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Fresno State junior catcher Paige Gumz (35) prepares to run home during last weekend's 4-1 win over Cal Poly. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)

Softball: ‘Dogs sweep Rams in conference opener

Fresno State junior catcher Paige Gumz (35) prepares to run home during last weekend's 4-1 win over Cal Poly. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)

Fresno State junior catcher Paige Gumz (35) prepares to run home during last weekend’s 4-1 win over Cal Poly. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)

The Fresno State softball team was on the road for a three-game series against the Colorado State Rams for the first games of Mountain West conference play this season. They came out victorious in all three games, sweeping the Rams by scores of 9-0 in the first game, 3-1 in the second and 11-2 in the last game over the weekend.

In Game 1, Fresno State pitcher Jill Compton drew the start and went all five innings, giving up three hits while recording four strikeouts in the outing.

Six of the nine runs scored for the ‘Dogs came off a pair of home runs by Chase LeeHong and Kierra Willis. It was the first longball for LeeHong, while Willis recorded her sixth home run of the season.

“We came out ready in the first inning, took advantage of some errors and capitalized on our opportunities,” said Fresno State head coach Trisha Ford. “Jill had a solid game on the mound and was able to pitch us to a win.”

The second game was a much closer affair, with Hannah Harris drawing the start in the circle for the ‘Dogs. Harris lasted five innings and gave up three hits and one run while managing to strike out three Rams in the process. Compton took over for Harris in the sixth inning, and allowed just one hit and one walk in two innings of work.

‘Dogs catcher Paige Gumz hit a home run in the fourth inning to put Fresno State up 3-0 before the Rams scored their first run of the series in the bottom of the fifth off a double.

“We scratched another win across today,” Ford said. “Hannah did a solid job for us, and Jill came in to close. Colorado State is a scrappy team, and that was a good win. Paige came through with a huge hit that was enough to pull out a W.
“We have been in a lot of tight games this year, and you hope as a coach that it builds character and grit as the season goes on.”

Compton started in the circle and threw a complete game for the final game of the series, striking out eight batters over the five innings.

Colorado State put up two early runs in the second inning before the ‘Dogs came back to score three runs on four hits in the top of the fourth. Rams miscues led to four unearned runs in the game for the ‘Dogs off three errors.
Six ‘Dogs managed to score 11 of the runs, including Malia Rivers, LeeHong, Alyssa Villalpando, Michelle Solomon, Willis and Gumz, who had a season high four runs.

“We had contributions up and down our lineup,” Ford said. “Jill was stronger today and threw a great game; that’s what I expect out of her. Defensively we had some miscues that were capitalized on today, but I love the fact we came right back and answered. We will enjoy this today and start prepping for our next series tomorrow.”

The ‘Dogs will host San Jose State on Friday at Margie Wright Diamond, as they look to continue their undefeated conference play over the weekend.