Fresno State Softball Clinches MW Title, Berth in NCAA Tournament
Release courtesy of Fresno State Athletics.
SAN JOSE, Calif. - With six games still remaining on the 2016 regular season schedule, the 20th-ranked Fresno State softball team clinched its second-straight Mountain West Championship and secured the league's automatic bid into the 2016 NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs (37-9-1, 18-0 MW) accomplished this feat with a 6-4 win over second-place San Jose State on Sunday at SJSU Field.
During what was the sixth series sweep of the year, Fresno State topped the Spartans 11-5 on Friday and were coming off a 13-7 victory just a day ago. In the all-time series, Fresno State holds an 87-12 advantage and is 41-8 during games contested in San Jose.
Fresno State was off to a strong start as four-straight base hits put a run on the board with two away and Bulldog catcher Paige Gumz (2-for-3) was awarded the first-inning RBI. San Jose State answered back to tie the game on a leadoff home run in the bottom of the second.
Junior outfielder Kierra Willis (2-for-3) gave the `Dogs a 2-1 edge on her seventh home run of the year in the top of the third prior to the Spartans taking a 4-2 lead on a two-run shot and Bulldog error with two outs in the middle of the inning.
It wasn't long before Sunday's contest saw its second tied score (4-4) after infielder Lindsey Willmon (2-for-3, 2 RBIs) blasted her 11th home run of her junior campaign, behind a solo shot by outfielder Vanessa Hernandez that put Fresno State up 5-4 in the fourth. The last time the redshirt freshman logged a home run was the conference-opener at Boise State on March 29.
As the conference leader in walks (37), Willis reached base on four balls as the fifth-inning leadoff and scored from first on a standup double by senior Alyssa Villalpando (2-for-4). The starting third baseman paces the league in combined RBIs (50) over 47 games played.
Jill Compton (21-4, 13-0 MW) allowed just one hit in the initial two innings pitched Sunday, and kept traffic limited to two runners on the base path through the remaining four innings after the `Dogs went ahead in the fourth. Aside from the game-winning out in the bottom of the seventh, Compton had added three additional strikeouts to her 659 career total during the series finale.
With six games still remaining before postseason, Compton ranks sixth in all-time program history in strikeouts, seventh in wins (85), second in appearances (155), eighth in innings pitched (791.2) and 10th in complete games (84).
Next up, the Bulldogs will visit Nevada (May 6-8), prior to hosting UNLV for senior weekend starting Thursday, May 12 at Margie Wright Diamond.