Fresno State Clinches 2015 Mountain West Softball Championship
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The Fresno State softball team clinched the 2015 Mountain West title with a 15-7 run-rule victory over UNLV on Friday night. The Bulldogs secured the MW automatic bid into the 2015 NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
The Bulldogs improve to 39-14 on the season while holding a 19-4 record in Conference play.
Six-time MW Pitcher of the Week, Jill Compton earned the start in the circle after going the distance of six innings on Thursday night and advancing to 27-10 following a 10-2 run-rule victory. Compton went 2.1 innings giving up six hits and six runs with one walk and one strikeout on Friday night.
The first ball put into play scored a run for the Bulldogs, sophomore Kierra Willis doubled to right center in her first plate appearance to score Michelle Solomon from first base to give the `Dogs a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
UNLV gained a 4-1 lead on a two-out grand slam in the bottom of the first inning and held the lead through the first two innings of play.
With two runners in scoring position and no outs in the top of the second inning, Fresno State cut UNLV's deficit by two runs. Bria Kennedy scored a run on a sacrifice fly and Chase LeeHong singled to the right side to score Alyssa Villalpando who reached base on a double down the left field line.
Kennedy singles up the middle with the bases loaded to tie the game in the top of the third inning followed a single through the right side from LeeHong to tack on two additional runs. Before the Rebels could record an out, Fresno State pushed across six runs, scoring two on UNLV defensive errors. The seventh and final run of the inning was scored on a ball through the right side from Solomon to bring Moss home and give the `Dogs a 10-4 lead.
The offensive battle continued as the Rebels cut their deficit by two in the bottom of the third on a two-run home run with one out before junior Hannah Harris made her first appearance of the weekend in the circle for Fresno State.
After retiring the third inning stranding two Rebel runners on base, Harris tossed 2.1 innings allowing the Rebels five hits, one run and one walk before Taylor Langdon made a fifth inning, two-out appearance.
Fresno State kept its foot on the gas heading into the fourth inning with Moss scoring two runs on a triple to left center and Rivers sending a ball back up the middle to score Moss. Rivers reached home safely from first base on a double from Solomon to give the `Dogs an eight run advantage heading into the bottom of the fourth inning.
After allowing UNLV one run on one hit in the bottom of the fourth, Kennedy regained Fresno State's eight-run lead with her second career home run after crushing her first against the Rebels on Thursday night.
Harris and Langdon pieced together three outs to record Fresno State's its seventh run-rule victory of the regular season. Harris claimed the Friday night victory and advances to a 9-3 overall record this season.
In the first two games against the Rebels, Fresno State compiled 30 hits including four doubles, one triples and three home runs while scoring 25 runs. Villalpando leads the team with a .750 batting average (6-for-8) against UNLV while Kennedy and Moss are tied with a team-leading five runs batted in apiece.
The Bulldogs will take the field at Noon, PT, on Saturday for the series finale against UNLV to conclude the 2015 regular season slate.
The NCAA Selection Show will be hosted on ESPNU where the 64-team tournament field will be unveiled on Sunday, May 10 at 7 p.m. PT.
NCAA regionals is set to begin on May 15 and is constructed of 32 programs which receive an automatic bid, while the remaining 32 teams are selected on an at-large basis to make up a 64-team playing field. Regionals will last until May 17 and NCAA Super Regionals are slated for May 21-24 at eight selected campus sites. A best-of-three tournament format will determine who advances to the 34th annual NCAA Division I Softball Championship (May 28- June 3), held for the 25th time at the Oklahoma City/ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Fresno State softball's last postseason appearance was in 2011 as the `Dogs competed in the NCAA Region 15 at Stanford, topping Nebraska 1-0 in 10 innings before being edged by Stanford (3-1) and Nebraska (5-0).