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Softball: ‘Dogs prep for battle against Rams

Six games remain in the Fresno State softball team’s regular season. The upcoming three are crucial.

The Colorado State Rams – tied for second place with San Diego State and Boise State – visit Fresno for a three-game set that begins Friday. The three teams only trail the Bulldogs by one game for the top spot in the Mountain West.

And despite potential distractions this weekend – Bulldog Diamond will be officially renamed Margie Wright Diamond on Saturday in a big ceremony – head coach Trisha Ford doesn’t let her team forget its mantra that has carried it the whole season:

Take every game one pitch at a time, and don’t worry about the other side of the dugout. After all, it’s helped the Bulldogs reach their No. 1 spot in the conference.

“I really try to get us to be in the now,” Ford said. “Right now, it’s Colorado State, Friday night’s game and the first pitch in the first inning. After this weekend, we’ll be able to think about next week.

“We control our own destiny. This is what you play all season long for, to be in this position. If we don’t take care of things this weekend, next week doesn’t mean anything.”

The Bulldogs took two out of three games from the UNLV Rebels this past weekend, outscoring them 7-4 during the series.

But with the exception of the second game in the set (Fresno State won 6-3), the Rebels silenced the ‘Dogs’ bats and held them to a .176 average. The Bulldogs only mustered one run in both games, and lights-out performances by pitcher Jill Compton prevented UNLV from gaining any momentum.

The Bulldogs do not want a repeat performance. With a big series at home, it’s all about going back to fundamentals for the squad.

“Part of it is having these one-on-one sessions with the coaches,” Ford said. “A lot of it has to do with [the players’] mental approach. They’ve worked hard on their mechanics, so just getting them to free up a little more mentally will hopefully pay dividends when they’re in the box.”

Today, the team will strategize on the upcoming series. As on a typical Wednesday practice, the Bulldogs will look at what happened last week and focus on any necessary improvement. A majority of the practice will be geared toward defense and pitching – Colorado State ranks first in the Mountain West in batting (.315).

“[The Rams] are a good-quality opponent,” Ford said. “Coming from a cold-weather city, they have to play on the road a lot, so I think that’s not a huge disadvantage for them.”

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