SEATTLE — It took longer than the night before, but the big inning again reared its ugly head against the University of Montana softball team Saturday.
A five-run sixth inning gave Fresno State an insurmountable lead and a 7-0 win in the NCAA tournament loser-out game at Husky Softball Stadium. The Griz (35-24 overall) head back to Missoula with an 0-2 record in their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, but a bunch of experience.
Fresno State led off the pivotal sixth inning with a triple from from Morgan Howe that fell in front of a diving Anne Mari Petrino in left field. Griz freshman Pitcher Michaela Hood nearly escaped the jam, working a ground out and strike out, but five straight Bulldogs reached base after that. UM's Colleen Driscoll — Montana's third pitcher of the inning — finally found the last out.
The Griz threatened in the second inning after shortstop Delene Colburn recorded Montana's first postseason hit. Her double was all hustle as the Fresno State center fielder, playing deep, couldn't handle the shallow bloop.
Colburn, sprinting off the crack of the bat, slid into second safely to lead off the frame.
Montana was set down in order from there, though, as Fresno State's pitcher Kamalani Dung was dealing. Dung (26-14) struck out eight and walked one. She allowed one more hit in the top of the seventh to Griz senior Bethany Olea.
Montana's loss ends an historic season for the third-year program.