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Junior Savannah McHellon (#24) up to bat against San Jose State on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at Margie Wright Diamond. (Christian Ortuno/ The Collegian)

McHellon reminiscent of former Bulldog legends

Just about the only place you won’t find Fresno State softball player Savannah McHellon is the bench.

Listed as a right-handed pitcher, the junior often takes the circle for the ‘Dogs as their number two. But you can also find the Georgia native making plays at first base and leading the lineup with 39 RBIs on the season.

“It’s fun to see somebody who is so powerful at the plate, [and who] can be so athletic and play first base when things aren’t working,” head coach Linda Garza said. “She’s a mentally tough kid. She really has to practice a little bit of everything at practice. She doesn’t get a break.”

Playing at the University of Georgia and Northwest Florida State College in her freshman and sophomore years respectively, McHellon is already making her name known at Fresno State.

McHellon has eight home runs on the year with a .565 slugging percentage. In the field, she has 73 putouts with just two errors and a .978 fielding percentage.

“What I try to do is really focus on keeping good energy,” McHellon said. “I know sometimes we get in our heads about personal contributions to the team. It’s not even in a selfish way. It’s kind of just really wanting to be that person who does something big at the right moment.”

Garza said McHellon is just someone who can do it all, comparing her to former Bulldog pitcher, 1998 College World Series champion and four-time All-American Amanda Scott – who also owned a .303 career batting average at Fresno State.

The head coach also likened the junior to Jamie Southern, who was named the WAC Pitcher of the Year four times, and was a two-time Fresno State Female Athlete of the Year in her tenure with the Bulldogs from 2002-05.

Scott, who played with the Bulldogs from 1997-2000, holds the Fresno State record for most consecutive career wins with 19. Southern holds nine first-place records for the Bulldogs including 118 career wins, eight no-hitters and 1,321 strikeouts among others.

In 21 pitching appearances, McHellon has a 5-7 record with a 4.32 ERA, allowing 96 hits and giving up 55 walks.

“You know, for us, she still needs to get better in the circle in terms of being a pitcher that can be ready for us,” Garza said.

The Bulldogs’ ace and fellow right-handed pitcher Kamalani Dung said McHellon goes out to the circle, does her job when she’s called to pitch and puts in her best effort.

McHellon’s presence isn’t only found in the box score, but also felt on the field.

“She’s a great teammate, a great player. She’s a funny person to be around,” Dung said. “She has a great personality. She’s always hyping the team up, and what I love about her is that she’s very selfless. She’s a good person. She’s one of my good friends.”

McHellon and the Diamond ’Dogs (26-20) return to the field in Las Vegas, Nevada to take on the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (23-20) on Friday, April 28 at 6 p.m.