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The nationally-ranked Bulldogs are back-to-back Mountain West Conference champions. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)

Softball: ‘Dogs top Aggies, collect fourth-straight MW series sweep

The Fresno State softball team celebrates after its 2-1 win over Utah State. With the win, the Bulldogs capped the three-game weekend sweep of the Aggies. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)

The Fresno State softball team celebrates after its 2-1 win over Utah State. With the win, the Bulldogs capped the three-game weekend sweep of the Aggies. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)

The No. 23-ranked Fresno State softball team pulled off its fourth-straight Mountain West series sweep with a 2-1 win against the Utah State Aggies on Sunday at Margie Wright Diamond.

After coming from behind in all three matches this weekend, the Bulldogs managed to dig themselves out of an eight-run deficit to beat the Aggies 12-11 in nine innings on Friday. They also squeezed out a 3-2 win on Saturday.

After being held hitless through two complete innings by senior ace Jill Compton, the Aggies managed to put up their one and only run in the top of the third inning. But with two outs in the fourth inning, freshman outfielder Vanessa Hernandez and senior infielder Whitney Smith hit back-to-back doubles to tie the game 1-1.

After two scoreless innings, Smith reached base and was ran for by junior outfielder Christina Rodriguez. Senior outfielder Bria Kennedy laid down a sacrifice bunt as Rodriguez ran for third base and after a throwing error by the Aggies Rodriguez was able to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“Our pinch runners, Christina [Rodriguez] and Brooke [Coates], are considered our special teams and they really take pride in that,” Fresno State head coach Trisha Ford said. “Their only goal is to come out every day and mess with our defense. They practice just as long and just as hard as the rest of our position players and have really embraced the role they’ve been given. Christina has scored a lot of big runs for us throughout the year and today was obviously one of them. She’s here to cause chaos and force teams to have to make plays.”

Compton showed up big, throwing all seven innings of work while allowing the Aggies just two hits and one run. Compton went 2-0 with a combined total nine strikeouts and tossed two complete games after earning all three starts in the circle for the ‘Dogs.

“Jill was in a grove, she hit a minor speed bump earlier in the series but refocused and came back out and mowed them down today,” Ford said. “We’re talking about a kid that has faced every team in our conference for four years, and every batter at least twice a day each series. Other teams have hours and hours of video and data on her and she is still continuing to come out here and get wins. If that doesn’t say a lot about her, I don’t know what does.”

The Bulldogs are 30-9-1 overall and have won 22 consecutive league games dating back to the 2015 season. Fresno State is one game away from tying the best conference start in MW history. The last time the ‘Dogs opened conference with more than nine-straight wins was a 24-0 stretch in 1999.

Notes

-Fresno State (12-0) tops the Mountain West by a four-game margin over San Jose State (8-4) meanwhile Nevada trails in third, New Mexico is fourth and Utah State dropped one place to fifth among the nine-team league.

-In the past two weeks the Bulldogs have swept Boise State and New Mexico on the road and took all three contests from San Diego State and Utah State at home.

-When combining the 12 conference games played this year, Fresno State has outscored their opponent 117-46 which includes four run-rule victories.