By Ray Hamill — Hailey Dolcini and the Fresno State Bulldogs are conference champions and heading to the NCAA Division-I softball playoffs.
The Ferndale native was instrumental over the weekend in leading the Bulldogs to a sweep of Boise State, which clinched them the Mountain West Conference championship and an automatic berth for the playoff tournament.
Dolcini, who was recently named as one of the 25 finalists for college player of the year, posted two wins and a save in the three games, allowing just one earned run and eight hits in 15.2 innings work.
The former Fortuna Husky also struck out 20 and walked two.
The save was the second of the season for the Fresno State ace, who is now 20-3 with an ERA of 1.03.
The team clinched on senior day, but one player notably not honored before the game was Dolcini.
The senior pitcher announced before the game that she will be returning to the team for next season and taking advantage of an extra year of eligibility because of the pandemic.
“I love this game and this program too much to leave it,” Dolcini told The Fresno Bee. “I’m going to leave on my own terms. I didn’t sign up for three and a half years, I signed up for four, so I’m going to make sure I get all of that and can’t leave this program and the Red Wave, so of course I have to come back to this place.”
For the season, the former four-time Big 5 MVP now has 234 strikeouts in 156 innings pitched
The Bulldogs close out the regular season at San Diego State next weekend, before the tournament field is finalized on Sunday.