graduation 2024
Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

ADVERTISEMENT
Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno+States%2C+Keahilele+Mattson%2C+rounds+second+base+in+the+double+header+game+against+UC+Davis+on+Feb.19%2C+2022%2C+at+Margie+Wright+Diamond.+%28Julia+Espinoza%2F+The+Collegian%29
Fresno State’s, Keahilele Mattson, rounds second base in the double header game against UC Davis on Feb.19, 2022, at Margie Wright Diamond. (Julia Espinoza/ The Collegian)

Bulldog softball ‘hungry’ for Mountain West conference season

This non-conference season has not been ideal for the Fresno State softball team.

 As they head into their conference season, the team and coaching staff are thankful for the opportunities that were shown to the team playing against top schools such as UCLA.

Head coach Stacy May-Johnson highlighted the positive attitude the team continued to carry despite their struggles in their non-conference. They used their losses as learning opportunities to focus on what the team needed to improve on. 

“What we’ve seen consistently over the last few weeks is that we are improving, and we are not where we want to be. We want to continue to improve. We want to continue to get better,” May-Johnson said. 

May-Johnson said one of the key components the team plans to improve on is their pitching. The team’s pitchers so far this season Casey Dixon, Marley Hanlon, Cassidy West, Danielle Lung and Alyssa Orr have an Earned Run Average (ERA) above 5.00.

“I think [if] they step on the mound, they’ve got to have belief in the pitch that they’re going to throw and execute the pitch,” May-Johnson said. 

She explained that the pitcher’s battle on the mound stands on a thin line between their failure and success, and their confidence behind their pitches will help get those outs. 

“They’ve got to execute their pitches, and I don’t think they can execute their pitches without full confidence and belief in what they’re doing,” she said. 

May-Johnson noted that the team’s defense hasn’t reached the level they need to be at to backup their pitchers. This has made it difficult for the pitchers to get those outs and make the plays defensively. 

Vanessa M. Hernandez holds off first base in a game against UC Davis on Feb. 19, 2022, at Margie Wright Diamond. (Julia Espinoza/ The Collegian)

Fresno State senior Vanessa Hernandez said the pitching they competed against in Pac-12 was definitely an awakening for the team offensively and defensively. 

“You know, [facing] Pac-12 teams… [and] just experiencing that higher level of pitching as a hitter was pretty, I would say humbling, in a sense. But it was a lot of experience as a team, just challenging ourselves to better teams, and just really stepping up,” Hernandez said.

Despite losing against some top teams, the Bulldogs still produced some runs, andMay-Johnson said that these runs proved that the team had the skill offensively to improve. 

“Offensively we can, we’ve shown we could produce some runs, we had a rough stretch in there. But since then, we’ve figured out how to score these runs,” she said. “But I also think our team is confident. We can conceive, and our team is ready.”

These past games have been a clear show of what the softball team needs to improve on, and their focus on offense isn’t on their batting average, but scoring the needed runs to win the game. 

“We’ve done a better job of that, you know, and so I think we’re excited about the direction we’re going, we still need to improve,” May-Johnson said. “I think that a rough start doesn’t make you believe any less than what you do, you believe in who we are. We believe in what we have, you know, we have good players.”

Hernandez reiterated what her coach was saying, hoping to see the team fix what went wrong in their non-conference season to take back control of the game again. She said that playing against teams like UCLA three times in one week was hard, but it allowed the Bulldogs to adjust and get better offensively and defensively. 

“So, just really bettering ourselves and just taking any accountability and everything, and just trying to be better for the conference,” she said. 

Going into this conference season, the Bulldog team has the mentality of a clean slate. May-Johnson said they’re ready to take whatever is thrown at them, and that the team has the right mindset to take on this conference season. 

“0-0, there’s no conference tournament at the end of the end of the conference. So it kind of just starts now, every game matters,” Hernandez said, complementing what May-Johnson said about entering this season with a clean slate. 

Hernandez and May-Johnson explained the hunger these Bulldogs have as they entered their weekend series against number one Boise State. Hernandez said the conference is a different type of mentality, so the team is shifting to that form of mentality to win. 

“[They’re] absolutely hungry,” May-Johnson said. “I think that they’ve proven to themselves the last stretch, that they can score runs, that we can win games. I don’t think anybody’s going undefeated. I’ll just say that.”

Going into the first game of their Mountain West Conference wasn’t an easy matchup for the ‘Dogs as they were swept by Boise State.

Fresno State hosts Pacific on Wednesday at Margie Wright Diamond and then hosts their first home MW Conference series against San Diego State, March 25-27 at Margie Wright Diamond. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Collegian
$100
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Fresno State Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to The Collegian
$100
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *