Fresno State relied on its plate discipline Sunday afternoon as it pulled out walk-off wins over UC Riverside and Sacramento State to sweep its own Kick-Off Tournament at Margie Wright Diamond.
The No. 24 Bulldogs escaped with a 4-3 win over the Highlanders in seven innings before dispatching the Hornets 10-2 in five innings to finish the weekend.
Fresno State has won each of its last three games via walk-off walks, edging Kansas 3-2 in eight innings on Saturday.
While not the most exciting way to pull out a victory, it fits right in with coach Trisha Ford’s plan this season.
“As boring as those are, it’s good in the long term in what we’re trying to do,” she said. “We’ve been working a lot on our on-base percentages and making sure we’re getting good pitches to hit.”
Fresno State batters walked nine times against UC Riverside and six against Sacramento State. For the weekend, the Bulldogs walked 29 times in five games.
“It’s been something we’ve tried to instill since we got here,” Ford added. “I just think we’ve gotten better and better with the years. ... That’s what savvy vets are supposed to do.”
Against the Highlanders (7-6), the Bulldogs erased a 3-0 deficit via junior Malia Rivers’ two-run single in the second and senior Alyssa Villalpando’s RBI single in the fourth.
Tied in the bottom of the seventh, the Bulldogs loaded the bases before UC Riverside’s Tayler Misfeldt threw ball four to Bria Kennedy and walked home the game’s winning run.
Later in the afternoon, Fresno State’s bats awoke for 12 hits against the Hornets (2-7).
Villalpando lit up Sacramento State’s pitchers, going 3 for 3 with a double and five runs batted in. In the fourth inning, she ripped a bases-loaded double down the left-field line to clear the bases and take a 9-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Fresno State again loaded the bases on two walks and a single before Lindsey Willmon drew ball four to end the game via run-rule.
Freshman Kamalani Dung (1-0) got the win against Sacramento State, giving up five hits and two runs in five innings. She also had two strikeouts.
Senior Hannah Harris (2-0) got the win against UC Riverside, giving up one hit in five innings after replacing Taylor Langdon to start the third.
For the day, Villalpando went 4 for 8 with six RBIs.
“We just come out ready to go regardless of who we’re playing,” Villalpando said. “It doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of the field, we just come out ready to go.”
It’s the first 10-0 start since the 1997 season for the Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 22 by ESPN.com/USA Softball and No. 24 in the USA TODAY/National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll.
MARY NUTTER COLLEGIATE CLASSIC IN CATHEDRAL CITY
- Friday: 1 p.m. vs. No. 14 Oklahoma
- Saturday: 12:30 p.m. Northwestern, 3 p.m. vs. No. 6 Oregon
- Sunday: 2 p.m. vs. Loyola Marymount, 4:30 p.m. vs. Cal State Northridge