The Fresno State softball team won four of five games at the Fresno State Invitational at Margie Wright Diamond this weekend. The ‘Dogs’ only loss came to No. 17 University of California, Berkeley.
Cleveland State, UC Santa Barbara and Monmouth also took part in the invitational.
On Friday, the Bulldogs faced Cleveland State in the first game of a doubleheader.
Fresno State’s pitching was stellar throughout the game with freshman Danielle East throwing five scoreless innings. The offense was active, scoring three runs in the first inning.
The ‘Dogs did not score again until the third inning when catcher Hayleigh Galvan doubled to left field to bring in Brook Coates. In the fifth inning, the Bulldogs rallied to end the game early with runs by Schuylar Broussard, Chase LeeHong and a home run by senior Savannah McHellon, who drove in Miranda Rohleder and Kaitlyn Jennings.
With a 9-0 lead in the fifth, the game ended due to the mercy rule.
McHellon started in the circle against UCSB in the second game of the night. Both teams showed solid pitching and defense.
It was in the fourth inning that the Bulldogs began to score. Dolly Stevens, Coates, Galvan, Vanessa Hernandez, and Rachel Minogue scored for the ‘Dogs.
With confidence on their side, the Bulldogs didn’t let up, having Galavan score once more in the fifth. McHellon hit a home run in the sixth that drove in Rohleder, giving the ‘Dogs an eight-run lead and the game.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs faced Cleveland State again.
Savannah Berkowitz had an outstanding pitching performance for the Bulldogs, yielding one run in seven innings. The Bulldogs scored in the first inning thanks to Rohleder’s solo home run.
In the fifth, Hernandez doubled to left field, bringing in Coates. Minogue followed with a double down the right-field line scoring Hernandez. Broussard singled to center, allowing Leehong to score.
The Bulldogs had two more runs in the six inning – one by Jennings and another by Rohleder, giving the ‘Dogs a 6-0 lead. In the top of the seventh, Cleveland State managed to score one run, but Fresno State’s defense wouldn’t allow any more, closing out the game and taking a 6-1 win.
The toughest challenge, for Fresno State would be the 17th-ranked Cal Bears.
The Bulldogs started the game going toe-to-toe with Cal for the first three innings, and not allowing a run until the fourth. However, Bulldogs’ pitcher Danielle East had trouble in the fourth and let five runs score, Sarah Santana came in as a reliever and managed to get out of the inning without allowing any more runs.
Santana kept control until the seventh, when she allowed two runs. For its part, Cal’s defense shut down the ‘Dogs offense, allowing five hits. Cal took the victory 7-0.
In the last game, Fresno State would face Monmouth in what proved to be the most exciting game of invitational for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs’ offense score 10 runs in the game with scores by Castellon and Rohleder in the first, Coates in the second and a big at-bat by Dominique Jackson who homered in the third, bringing in Hernandez and Galvan. Aaliyah Cuevas scored in the fourth, and then in the sixth Stevens, Broussard and Hernandez scored.
East pitched the first two innings for the ‘Dogs, but then found trouble, allowing two runs and was relieved in the third by Samantha Mejia. Mejia allowed two runs in the fifth but was able to get out of the inning and close out the game.
The game ended with the Bulldogs winning, 10-4.
“I thought we did really well this weekend. We worked on things all week, and we came out with a positive attitude,” Rohleder said. “We trusted the process, and things turned out our way.”