Senior outfielder Kierra Willis (#14) at the plate against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on February 23, 2017, at Margie Wright Diamond. (Khone Saysamongdy/ The Collegian)

Willis walks her way to the top

Senior outfielder Kierra Willis found herself at the top of Fresno State’s all-time walks leaderboard when she drew her 115th career walk on Friday against Nevada at Margie Wright Diamond.

“That was one of my main goals – my whole career playing here – was to put my name in the books and do something to have my name always be here,” Willis said. “So it’s good to know that I’ve achieved something that I’ve always wanted, so it was like my dream come true.”

The senior criminology major is in first place in the Mountain West Conference with 28 walks on the season after this past weekend’s series against the Nevada Wolfpack.

Willis passed former Bulldog shortstop Christina Clark to secure the record. Clark played for Fresno State from 2003-06.

“What Kierra has done is amazing,” head coach Linda Garza said. “We just, in fact, were talking about Christina Clark, [who] is one of the best hitters to ever play here at Fresno State and is the leading homerun hitter. I grew up watching and knowing what was around her and actually they walked her a lot.”

A Pleasant Hill, California native, Willis said she keeps the same mojo every time she steps into the box. She remains patient, but if a pitch is delivered and is a good pitch to hit then she is going to swing.

“[Willis] actually knows the strike zone,” Garza said. “Not only have they tried to pitch around her, but right now she is earning walks because she has a great eye at the plate. It’s a very hard thing to do, to go up there and to be that patient especially, with the numbers that she can put up as a hitter.”

Garza said she is proud of Willis’ amazing accomplishment and her ability to be selfless and trust what the offense can do behind her.

Willis has reached base safely in 16 straight games. Her 17th career triple in Sunday’s game lifted her into a tie for fifth place for the most triples all-time at Fresno State.

The Diamond ‘Dogs take the field again on Friday, April 7, to take on Utah State in Logan, Utah, at 2 p.m.