After a tough road series against Boise State last weekend that saw the Fresno State softball team get one win and two losses, the Bulldogs faced UNLV for the last home series of the season this past weekend.
The Rebels proved to be a tough opponent, sweeping the series 3-0 and leaving the Bulldogs with little hope of winning a conference title.
For Game 1 on Friday, the Bulldogs started with Danielle East in the pitching circle, but she couldn’t keep the game scoreless for long. In the very first inning, East allowed one run to score, then in the next inning, she allowed two more runs by the Rebels.
The Bulldogs would answer in the bottom of the second when Schuyler Broussard singled up the middle, scoring Hayleigh Galvan who had doubled.
Fresno State would score again in the third when Rachel Minogue grounded out, but Kaitlyn Jennings was able to score from third.
With help from some great defensive plays, East would find her stride and wouldn’t give up any runs in the third or the fourth. Fresno State would tie the game in the fourth thanks to Chase LeeHong who hit a single that dropped into center field, bringing in Broussard who had doubled.
Then in the seventh, the Rebels’ starting pitcher got her fourth hit of the game, a triple. She scored on a grounder making the final 4-3.
The tie break came when with two outs and a player on base the Rebels hit a ground ball that was caught by Katie Castellon who appeared to get it to first base before the runner, but the runner was called safe at first allowing the run to score.
In Game 2 on Saturday, Fresno State got into trouble early again, allowing one run in the first and a solo home run in the second making the score 2-0 in favor of the Rebels.
Fresno State would got one run back in the second, thanks to a bobbled grounder by Miranda Rohleder that brought in Vanessa Hernandez from third.
In the fifth, the ‘Dogs gave up a two-run homer that gave the Rebels the final 4-1 margin.
In Game 3 on Sunday, the Bulldogs celebrated Senior Day with Katie Castellon, Brook Coates, Sarah Santana, LeeHong and Savannah McHellon.
Much like the previous two games, Fresno State would found itself in a deficit early in the game with East allowing two runs in the first inning.
In the same inning, the Bulldogs got on the scoreboard with a triple by Galvan that brought in Rohleder from second base for the score.
Trailing 3-1 going into the fourth, the Bulldogs’ fell apart, committing several errors and the Rebels would take advantage, scoring three more runs.
With the score 6-1, the Bulldogs got one highlight. In the seventh, their first batter, McHellon, blasted a solo home run.
“Before the at-bat, I just thought to just keep swinging it out…it felt really good just to put it all on the line and to swing it out,” McHellon said “I think this [series] really hurt, but we’re a team that responds well and next week we’ll be looking to bite back.”
With the final score of 6-2, Fresno State would lose the weekend series 3-0 leaving it with an overall record of 30-21 and a conference record of 13-8.
“I tip my hat to UNLV, they came in here with a nothing-to-lose mentality and it paid off for them,” head coach Linda Garza said. “My seniors are such great people. All five of them have put this program in a position to do great things.”