Fresno, Calif. – The San José State softball team scored a run in the first inning and never trailed en route defeating Fresno State 4-3 on Saturday night. The win squared the three-game series at a game apiece and sets up a rubber match on Sunday at 12:00 p.m.
The Spartans faced two Bulldogs’ pitchers and banged out nine hits, the first two off starter Samantha Mejia. Emma Entzminger led off with a walk and Casey Watt (1-for-4) followed her with a single, which got Entzminger to third. On the first pitch of Cassidy Clark’s at bat, Fresno State catcher Lindsey Willmon booted a pitch off her glove allowing Entzminger (0-for-1, R, RBI) to score and Watt to move to second on the passed ball. Clark singled to put runners on the corners spelling the end of the night for Mejia. She faced two batters gave up two hits, a walk and a run.
Kamalani Dung, the winning pitcher from last night’s game, came on and got the Bulldogs out of the inning allowing just the single run.
In the bottom of the third, with a runner on second and one out, Fresno State got a single to short center. The runner on second was waved home, but a laser shot from centerfielder Brittany Abacherli to catcher Alyssa Avila caught the runner in no man’s land between third and home. Avila drove her back to third, flipped the ball to Entzminger who made the tag keeping Fresno State off the scoreboard.
In the fourth SJSU (28-15, 8-6 MW) doubled its lead. With one out Chelsea Jenner (3-for-4, R) singled to right center. Two batters later Avila (1-for-4) hit a shot deep in the hole at short. The Fresno State shortstop gloved the ball and tried to go the short way for the third out, but couldn’t get Jenner at second. Pinch hitter Kristen Heffley walked and Emma Entzminger, for the 14th time this season, wore one to drive in Jenner from third. It was 2-0 Spartans.
Fresno State (26-18, 6-7 MW) tied the game in the bottom of the fourth. They led off with a single against starter Colette Riggs. After a foul out and another single the Bulldogs had runners on first and third. Haley Fuller hit a sacrifice fly down the left field line scoring the runner from third. Jenner, in leftfield, tried to get the runner advancing to second, but air mailed the throw. It allowed the second run of the inning to score, making it 2-2.
The Spartans responded in the top of the next inning. Georgia Blair (1-for-4, R, RBI, HR) took the 3-2 offering from Dung and crushed it over the fence in left center. It was Blair’s team-leading sixth home run of the year and put SJSU back up 3-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, Riggs ran into trouble. She gave up a single to lead off the inning, but then set down the next two batters. However, back-to-back walks loaded the bases and after she fell behind the next batter 2-0, head coach Peter Turner went out and got her. He brought in Katelyn Linford who got a strike, but issued two more balls, forcing in the tying run. Linford induced a ground out to end the threat and the teams went to the sixth tied 3-3.
On the first pitch of the inning, Abacherli (1-for-4, R, 2B) doubled to left center. Two batters later, Heffley (1-for-1) singled moving Abacherli to third. Entzminger walked to load the bases and two batters later Clark walked in what would turn out to be the winning run. Blair followed Clark with a chance to bust the game open, but popped out to end the inning with her team up 4-3.
In the Fresno State sixth and seventh, the Bulldogs got lead off singles. In the sixth Linford stranded the runner at second. In the seventh, with one out, she induced a grounder to short. Blair then started a 6-4-3, game-ending double play.
Riggs, who did not figure in the decision, went 4.2 innings. She scattered six hits gave up three runs, two of which were earned, walked five and struck out three. Linford (18-7) picked up the win. She gave up two hits and a walk, in 2.1 shutout innings of work.
Dung (17-12) took the loss giving up three runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out four.
San Jose State 4, Fresno State 3 (Apr 22, 2017 at Fresno, Calif.)
San Jose State...... 100 111 0 - 4 9 1 (28-15, 8-6 MW)
Fresno State........ 000 210 0 - 3 8 0 (26-18, 6-7 MW)
Pitchers: San Jose State - Riggs, Colette; LINFORD, Katelyn(5) and Avila, Alyssa.
Fresno State - MEJIA, S; DUNG, K(1) and WILLMON, L.
Win-LINFORD, Katelyn(18-7) Loss-DUNG, K(17-12) T-2:20 A-1853
HR SJ - Blair, Georgia (6).
Weather: Overcast, 76 degrees
MEJIA, S faced 3 batters in the 1st.