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Fresno State softball splits series in season opener

Bulldog+second+baseman%2C+Emma+Martinez+swings+in+the+Margie+Wright+Diamond+on+Feb.+7.
Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian
Bulldog second baseman, Emma Martinez swings in the Margie Wright Diamond on Feb. 7.

The Fresno State softball team exchanged a win and a loss in its season-opening series against South Dakota State. 

The Bulldogs lost the series’ first game in historical fashion before rallying the following night with a walk-off victory to split the series and put their overall record at 1-1 on the season. 

Having been predicted to finish fourth in conference play by the Mountain West, the ‘Dogs’ sporadic performance displayed both positive and negative attributes early into the season.

South Dakota State 20, Fresno State 7 (Feb. 7)

Fresno State’s inaugural matchup set a record for runs allowed in a single game, with the ‘Dogs allowing 20 in total. The defeat also serves as Fresno State’s largest margin of loss since April 2007, when the team fell to Hawaii 18-2.

South Dakota State jumped out to an early lead, scoring 12 runs in the first four innings. Within the first five innings, they totaled 11 hits, five of which were extra-base hits. 

Senior pitcher Taylor Gilmore started the game and earned the loss, allowing eight runs in 2.1 innings pitched. She was relieved by freshman pitcher Faith Jordan, who allowed four runs off of three hits and three walks in 1.2 innings. 

The ‘Dogs offense responded in the third inning, as senior captain and left fielder Keahilele Mattson knocked in three runs with an RBI double. 

Fresno State rallied in the fifth inning, with designated hitter Alyssa Ramírez sparking the offense with an RBI on a fielder’s choice. 

The ‘Dogs then scored three additional runs off of a series of singles, putting the score at 12-7 at the end of the fifth inning. 

However, just as the Fresno crowd began to stir with excitement in the 40-degree weather, South Dakota State quickly sealed their victory by scoring eight runs in the sixth inning. Fresno State lost their home opener 20-8. 

Fresno State 3, South Dakota State 2 (Feb. 8)

Having dropped their first game, the ‘Dogs defense stiffened in their second matchup. 

A notable performance led to their victory from sophomore Serayah Neiss, who only allowed four hits and one earned run in 6.2 innings pitched. 

Mattson carried the ‘Dogs offense yet again, being responsible for driving in two of the three total runs. She started by hitting an RBI double in the first inning, following it with an RBI single in the third to give the ‘Dogs a 2-0 lead. 

With their backs against the wall and facing a two-run deficit, the Jackrabbits rallied in the seventh inning to tie the game. 

Second baseman, Mia Jarecki hit an RBI triple to get the Jackrabbits on the board and later scored herself off of an error. 

As the teams headed into extra innings, Gilmore was given a chance to redeem herself as she was put in to close the game. 

Gilmore dominated in her brief 1.1 innings pitched, striking out two without allowing a hit. 

Bulldog pitcher, Taylor Gilmore pitches in the Margie Wright Diamond on Feb. 7. (Jacqueline Carrillo)

In the bottom of the eighth inning, designated hitter Juliana Wilson earned the ‘Dogs a walk-off victory. Singling to left field to bring in first baseman Sophia Medellin in front of an ecstatic Fresno State crowd. 

On Feb. 10, the ‘Dogs went on to win two more games against Santa Clara and Cal State Bakersfield. Fresno State is now 4-1 overall to start the season. They are now scheduled to take on Utah Valley on Friday, Feb. 16 at 4:00 p.m.

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