Mattson named MW Player of the Week after Lynn R. Miller Classic


Julia Espinoza/The Collegian

Keahilele Mattson rounds second base during the 2022 season.

By Dylan Gonzales, Reporter

Keahilele Mattson, a junior outfielder for the softball team, was named Mountain West Player of the week after leading her team to a 3-2 record in the Lynn R. Miller Classic.

Mattson returns after earning MW Player of the Year last season and continues to become a key player for the ‘Dogs offensively. She opened the season with a .800 batting average, six RBIs and seven runs scored this weekend. She also recorded two home runs and was 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts. 

The ‘Dogs went down to Southern California for the Lynn R. Miller Classic, a softball tournament hosted by UC Riverside. There they faced the University of Montana, Middle Tennessee State University and UC Riverside. 

Fresno State 9, Montana 4 (Feb. 10)

In its 2022 season, Fresno State struggled to get double-digit runs, only having five games with 10 runs or more, so it was unclear what to expect in the classic.

But the Bulldogs started its 2023 season with an offensive explosion.

In the first inning, Fresno State’s Keahilele Mattson hit a two-run home run. Mattson did her part offensively, reaching base everytime she had a plate appearance. Over the final two innings, the Bulldogs totaled five runs. 

On the mound, Fresno State received 4.1 innings of solid pitching from Serayah Neiss, who recorded a win in her Bulldog debut. 

Fresno State 8, Montana 4 (Feb. 11)

Fresno State continued its efficient performance in back-to-back wins against Montana. 

Mattson had another strong game going 3-4 with two RBIs. 

Taylor Gilmore started the game for the ‘Dogs and pitched 3.1 innings of shutout ball with three strikeouts. Shelbi Denman got the win in relief by pitching 2.1 innings with one walk and five strikeouts. 

Despite allowing only three baserunners in her 2.1 innings of work, Denman surrendered two runs. 

Fresno State 4, Middle Tennessee 5 (Feb. 11) 

Fresno State suffered its first loss after allowing four runs in the 7th inning.

Even though the ‘Dogs scored four runs, they only accumulated four hits over the game. Half of those hits came from Mattson. She hit another two-run homer in the third inning. 

The other two RBIs came from Bulldog Bailey Williams on a bases loaded walk and Bella Rocco on a fielder’s choice.

Prior to the last two innings, the ‘Dogs were pitching a shutout. Neiss pitched 4.2 innings surrendering only two hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts. 

“I don’t know if there’s anybody that loves playing softball more than her,” said head coach Stacy May-Johnson. 

The ‘Dogs gave up all five runs in the last 2.2 innings, with  Bailey Doherty giving up four runs in 1.2 innings

Fresno State 1, UC Riverside 8 (Feb. 12)

Fresno State lost again as UC Riverside dominated the first innings. The Highlanders scored all eight of their runs in the first four innings of the game. 

The ‘Dogs failed to provide an offensive spark for most of the game. The lone run came on a Williams solo homer in the 5th inning. 

Continuing the trend from the last game, the Bulldogs struggled on the mound. Neiss only pitched one inning and gave up four runs. However, only two of them were earned. The loss was her first of the season, making her record 1-1 at Fresno State.

Fresno State 4, UC Riverside 0 (Feb. 12)

After dropping its previous two games, Fresno State wrapped up the weekend with a dominant pitching display and timely hitting. 

Williams had yet another strong performance at the plate going 2-2 with three RBIs and one walk. 

Denman masterfully pitched over six shutout innings. During the six innings, Denman allowed six hits and one walk. The performance gave Denman her second win of the season, improving her record to 2-0. 

The ‘Dogs will head home to the Margie Wright Diamond for the Fresno State Kickoff Classic on Feb. 16. They will face the University of Illinois Chicago, Iowa State, Seattle U and Idaho State.