Fresno State opens conference softball play with a pair of shutout wins

The Fresno State Bulldogs celebrate after catcher Kelcey Carrasco (17) hits a home run with bases loaded during their game against San Jose State at Margie Wright Diamond on Saturday, March 20, 2021. (Kameron Thorn/The Collegian)

Hailey Dolcini already had a perfect game to her name this season.

But on Saturday, armed with a rise ball that deceived opposing batters all afternoon, the Bulldogs’ ace threw her second no-hitter of 2021. Dolcini’s performance helped Fresno State (14-6, 2-0 MW) win game one of its softball doubleheader against San Jose State (4-12, 0-2 MW), 9-0.

It was the first time San Jose State had been no-hit in five years.

Danielle Lung stepped into the circle to start the second game and never left, pitching a complete game shutout to guide Fresno State to a 4-0 win and sweep the doubleheader.

“Winning a doubleheader isn’t easy,” Fresno State head coach Linda Garza said. “We will remain hungry and focused on game three.”

In the first game, Dolcini faced two above the minimum amount of batters, walking two and striking out 12 through six innings.

“Dolcini was on fire and set the tone for us early,” Garza said.

Meanwhile at the plate, the Bulldogs jumped on San Jose State starter Jenessa Ullegue in the first and second inning.

Fresno State brought a run across in the first without getting a hit or walk. Leadoff batter Kaitlyn Jennings was hit by a pitch and later stole second base — her Mountain West-leading 14th stolen bag of the season.

Hayleigh Galvan scored Jennings with a line drive directly at Spartans second baseman Ashley Rico, who bobbled the ball and allowed the runner to score from second base.

The Bulldogs added five more runs in the bottom of the second. The first five Bulldog batters recorded a hit that inning. 

Keahilele Mattson and Miranda Rohleder hit back-to-back RBI triples. Rohleder scored when Spartans catcher Grace Garvey overthrew second base to catch a base-stealing Alesia Denby.

Denby was driven in by an RBI single from Schuylar Broussard, who in turn scored on Galvan’s sacrifice groundout.

Through two innings, the Bulldogs led 6-0 and with Dolcini dominating on the mound, the Bulldogs were rolling.

“Our offense showed up inning number one, and we were able to dominate game one,” Garza said.

Kelcey Carrasco ended the game early when she sent a 2-2 pitch over the center field wall for a three-run home run in the sixth inning. The Bulldogs’ 9-0 lead activated the run rule. When a team leads by eight or more after five innings, a game ends due to the rule.

The second game went a full seven innings, and Danielle Lung did too.

Lung scattered five hits and two walks and struck out seven. She worked around close calls in the second and third inning when the Spartans put a base runner on third with one out in each frame.

No runs were scored in either inning, emblematic of the Spartans’ poor hitting with runners in scoring position. San Jose State hit 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and 2-for-15 (.133) with baserunners on.

The Spartans actually outhit the Bulldogs in the second game, 5-4, but it only took one big swing from Carrasco to make the difference in the game.

Denby led off the bottom of the third with a single, Jennings was hit by a pitch and Galvan walked to load the bases. Almost identical to her first home run, Carrasco knocked a 3-1 pitch to straight-away center field for a grand slam.

“Carrasco had a big day at the plate,” Garza said. “She put our team in a great position and had two huge hits.”

Lung gave up a leadoff double in the top of the fourth, then retired the next nine batters she faced. 

The Clovis High grad surrendered only one more hit — a leadoff single in the seventh — but recorded the final three outs with two strikeouts and a line drive directly into Denby’s glove.

With the complete-game shutout, Lung has now pitched 17 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.

She’s one-upped only by her teammate with a perfect game and no-hitter this season. Dolcini has pitched 18 consecutive innings without surrendering an earned run.

Behind the efforts of Dolcini and Lung, Fresno State clinched a series win over San Jose State. The Bulldogs go for the sweep on Sunday with the first pitch at noon.

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