Matt Weir / Collegian File Photo
â€œHome sweet homeâ€ or â€œThereâ€™s no place like homeâ€ are perhaps two themes for the Fresno State softball team this season after their performances at Bulldog Diamond Friday and Saturday.
After having their struggles earlier this year with tournaments and being away from Fresno, the Bulldogs have now won six consecutive home games thanks to a three-game sweep of the San Jose State Spartans. The weekend series was the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) opener for the Bulldogs.
Fresno State improves its overall record to 17-12 and 3-0 in WAC play.
In game one Friday night, the bats came alive for Fresno State with 10 hits and four RBIs in the 7-1 victory.
Shortstop Haley Gilleland had one RBI, along with two hits.
â€œWe had struggles in the beginning and this is a turning point for us,â€ Gilleland said. â€œIt feels good and itâ€™s something we needed here for a long time.â€
Gilleland and the Bulldogs have had struggles with hitting on the diamond this year. Having two weeks to focus on that in practice turned out to be very beneficial.
â€œOur approach is getting hits and making plays,â€ Gilleland said. â€œThis whole week we had time to work on it. Weâ€™ve been on the road for quite some time and never really had the time to practice hitting and fix things that we were struggling at, and this time we had it.â€
Coach Margie Wright also noticed the improvement with hitting in game one against the Spartans.
â€œWeâ€™ve been struggling quite a bit offensively against some top ranked teams,â€ Wright said. â€œWe havenâ€™t really performed the way that we are capable of. But within those two weeks, we didnâ€™t have much practice time and we kind of started over and started to pay more attention to our swings.â€
Team racks up two more wins
The winning pitcher Friday night was Morgan Melloh, who gave up three hits and struck out 12 Spartan batters. Melloh however, felt that her Friday night performance wasnâ€™t the best she had this season.
â€œI think I couldâ€™ve done better,â€ Melloh said. â€œIâ€™m just going to come out tomorrow (Saturday) and step it up a notch even more. I think today I was a little bit off, but Iâ€™m going to come back tomorrow stronger.â€
Melloh didnâ€™t just come back stronger on Saturday afternoon, she came back almost perfect. Melloh was pitching a no-hitter in the first game of the doubleheader until the final inning.
San Jose State right fielder Kayla Hayes hit the softball through the middle past second base, breaking the possibility of a perfect game for Melloh at Bulldog Diamond.
The sophomore finished the game with her 12th win of the season as the Bulldogs held off the Spartans 2-0. She finished the game with 11 strikeouts and has struck out at least 10 batters 11 times this season.
In the second game late Saturday afternoon, the Bulldogs completed the sweep with a 1-0 victory. Freshman Mackenzie Oakes recorded her fifth victory of the season, with five strikeouts and only gave up two hits on the circle.
The Bulldogs had six hits in the contest, including two from Haley Perkins and Nicole Angene.
Fresno State has reached the middle of the season and has struggled away from home. Perkins believes that the opening series with San Jose State is enough for the team to play better the rest of the way.
â€œThis is our halfway point in the year and we really have to turn it around,â€ Perkins said. â€œWe havenâ€™t been bad, but we havenâ€™t been playing our game. We just need to build on what we have in terms of team hitting and starting rallies. We know what we can do. We can play better. We got to keep going.â€