Fresno State loses winning streak but takes series

Sophomore Samantha Mejia pitched all seven innings and only allowed seven hits and one run in Game 2 against the San Diego State Aztecs on April 21, 2018 at Margie Wright Diamond. The ‘Dogs won the series 2-1. (Fresno State Athletics)

The Fresno State softball team is at the top of the Mountain West standings after coming off a 10-game winning streak last weekend. The ‘Dogs were looking to extend that streak at home against conference rival San Diego State, but instead had it snapped.

The ‘Dogs lost their first game on Friday, 10-0, but won on Saturday and Sunday to take the series 2-1.

The Bulldogs had a difficult time in Game 1, even with ace Danielle East in the circle to start the game. East gave up two runs in the first, putting the Bulldogs in a hole early.

Along with the defense, the offense also struggled to get anything going early in the game. The Aztecs shut down the Bulldogs, allowing only four hits.

East continued to struggle in the circle as she allowed two more runs in the third and four runs in the fourth.

Senior Sarah Santana replaced East in the fourth, but, by then, it was 8-0 and momentum was on the Aztecs’ side.

It was 10-0 by the fifth, and the game ended by mercy-rule, giving the Bulldogs their first loss in the month of April to end their 10-game winning streak.

For Game 2, Fresno State came out with sophomore Samantha Mejia in the pitching circle with hopes of getting its first win in the series.

Mejia pitched all seven innings and only allowed seven hits and one run. She also got help from her defense which made some really impressive plays, especially sophomore Schuylar Broussard at third base.

The ‘Dogs’ offense was on fire from start to finish in Game 2. Junior Rachel Minogue doubled to center field, hitting the wall and bringing in three runs to give the ‘Dogs an early lead.

Fresno State scored two more runs against the Aztecs – one in the second and another in the third – to give the Bulldogs a 5-0 lead going into the fourth.

The Aztecs got on the board with one run in the sixth, but it was too late to mount a comeback.

The ‘Dogs took Game 2, 5-1.

In the last game of the weekend series, the Bulldogs brought back East.

And  in what had started like another Game 1, the Aztecs were on the board early with one in the first.

East, shaking it off, pitched two shutout innings right after. It wouldn’t be until the fourth when San Diego State got on the board again to extend its lead to 2-0.

However, the Bulldogs rallied back in that same inning. With bases loaded, Fresno State’s first run of the game came after a pitch hit Broussard to walk in senior Savannah McHellon.

Cutting its deficit in half, the ‘Dogs were not done yet. They scored two more runs thanks to a double by junior Kaitlyn Jennings, giving the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead.

“[Head coach Linda Garza] helped me to narrow my focus in the strike zone. I’m a lot better when I trust myself, and she reminded me of that,” Jennings said. “Their pitcher had a good change-up, but towards the end, we made adjustments and hit a lot better.”

Fresno State added to the lead in the sixth with another run after a hit by Jennings to bring in Brook Coates.

East finished the game with another outstanding inning and offense.

The final score for Game 3 was 4-2 in favor of the Bulldogs giving them the series 2-1 and adding to their overall record of 29-16 and 12-3 in the Mountain West Conference.

“San Diego State came in, did some adjustments and, on that Friday, they were the better team,” Garza said. “We asked our team to bounce back and be more resilient in the box to put us in position to score, and the team did that.”

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