Dolcini throws a perfect game as ‘Dogs sweep Saturday’s doubleheader

Fresno State pitcher Danielle Lung pitches against Sacramento State at Margie Wright Diamond on Saturday, Feb. 27 2021. (Kameron Thorn/The Collegian)

Senior pitcher Haley Dolcini etched her name in the record books Saturday evening as she threw the 16th perfect game in Fresno State history. 

Dolcini went five innings, striking out eight Sacramento State (3-7) batters in Saturday night’s 11-0 blowout victory. Fresno State (5-5) went on to win the second game of the doubleheader, 5-0, holding Sacramento State to just two hits.

Dolcini credits her teammates for helping ease thing’s up in her performance.

“It feels pretty good,” Dolcini said. “Our defense was on point today, our hitters really put a lot of runs across which definitely helps ease things up in the circle but [Kelcey Carassco’s] diving play at the end makes that perfect finish even better.”

The last time a Bulldog completed a perfect game was back in 2018 with then-freshman Danielle East throwing a five-inning no-hitter at New Mexico.

Both teams threw their aces at one another to start the weekend series, however, Sacramento’s Marissa Bertuccio only pitched two full innings before getting pulled at the start of the third inning.

Bertuccio found herself in trouble after walking three straight batters to start the second inning. Senior infielder Miranda Rohleder took advantage by blasting a bases-clearing triple to score the first three runs of the game. Rohleder would then be scored by Kaitlyn Jennings off a single to left field. The Bulldogs led 3-0.

Fresno State scored the rest of its 11 runs in an error-plagued fourth inning for the Hornets. With the bases loaded, senior Hayleigh Galvan hit a single but two errors allowed her to clear the bases and advance herself to third base. 

Senior Julianna Martinez then pinch ran for Galvan and scored off Kelcey Carassco’s sacrifice fly to left field.

Sophomore Alesia Denby continued the rally by hitting a single to center field. Freshman Keahilele Mattson then reached on an error putting runners on first and second base. 

Senior Schuylar Broussard got hit by a pitch and loaded the bases for sophomore Lexie Webb. Webb grounded into a fielder’s choice, giving the Bulldogs their fourth run of the inning. 

The last error committed by the Hornets allowed sophomore Adrianna Noriega to reach bases and freshman Liliana Mejia, who pinch-ran for Mattson, to cross home plate. That was one more run scored to cap off a seven-run inning for the Bulldogs, leaving the score at 11-0.

With the mercy rule in effect for Dolcini, she took the circle once more to face her last three batters she needed for a perfect game. After a pop-up and a strikeout, Carassco would make a diving play on a fly ball in foul territory to seal Dolcini’s historic performance.

“It was really neat for Dolcini to be able to have that opportunity but more importantly your career history here at Fresno State,” said Fresno State head coach Linda Garza. “I’m so proud of coach [Jodie Cox] and the whole entire pitching staff of what they called. It worked and it was absolutely awesome.”

Game two of the Bulldogs’ Saturday doubleheader was a bit closer than game one, but the Bulldogs pulled away with another shutout victory.

Junior pitcher Danielle Lung was the starter for the ‘Dogs and would end up pitching her first complete game of the season. 

Through seven innings, Lung ended the night by striking out 10 batters, walking three and allowing only two hits.

Garza said she was happy to see Lung complete her start today following a week full of adjustments.

“Lung made a ton of adjustments throughout the week and had worked on a few other things,” Garza said. “It was awesome to let her work those things over the last four days and then to see her come out and be able to excite and benefit from that hard work. It makes your work week so much more enjoyable knowing that it paid off.”

The bats for the Bulldogs started early in the game with the first three batters earning hits. Carrasco, with runners on third and second, hit an RBI single to center field. No more runs crossed the plate as Denby lined out into a double play at first base, and Mattson fouled out to third base.

After going scoreless in the bottom of the second, the Bulldogs scored two additional runs in the bottom of the third. Rohleder started off the inning with a single to left field and reached second base off a sacrifice bunt from Jennings. 

Galvan blasted a single to second base where the ball bounced off Sacramento State’s Kennedy Echols’ glove and into center field, allowing Rohleder to put on the jets and score.

Mattson drove in Galvan from second base after Denby’s walk giving the ‘Dogs a 3-0 lead.

The final insurance runs for Lung came in the bottom of the sixth inning. With runners on third and second, Noriega hit a single to center field allowing the first of two runs to score. Rohleder shortly after capped off the night with a sacrifice fly to center field allowing the final run to score for the Bulldogs.

“Offensively, you know we just did a good job early and were able to capitalize on some mistakes [Sacramento] made,” Garza said. “Once we put one or two on, we were able to do some things. I thought [Sacramento] did a good job pitching to us.”

Fresno State finishes off the series against Sacramento State on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

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