Utah State starting pitcher Mandy Harmon battled hard to keep her team within striking distance Friday against Western Athletic Conference foe Fresno State.
However, the Bulldogs' early offense was too much for USU to overcome and as the Aggies fell 4-0 in the opening game of a weekend series.
With the loss, Utah State falls to 11-23 overall and 2-5 WAC action. Fresno State improves to 25-15 overall and 5-1 league play.
The Aggies threatened early as junior infielder and Fresno native Christine Thomsen delivered a double that rolled to the right center-field wall. Senior infielder Kelley Kaneshiro showed patience at the plate, working the count full before being issued a walk to put runners on first and second. Utah State could not convert on the opportunity, however.
Fresno State then took an early 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first on a Michelle Moses double to left center field.
Harmon did not allow the Bulldogs the opportunity to build on their lead, as she produced a three-up, three-down inning in the bottom of the second.
USU put together another scoring threat in the top of the third as it was able to load the bases, but once again Moses worked her way out of the jam without surrendering a run to the visiting team.
During the third inning action, Kaneshiro was hit by a pitch for the 10th time this season, which is the second most of any batter in the WAC.
Fresno State added to its lead in the bottom of the third frame, scoring three runs on four hits. Harmon had to work her way out of a bases loaded jam to end the inning as the Bulldogs took a 4-0 lead.
Neither offense could gain much traction as both pitchers found their rhythm late after that point. The Aggies looked to threaten the Bulldogs' lead in the top of the seventh when junior utility player Kali Cancelosi delivered a pinch-hit single with two outs, which was followed with a base-on balls by sophomore outfielder Kassandra Uchida.
Utah State, though, get any runs across, and the game ended. Moses got her 15th win of the season and now has a 15-10 overall record. Moses only gave up three hits to the Aggies. Harmon, meanwhile, falls to 5-12 this season despite striking out six and surrendering seven hits in six innings of work.
USU will continue its series with Fresno State on Saturday with a doubleheader. First pitch for Game 1 is set to be delivered at 2 p.m. MT.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.