’t know if her dad Steve would live long enough to see her finish her collegiate career.
Steve Green, 50, has suffered from ALS for nearly 10 years.
On Sunday, he watched from his motorized wheelchair behind the third base dugout as the Bulldogs (36-14, 17-4 Mountain West) pounded the Wolf Pack for a 12-0 win and series sweep.
But it was before the game, when the five seniors — Green, Brenna Moss, Michelle Solomon, Kiley Shae Aldridge and Kelly Megee — were recognized alongside their families that drew the most feels.
As the five dads threw out the ceremonial first pitches to their daughters at home plate, Steve Green was the only one who couldn’t throw.
So he rode his wheelchair from the pitcher’s circle and met his weeping daughter at home plate.
It was a scene that touched everyone in the stadium, with fans cheering and players from both sides wiping away tears for the one-of-a-kind, father-daughter moment.
“I’ve always been dreaming of this day and I was not sure if this day was ever going to happen,” Taylor said. “It was an awesome moment to be with each other. … The win was the icing on top of the cake.”
Starting pitcher Jill Compton retired her first 11 batters and took a perfect game into the fourth inning before Nevada’s Megan Sweet broke up the bid with a single through the right side.
Compton (25-10) went untouched after that, going 41/3 innings with seven strikeouts (fanning exactly half of the 14 batters she faced) for her second one-hit shutout of Nevada (14-33, 4-14) this weekend. The five-time Mountain West Pitcher of the Week now has nine shutouts this season and leads the conference with 214 strikeouts.
“I was just out there doing it for the seniors,” the Bulldogs junior ace said.
The Fresno State offense added its own knockout punch in the bottom of the third, batting through the order to complete a nine-run rally.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring on Kierra Willis’ RBI double before a bases-loaded walk, two fielder’s choices, an error and two base hits put Fresno State up 9-0.
The Bulldogs tacked on three more in the bottom of the fourth. Moss went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, an RBI and two stolen bases to lead Fresno State. Malia Rivers was 2 for 4 and drove in a team-best three runs.
Aldridge took over in the circle with one out in the fifth and quickly ended the home finale with a pop out and strikeout.
Fresno State, winners of seven in a row, leads the conference regular-season race by 21/2 games on second-place San Jose State (33-16, 13-5), 8-0 losers at UNLV.