One reason to cheer

Fresno State softball players celebrate a run coming across the plate during its lone victory against Nevada this weekend, 4-1. The Bulldogs dropped the series 1-2 and will look to rebound Tuesday against UC Santa Barbara.
Joseph Edgecomb / The Collegian

Fresno State just couldn’t come up with an answer against Nevada’s undersized sophomore pitcher Katie Holverson in last weekend’s three-game series at Bulldog Diamond.

Holverson, who stands at just 5 foot, 4 inches, didn’t allow a single run in the two full games she pitched; two games that ended in victories for the Wolf Pack.

The Bulldogs couldn’t keep their eye on Holverson’s heat. She finished the weekend with 18 strikeouts.
“That little girl can throw the ball harder than anybody I know,” Nevada coach Michelle Gardner said. “She’s five-nothing and can throw 67, 68 miles per hour. I’m 5-10 and my best was 68, and she can do that in a snap.”

In the first game of the series on, Holverson faced Fresno State freshman ace Morgan Melloh in an 11-inning marathon.

Both Melloh and Holverson kept the game scoreless for 10 full innings.

In the top of the 11th inning, senior Vanessa Briones hit a home run for the first run of the game.

Freshman pitcher Morgan Melloh earned her 24th win on Saturday in the Bulldogs’ only win over Nevada. Melloh had seven strikeouts and allowed no runs on six hits.
Joseph Edgecomb / The Collegian

Despite being outshined by Melloh’s 13 strikeouts, Holverson was able keep the game scoreless and pick up the win, 2-0.

After a night of rest, the new day brought a new game for the Fresno State squad. Senior outfielder Aja Scheuber said her team came into the game with a different mindset.

“We came out, and we were thinking we needed a win,” Scheuber said.

Fresno State’s offense returned to winning form as they kept Nevada’s senior pitcher Jordan McPherson to just two strikeouts.

Melloh returned to the diamond after Friday night’s marathon. After giving up a run in the first, Melloh regained composure and didn’t allow much offense from Nevada. After the first inning the Wolf Pack went scoreless.

The Bulldogs scored four runs on just six hits. Much of Fresno State’s offensive production came from extra bases as a result of Nevada’s errors.

All three errors lead to eventual runs by the Bulldogs.

“The errors killed us,” Gardner said.

Fresno State ended the first game of the doubleheader 4-1.

After a short 20-minute intermission, the teams took back to the field.

Gardner came into the series knowing that she would have to endure the solid pitching from Fresno State’s freshman ace Melloh.

“Our game plan was to play within ourselves,” Gardner said. “Morgan is a very good pitcher. You’re not going to put up a lot of runs against her.”

Melloh was done pitching for the weekend.

Coach Margie Wright allowed Melloh to pitch both Friday’s game and the first game of the doubleheader, so she would not return. Instead, Fresno State started freshman Ashley Cox to face Holverson.

Holverson’s dominance of Friday’s game carried over into Saturday. She kept Fresno State scoreless for the second game in a row.

Fresno State gave up as many hits as the first two games combined.

Holverson’s speed and Nevada’s bats were too much for the Bulldogs.

The third game ended in a 5-0 loss for Fresno State, the biggest deficit for the team this season.

After the loss, Wright said she believed that Nevada deserved to be a top 25 nationally ranked team.

“That’s a good team,” Wright said. “They get underestimated because they are in the [Western Athletic Conference].”

Gardner agreed that this was a step in the right direction for her team.

“To come in to Fresno and beat them two out of three games is enormous for our program,” Gardner said. “When we play defense we can beat anybody.”

Though Wright said Holverson deserved credit, she thought her team could have given the pitcher more of a challenge.

“I think we could have given her a tougher battle,” Wright said. “Our kids needed to be able to hit the ball today, and they didn’t.”

Coming out of Saturday’s loss, Wright said there were things the Bulldogs definitely needed to work on before the end of the season.

“We’re going to work harder on the adjustments we need to make on that kind of pitching,” Wright said. “We have to be prepared for the end of the year.”

Nevada dropped to second place, despite beating the Bulldogs in the series.

The Bulldogs moved into third place despite the two losses.

Fresno State takes the field again on the road against UC Santa Barbra on Tuesday.

The Gauchos are 5-0 in the Big West and swept Cal Poly this past weekend.

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