The Fresno State softball team dominated the annual Bulldog Classic, a five-team tournament at Margie Wright Diamond from Thursday, March 7 to Sunday, March 10.
In their first game, the Bulldogs faced UC Santa Barbara on Thursday afternoon, with the ‘Dogs’ Hailey Dolcini in the pitching circle.
The Bulldogs’ offense came out strong in the second inning, putting up three runs thanks to McKenzie Wilson, who doubled, and Miranda Rohleder brought in another run with a sacrifice bunt.
In the third, the Bulldogs scored again on a double into center field by Vanessa Hernandez which brought in one more run. Dolcini kept the game scoreless for the Bulldogs until the fifth inning, when she allowed two runs by the Gauchos.
The Bulldogs got those two runs back in the fifth inning. The Bulldogs took the victory, 6-2, with Dolcini pitching the entire game, allowing just two runs and striking out five.
Game 2 of the tournament was played against North Dakota University on Friday and was part of a doubleheader. The Bulldogs had Danielle East as the starting pitcher for Game 2.
Fresno State came out strong, scoring three runs in the first inning. North Dakota would answer in the very next inning, scoring two runs and cutting the Bulldogs’ lead to one run.
East would keep North Dakota from getting anything more going until the fifth, when she allowed one run which tied the game. She went on to pitch six innings and was replaced by Danielle Lung to close out the game.
In the bottom of the seventh, the ‘Dogs sealed the win with a two-run walk-off home run to center field by Hayleigh Galvan. The ‘Dogs took the victory 5-3.
“It felt amazing just running the bases and coming home to the team waitting for me. I didn’t have a hit all game, but the team believed in me, so it was an absolutely amazing feeling,” Galvan said.
For their third game, the Bulldogs faced the University of Montana in the second game of Friday’s twinbill. The Bulldogs scored one run in the second inning and another in the third to take an early lead.
Lung pitched the entire game and shut down the Grizzlies completely, allowing only two hits with no runs in six innings, striking out 13 batters.
After scoring another run in the fifth, the Bulldogs rallied in the sixth to score five runs and finish the game early due to the mercy rule. The Bulldogs finished the game 8-0, carrying good momentum into the games on Saturday.
On Saturday, the ‘Dogs were scheduled to play two games, one against Friday’s rival Montana and the second against Thursday’s opponent, UC Santa Barbara.
For the Bulldogs, Dolcini was the starter.. She pitched the entire seven innings, allowing only two hits, no runs while notching nine strikeouts.
The Bulldogs’ offense began its scoring in the second inning, thanks to a single by Vanessa M. Hernandez to bring in a run. The ‘Dogs would score two more in the third and three more in the sixth inning.
Rain began to fall in the last two innings, but that didn’t impede the Bulldogs from taking the victory, 6-0. The second game of the night would be postponed due to rain, it was played on Sunday after the California Baptist University game.
On Sunday, the Bulldogs faced Cal Baptist, a team that earlier in the season had defeated the ‘Dogs.
Lung was the starting, and the first runs of the game came in the third inning, when the ‘Dogs scored four. Cal Baptist answered the Bulldogs in the next inning with a score of its own.
Cal Baptist took advantage of some Bulldogs’ mistakes on defense, and with two runners on base, Mackenzie Budinger hit a home run to left field to tie the game at four. However, the Bulldogs answered back in the same inning by scoring two more runs on a double by Galvan.
East came out to the pitching circle in the sixth inning, replacing Lung who had allowed four hits, four runs and struck out eight.
The Bulldogs took the victory 6-4 avenging their loss to that same team earlier in the season.
“This was basically revenge for us. When they came back and tied the game, it was tough. But we felt that this was our game and no one was going to take this win from us,” Galvan said.
In the last game of the tournament, the Bulldogs were looking to get their sixth win and keep their streak going.
East started for the ‘Dogs. She kept the score sheet clean until the sixth inning, when she allowed one run to score.
The Bulldogs scored first in the second inning, bringing in two runs on a home run to left field by Schuylar Broussard. Fresno State scored one more run in the fifth inning, after Haley Fuller hit a double that reached the left field fence.
East finished the entire game only allowing three hits and one run, with five strikeouts. Fresno State took the victory 3-1, giving the team its sixth win of the tournament and its eighth win in a row.
Head coach Linda Garza said that this win streak gave them good momentum and helped her see different looks in the lineup.
“I thought we had a great performance. Our offense came up big, and we found ways of getting good strikeouts and putting ourselves in really good positions,” Garza said. “It’s hard to play six games [on the weekend]. We dealt with bad weather, but we were resilient, and we stayed in it.”