Fresno, Calif. – San José State softball banged out 12 hits, scored nine times and Fresno State’s defense committed six errors in SJSU’s 9-3 victory on Sunday. With the win the Spartans took the Mountain West series two-games to one.
In its last six games at Margie Wright Diamond, the San José State (29-15, 9-6 MW) has posted a 4-2 mark and won two straight series.
The Spartans offense got right to work on Fresno State starter Savannah McHellon. Emma Entzminger (1-for-4, 2R) led off the game with a single and Casey Watt followed her with an RBI double for a 1-0 lead. Cassidy Clark walked and two batters later Madison Aurin (2-for-4) singled to load the bases.
Chelsea Jenner (0-for-5, R, RBI) then drove in the second run of the game on a shot into the hole between third and short. The Bulldogs shortstop made a great diving stop, flipped the ball to third to just get Clark, but Watt scored and it was quickly 2-0.
After SJSU starter Colette Riggs set the Bulldogs down in order in the bottom of the inning, the offense was right back at it. Alyssa Avila (3-for-4, RBI, 2B) singled and two batters later Entzminger was hit. It was the 15th time this season she has been hit by a pitch and stands one more from equaling the program’s single-season record of 16, set last year by Jessie Hufstetler. Watt (2-for-4, 2R, 3RBI, 2B, 3B), celebrating her 23rd birthday, then tripled in to right center. Both runners scored making it 4-0 Spartans.
After Riggs set down six of the first seven batters she faced, Fresno State (26-20, 6-8 MW) got to her.
She gave up a leadoff walk and double to put two in scoring position. Malia Rivers then hit an infield single to score the first Bulldogs run. A sacrifice fly plated the second run.
Riggs got out of the inning on a fly out to left and base running blunder. Rivers, still on first with one out, inexplicably was running on the fly out. She got to third base before realizing her mistake. She turned one out into a double play on a 7-4-3 relay. It was 4-2 Spartans after three.
In the bottom of the fourth, Riggs gave up a leadoff walk, got two strikeouts, but then gave up a single and a walk to load the bases. The last walk was as far as head coach Peter Turner would go. He brought in Katelyn Linford who got the Spartans out of the jam with an inning-ending groundout.
With one out in the fifth, Brittany Abacherli reached safely on an error at third base and then stole second. Avila singled up the middle and the centerfielder threw home to keep Abacherli at third. The throw allowed Avila to take second. SJSU had two opportunities to drive in the run, but an infield popup and the interference called on Avila ended the threat. Abacherli and Avila were two of 13 runners left on in the game. For the series SJSU left a total of 31 runners on.
In the sixth the Spartans busted the game open.
The Bulldogs started the inning with back-to-back errors. Casey Watt’s fly ball to center was dropped and Cassidy Clark’s drive down the left field line was botched by the third baseman. Georgia Blair (2-for-5) reached on a fielder’s choice with Clark being cut down at second. The Fresno State second baseman, trying to turn the double play, airmailed her throw to first allowing Watt to score. Aurin then singled and Jenner reached on a fielder’s choice putting runner on the corners.
Abacherli (2-for-5, R, 2RBI, 2B) then roped a double to the gap in right center driving in two more runs. Avila followed Abacherli with an RBI double of her own to make it 8-2.
Each team scored a run in the seventh to make the final score 9-3.
For the second game in a row, Linford (19-7) earned the win in relief. She tossed 3.1 innings allowing three hits, a run with two strikeouts. Riggs went the first 3.2 innings striking out two, walking four and giving up two runs.
Fresno State used three pitchers. Each gave up runs, but McHellon (7-5) took the loss. She lasted just 1.1 innings giving up four runs on six hits, she walk one and struck out two.
San Jose State 9, Fresno State 3 (Apr 23, 2017 at Fresno, Calif.)
San Jose State...... 220 004 1 - 9 12 1 (29-15, 9-6 MW)
Fresno State........ 002 001 0 - 3 6 6 (26-20, 6-8 MW)
Pitchers: San Jose State - Riggs, Colette; LINFORD, Katelyn(4) and Avila, Alyssa.
Fresno State - MCHELLON, S; MEJIA, S(2); SANTANA, S(6) and WILLMON, L.
Win-LINFORD, Katelyn(19-7) Loss-MCHELLON, S(5-7) T-2:14 A-1117
HR FS - WILLMON, L (6).
Weather: Sunny, 68 degrees