Fresno State had just enough magic to pull off a third-straight comeback victory – and second walkoff win – against visiting Utah State to complete a series sweep Sunday and remain unbeaten in the Mountain West.
Tied 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Whitney Smith got the Bulldogs (30-9-1, 12-0) going with a walk and was replaced for pinch-runner Christina Rodriguez.
It was the right switch by Bulldogs coach Trisha Ford as it helped set up the game-winning play on the next pitch.
Senior Bria Kennedy put down a sacrifice bunt as Rodriguez barreled toward second. Aggies’ second baseman Kylie Rose-Dixon covered first (Kennedy beat the throw) then fired across the diamond but overthrew her target at third base. Rodriguez, who slid into third, rocketed back to her feet – with Ford screaming and waving her the whole time – to score the walkoff run.
“Our coaches have always talked to us about creating chaos and that’s part of my role on the team. That’s what I did and it resulted in a run,” Rodriguez said.
Defensively, senior Jill Compton hurled a two-hitter against the Aggies (19-19, 5-7), with her only run allowed coming on Noelle Johnson’s sacrifice fly in the top of the third. Compton struck out two and walked two while improving to 18-4 this season.
The Bulldogs tied the score in the bottom of the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Vanessa Hernandez and Smith.
Fresno State extended its conference-record 22-game winning streak dating to last season. The Bulldogs also hold a four-game lead in the MW after second-place San Jose State lost 11-7 against San Diego State.
Fresno State plays a nonconference game at University of Pacific on Wednesday. The Bulldogs then return to Fresno to host Colorado State for a three-game series starting Friday.
Baseball – Fresno State collected its fifth series win and second sweep in the Mountain West on Sunday, beating Nevada 7-6 in the series finale at Beiden Field.
The Bulldogs (24-13, 12-6) erased an early 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the fourth with a five-hit, four-run rally.
Aaron Arruda started the rally with a single up the middle and tied the score on Jake Stone’s double down the right field line.
The Bulldogs went ahead on a throwing error and extended their lead on a run-scoring single by Nick Warren and run-scoring double by Ryan Dobson.
Warren added another RBI double in the fifth and a single in the seventh to finish 3 for 4 with one run scored and two batted in.
Fresno State freshman starter Edgar Gonzalez lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up two hits and two runs (one earned) to go with three walks and two strikeouts.
Tim Borst, who pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief, earned the win for the Bulldogs. He gave up two runs on two hits and fanned four batters.
Miles Mastrobuoni led the Wolf Pack (15-18, 6-7), going 2 for 5 with two RBIs.
The Bulldogs, who face Cal Poly on Tuesday, are in second place in the Mountain West, two games back of New Mexico (26-11, 14-4).
Men’s golf – Trevor Clayton tied for 14th overall (81-69-72 — 222) and three other Bulldogs finished in the top 30 to lead Fresno State to a sixth-place finish at the 15-team El Macero Classic near Davis. The Bulldogs shot a team score of 312-293-289 — 894. Texas Tech won the team title at 12-over 876.
TCU’s Ryan Books won the individual title in a playoff against Oregon State’s Kevin Murphy. The two finished the weekend at even par 216.
Women’s golf – Fresno State will compete at the Mountain West golf championships starting Monday at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage. Junior Gudrun Bjorgvinsdottir, who won the league’s individual title as a freshman, will lead teammates Kristin Simonsen, Hannah Sodersten, Mimi Ho and Yifei Wang on the par-72, 6,291-yard Dinah Shore Tournament Course.
Men’s tennis – Fresno State’s match Sunday against New Mexico was postponed and will be made up at a later date.