Fresno State bounced back after losing for the first time in six games to split the rain-shortened two-game series with the UC Riverside Highlanders this weekend.
The Bulldogs’ 5-1 loss on Friday was the first time all season that they have lost a Friday-night game at home.
Defense proved to be the Bulldogs’ Achilles heel again, as they committed two errors in the third inning that resulted in four runs, all of which were unearned.
The Bulldogs’ lone run came in the eighth inning. With the score already 5-0, the Bulldogs were able to bring in pinch hitter Daniel Moultrie who led off the inning with a double. Moultrie advanced to third on a ground out by Pat Hutcheson and later would score on a ground out to third by Chris Mariscal.
Starting pitcher Tyler Linehan took his second loss of the season, dropping to 3-2. He went seven and one-third innings, giving up 12 hits and allowing five runs, one being earned.
Highlander Dylan Stuart pitched a complete game, allowing just six hits and one run.
Fresno State turned it around Saturday, as Justin Haley shined on the mound to best UC Riverside’s ace, Eddie Orozco, 2-1. The two righties pitched a phenomenal game, allowing only one earned run through a combined 13 innings.
“It’s just like any other game,” Haley said. “We go out there and try to do our best. We don’t really worry about the other pitcher.”
Haley wasn’t denied the victory Saturday, pitching seven innings, allowing one unearned run and striking out eight on his way to lowering his season ERA to 1.71.
Orozco went six innings, allowing two runs (one unearned), eight hits with five strikeouts. He dropped to 3-2 on the year but lowered his ERA to 1.60.
The Highlanders took an early lead in the second after a fielding error lead to a 1-0 score.
The Bulldogs rebounded in the third with two runs of their own. Mariscal hit a two-run single to score Jake Alvarez and Taylor Tempel. Mariscal accounted for all three RBIs for the Bulldogs in the series.
Mitch Patito and Ben Doucette came in to pitch the final two innings for the Highlanders without giving up a hit.
The Highlanders final opportunity to score came in the seventh. With one out and runners on second and third, Haley seemed and would not break his concentration, striking out pinch hitter Kyle Boudreau. He followed by intentionally walking Eric Young to load the bases before striking out Cody Hough for the final out of the inning.
“I just wanted to hit my spots and was trying to stay focused on what [Steve] Rousey was calling out there. The system we have here works for us,” Haley said.
Tom Harlan, not wanting to be overshadowed by the stellar pitching performances that were recorded that night, came in with his own superb performance going the final two innings for the Bulldogs. He allowed one walk and picked up his first save of the season.
Sunday’s game was cancelled due to rain and will not be made up.
The Bulldogs will play No. 29 Cal on Tuesday at 6:05 p.m.