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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Alesia+Denby+at+bat+in+the+game+against+UCF+on+March+9%2C+2022+at+Margie+Wright+Diamond.+%28Melina+Kazanjian+%2F+The+Collegian%29
Alesia Denby at bat in the game against UCF on March 9, 2022 at Margie Wright Diamond. (Melina Kazanjian / The Collegian)

Bulldogs overcome three-game losing streak against Tigers

Fresno State softball earned a crucial victory in their 5-2 win over Pacific on Wednesday night. The team is now 6-21 overall as they continue to improve after a slow start to their season. 

This success against a non-conference opponent snapped a three-game losing streak that began in their series against Boise State this past weekend. 

The ‘Dogs put up solid performances on both sides of the field in their first win at the Margie Wright Diamond in more than a month. 

The victory also gave Fresno State a much needed momentum boost as it heads into its second Mountain West series this weekend against San Diego State. 

“Bottom line is we’ve been playing better. We’re not playing as well as we want to play, but we’re continuing to work toward that. Our losses are a lot closer, and we came away with a win so we’d like to carry that momentum into this weekend,” head coach Stacy May-Johnson said.­

Cassidy West on the mound in the game against UCF on March 9, 2022 at Margie Wright Diamond. (Melina Kazanjian / The Collegian)

On the defensive side, the team only allowed one fielding error while pitcher Casey Dixon pitched the entire seven-inning game.

The fifth-year senior only allowed two runs off of six hits while not walking a single batter in the entire start. 

The standout performance is the longest start for Dixon in her first year with the team and came at the perfect time for a Fresno State team desperate for a morale boost. 

“Everything starts with pitching. It’s been our momentum and [Dixon] got us playable balls. Our girls weren’t fielding rocket shots. They had good fieldable balls all night and she just did a great job,” May-Johnson said. 

Dixon did run into trouble in the second inning, with Pacific scoring first in the matchup with two runs. 

Despite these runners reaching through a pair of base hits, Alana Cobb-Adams committed Fresno State’s only error of the game to allow both baserunners to score. 

Trailing 2-0 early, the ‘Dogs responded in the bottom of the second with two runs of their own. 

Bulldog Mackenna Steele led off the inning with a solo home run and was immediately followed by a single from Alesia Denby. 

However, the next at bat Avery Lawley grounded out to the shortstop and Denby was caught attempting to advance to third base. 

Emery Nielson followed the double play by drawing a two-out walk and then stole second base to put herself in scoring position. 

Cobb-Adams then redeemed herself at the plate by hitting an RBI single to right field, tying the game at 2-2 going into the third inning. 

Both teams went scoreless for several innings and it remained 2-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth. 

Cobb-Adams began the inning by singling to center field. Vanessa Hernandez then drew a walk to put two runners on the bases and was followed by a Kacey Hvitved single to right field which scored Cobb-Adams.­

Alesia Denby waiting for a play in the game against UCF on March 9, 2022 at Margie Wright Diamond. (Melina Kazanjian / The Collegian)

Now leading 3-2, the ‘Dogs went on a run as Dixon’s pitching forced a one-two-three inning. 

They extended their lead in the sixth inning when Hernandez hit a two-out single into right field that scored two more runs, Fresno State leading 5-2. 

Heading into the final stanza,  Dixon made quick work of the Pacific lineup to close out the game. 

Fresno State had spent its two previous games competing in tight-scoring affairs, having lost to Boise State 4-3 and 4-2 respectively. 

This matchup stood out from the rest due to the team’s offensive production, as the team had 15 total baserunners off of 12 hits. As well as three players with multiple hits in the game. 

Fresno State’s clutch performance seems surprising after a season of poor performance, but this is the expectation May-Johnson has for this team.

“They’re improving, they’re getting after it and I think our hitting coach has done an incredible job helping them adjust throughout the season. We can’t just sit on our hands and say this is how we hit, we are very capable and today they did a great job.” May-Johnson said. 

The victory brings the ‘Dogs record to 6-21 overall. Fresno State will be searching for its first win in conference against the 19-10 San Diego State Aztecs.

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