The Fresno State Bulldogs softball team showcased its pitching at Margie Wright Diamond last weekend as it swept a five-game tournament for a second time to improve to 10-0 at home this season.
Unlike last weekend during the Fresno State Kickoff Classic, pitching was the story instead of power hitting.
“I think the biggest performance was Hailey Dolcini,” said Fresno State head coach Linda Garza. “To be able to throw two shutouts and a lot of strikeouts and the dominance she was able to have, it’s fun to see that.”
Not only did Dolcini throw two complete-game shutouts, but she also surpassed her career-high in a single game with 15 strikeouts during Friday’s 1-0 victory against the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Dolcini threw one more complete game shutout as she held Pacific to four hits in the 4-0 victory on Sunday. For the entirety of the Fresno State Invitational, Dolcini threw 21 strikeouts, allowed eight hits with no runs and no walks.
“I felt really sharp,” said Dolcini following the win against Pacific. “Getting ahead on the count and having Kelcey [Carrasco] back there with me helps me with my rising pitches. Being able to do that allows me to get a lot more swings and misses.”
However, Dolcini wasn’t the only one to throw a complete game during the invitational. Sophomore Danielle Lung went the distance and threw a complete game against Ohio State on Friday night. Lung had a tougher time in the circle against the Buckeyes but hung on to earn the 9-4 victory.
Lung’s performance against OSU was different compared with her performance against UCSB.
UCSB earned three runs on four hits and struck out twice as Lung only pitched two full innings. The Fresno State pitching staff had a rough outing against UCSB as the Gauchos scored seven earned runs in the third inning.
Danielle East was credited with the win, throwing four innings, allowing four hits and four earned runs with one strikeout. Darina Orme earned herself a save as she kept the UCSB offense from tying the game in the seventh.
For the second game against UIC, Orme got the start in the circle. She pitched 4.2 innings, allowed five hits, held UIC to three earned runs and struck out four batters. East came in for relief and threw for 2.1 innings, allowed no hits and no runs with three strikeouts.
The Fresno State bullpen held all four teams to 16 runs in five games.
Although pitching was the story during the invitational, the bats did not stay silent all weekend long. Fresno State had 33 hits, 26 RBIs, five triples and two home runs over the weekend.
Fresno State’s offense was the reason why they came back to win the game against UCSB. The Bulldogs would score four runs in the third after Kaitlyn Jennings started the rally on a single to right field.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Bulldogs scored five more runs to retake the lead. Miranda Rohleder’s bases-clearing double scored in three of the five runs in the fifth.
“We didn’t have the pitching against Santa Barbara but our offense came through,” said Garza. “So we still have a really good mixture of both hitting and pitching.”
Fresno State’s only run of the first UIC game came off a double that was being stretched into a triple by Rohleder. However, on her way to third base, the ball would get past UIC third-basemen Cassie Kaelber and roll into Fresno State’s dugout. By rule, the ball is out of play and home plate is awarded to Rohleder to put up the Dog’s only run of the game.
For the OSU game, Fresno State’s bats exploded after back-to-back home runs by Jennings and Schuylar Broussard in the bottom of the third inning. Both their home runs would spark a four-run rally to give the Dogs’ a lead. The Bulldogs’ bats continued to add more runs as Kelsey Hall scored two RBIs in the fifth and Haley Fuller and Rohleder scored in RBIs each.
In the second match against UIC, Broussard powered the Bulldogs going 3-for-4 with two doubles and triple and scoring three RBIs. Hayleigh Galvan was the second-leading scorer for the Bulldogs as she knocked in two RBIs off a single and a double.
Rohleder’s name would be called again in the game against Pacific as she was part of two triples in the game. Rohleder’s triple put her in scoring position for Carrasco to earn herself an RBI.
Carrasco grounded out to the Gaucho’s shortstop Korie Thomas, allowing Rohleder to cross home plate. Fuller had the second triple of the game after Alesia Denby walked to start the sixth inning.
Fuller scored in Denby and would soon score after pinch hitter Vanessa Hernandez hit a ground out to shortstop.
Coming into the invitational, Fresno State led the nation in triples with 16 and added five more over the weekend.
The Bulldogs will now travel to Fullerton for the Judy Garman Classic, where they are slated to face two top 10 teams, Texas and Washington.