Saturday, April 2, 2016

No. 25 Fresno State beats Aztecs again, runs MW win streak to 15


25th-ranked Fresno State, which entered play Saturday with a team batting average of .462 in conference play, remained red hot at the plate and defeated San Diego State 6-3 at Margie Wright Diamond.

It was the Bulldogs' 15th consecutive Mountain West victory and they remained sizzling hot offensively, pounding out 12 hits en route to winning the conference series with the Aztecs for a third straight season.  Fresno State will try for the series sweep Sunday.

Unbeaten freshman pitcher Kamalani Dung (4-0) got the start for the Bulldogs against Erica Romero, the first team All-MW pitcher a year ago for the Aztecs.  Dung quickly was staked to a 2-0 lead when Fresno State saw its offense strike right off the bat.

The first four Bulldog batters of the game all had hits against Romero, with Bria Kennedy and Malia Rivers singling before Kierra Willis drove both home with a 2-run double.  Alyssa Villalpando then singled for a fourth straight hit to start the contest, but Willis was thrown out at home for the first out of the game.  Fresno State looked to go up 3-0 in the second, as freshman Dominique Jackson -- on her birthday -- doubled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but was unable to score.

San Diego State took a 3-2 lead in the top of the third.  A single and 2-out hit-by-pitch set the table for freshman Molly Sturdivant's 3-run home run on a full-count pitch.

Fresno State, after leaving runners at the corners in the fourth, tied it in the fifth  Bria Kennedy doubled and scored on a Paige Gumz RBI single.  In the sixth, the Bulldogs put the game away with a 3-run frame.  Jackson opened with her second double of the game, and pinch-hitter Chase LeeHong executed a perfect bunt to give the Bulldogs runners at the corners with no outs.

Freshman Morgan Howe, in a pinch-hitting role, pushed Fresno State in front with a 2-run double, and Kennedy greeted Aztecs reliever Alex Formby with an RBI single up the middle for a 3-run cushion.  That was more than enough for Jill Compton, who entered in relief of Dung to begin the sixth.  Dung had another in a series of strong outings, allowing six hits, before Compton shut the door with a pair of strikeouts in the sixth.  Compton allowed one hit and no runs in two innings to move her record to 13-4.

Fresno State leads the all-time series with San Diego State 61-12.  The Bulldogs moved to 5-0 in conference play, alone atop the league.  The Aztecs dropped to 3-5 in conference play.