Bulldog softball go into conference play hot

Fresno State sophomore Hailey Dolcini throws a pitch during the Bulldogs’ 5-3 victory over CSU Bakersfield in the Fresno State Invitational at Margie Wright Diamond on March 31, 2019. (Jose Romo Jr./The Collegian).

The Fresno State softball team is on a tear as of late, improving from a slow start at the beginning of the season and now has won seven straight.

The Bulldogs concluded the Fresno State Invitational at Margie Wright Diamond on Sunday with a 6-0 win over Santa Clara and a 5-3 victory over CSU Bakersfield, according to a Fresno State Athletics news release.

The Bulldogs faced off against the University of San Diego, University of Pacific, along with both Santa Clara and CSU Bakersfield during the six-game invitational, which saw the Bulldogs go a perfect 6-0.

On its way to a perfect record during the invitational, Fresno State was dominant, outscoring its opponents 48-9 while averaging eight runs per game. The Bulldogs’ bats were ablaze, hitting .420 while accumulating a .521 on-base percentage as a team.

Pitchers Danielle Lung, Hailey Dolcini and Danielle East combined for a 1.44 ERA and three shutouts during the tournament.

The first day was highlighted by Dolcini and East as they combined for a one-hit shutout as the ‘Dogs topped San Diego, 14-0, in five innings. The Bulldogs’ bats previewed things to come as they scored six runs in each of the first two innings and finished with a season-high 14.

Dolcini improved to 10-2 with a 1.26 ERA, with the ‘Dogs winning 11 of her 13 starts. She recorded her third and fourth shutouts of the year against San Diego and Santa Clara.

The performance of Dolcini earned her Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honors. She appeared in four games last week, going 3-0 with a save on top of her 0.84 ERA and .158 opponents batting average over 16.2 innings.

The domination on the mound continued for Dolcini as she recorded 19 strikeouts against just two walks, recording six strikeouts in each of her three starts while permitting only nine hits and two runs over the three-game period.

With its seventh straight victory on Sunday, Fresno State (22-11) reached the 20-win mark and has won 15 consecutive non-conference games this season, while improving to 14-2 at home this season.

One highlight of the tournament was the hitting on display by junior Miranda Rohleder, as she went 7-for-7 on Saturday with a triple, a double and two RBIs to go along with her four runs scored. Rohleder went on to finish the invitational hitting 11-for-15, a .733 average, adding four more runs scored.

Her performance on Saturday helped lead the Bulldogs to a pair of wins including a 12-4 mercy rule win over Santa Clara and a 6-2 victory over Pacific.

Up next for the Bulldogs is a return to Mountain West play next week with an away series against UNLV (25-7 overall, 6-2 MW). The Rebels are coming off a series sweep of San Diego State over the past weekend.

Senior infielder Rachel Minogue feels that the ‘Dogs performance during the invitational has the Bulldogs primed to continue their success when they arrive in Las Vegas.

During the invitational Minogue had an impressive tournament performance batting a .611 average, going 11-for-18 with three doubles, 11 RBIs and scoring three runs.

“I think it was good before going to face UNLV to get the momentum back on our side,” Minogue said, according to a Fresno State Athletics news release. “We put a lot of runs up on the board in every game this weekend and we pitched well so I think everyone is feeling good right now.”

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