Fresno State

Bulldogs blast Riverside to start softball regional at beginning of big weekend in Nevada

Fresno State freshman outfielder McKenzie Wilson, seen in an undated photo, set the school single-season stolen base record on Friday night, May 10, 2019 against Boise State.
Fresno State freshman outfielder McKenzie Wilson, seen in an undated photo, set the school single-season stolen base record on Friday night, May 10, 2019 against Boise State. Fresno State Athletics

Fresno State started its big weekend in Nevada with a bang Thursday when the Bulldogs beat UC Riverside 18-10 to open the National Invitational Softball Championships.

The Fresno State baseball team aimed to clinch the Mountain West Conference regular-season championship Thursday night when it opened a three-game series at UNLV. The Bulldogs, who entered Baseball America’s rankings this week at No. 25, need just one win to secure the crown. The four-team conference tournament is Memorial Day weekend in Reno.

That’s where the Fresno State softball team is at for a four-team NISC regional. On a relatively cold afternoon Thursday, the Bulldogs pounded 15 hits and benefited from seven UC Riverside errors.

Fresno State leadoff hitter McKenzie Wilson had two stolen bases, giving her 37 for the season to set the Mountain West single-season record.

Vanessa Hernandez and Kaitlyn Jennings each had three RBIs, Jennings and Schuylar Broussard each had three hits and the Bulldogs totaled four home runs in a game shortened by the mercy rule to four and a half innings.

Fresno State starter Danielle Lung was roughed up for all of the UC Riverside runs before Danielle East closed. The Bulldogs’ Hailey Dolcini, named conference pitcher of the week, didn’t throw against her former team.

Fresno State (37-18) next plays Thursday’s Nevada-Loyola Marymount winner at 1 p.m. Friday in the double-elimination regional. The regional winner, to be determined Saturday weather permitting, advances to the four-team NISC finals Memorial Day weekend in Fort Collins, Colo.

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