‘Dogs take series from Hornets
Catcher Austin Wynns rounds third base to score in the seventh inning for
the Bulldogs. Fresno State went on to win, 8-6, over Sacramento State.
Esteban Cortez / The Collegian
On the brink of elimination the Bulldogs show some resilience with a 2-1 series victory over Sacramento State.
The series victory moves them one game closer to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament with San Jose State losing three straight last week.
The Bulldogs lost the first game of the series, 9-7, giving up six runs in the final two innings to break a 3-3 tie. The ‘Dogs showed some life with the team being down 9-4, as Aaron Judge hit a lead-off home run and Chris Mariscal hit an RBI double. A wild pitch led to the team’s last run. The three runs all came off Sacramento State closer R.J. Davis who had not surrendered a run since facing New Mexico State on April 16.
The three-run ninth was a sign of good things to come for the Bulldogs.
The Diamond ‘Dogs went on to win game two, 10-6, with Justin Haley picking up his sixth win of the year. Haley stifled the Hornets offense limiting the team to only two runs before leaving the game with a 5-2 lead. Fresno State went on to lead, 10-2, when it scored five runs on three hits. The Hornets put up a four spot in the ninth but it proved to be too little, too late.
It was the fourth time that the Bulldog offense scored 10 or more runs this season.
The Bulldogs made the final game interesting going down 2-0, as the Hornets put one-run innings in the fifth and sixth. The offense heated up scoring seven runs of its own in the seventh.
Tom Harlan, the team’s ERA leader, had another strong outing going 7.1 innings, allowing two runs for his fifth win.
“Tommy’s been working hard all year so he finally got that W he deserves,” said freshman Jordan Luplow, who had a bases clearing double in the seventh.
With the season coming to a close it has become increasingly difficult for the Bulldog baseball team to gain movement up the WAC leaderboard. The Bulldogs face the possibility of not even making it to the postseason. The final two series will either be the team’s last this season or could be the springboard that could have them repeat as WAC champions.
“We just want to keep it moving, keep pushing forward and never be satisfied as a team,” Harlan said.
San Jose State, at 5-7 in the WAC, dropped to sixth in the standings this weekend, getting swept by Louisiana Tech — the team coming into the weekend the Bulldogs were trying to gain ground on.
Fresno State is now a game back of the Spartans, with San Jose State holding the season tie-breaker when they swept the Bulldogs in Fresno.
The Spartans are now percentage points behind La. Tech in the standings and losses to Nevada this weekend would work heavily in the Bulldogs’ favor.
“We got to focus on our game right now. We don’t have to worry about anyone else,” Luplow said. “We’ve got to get our offense rolling and our pitchers to keep pitching the way they are.”
Louisiana Tech (6-9 WAC) are playing a nonconference opponent this week so a series win by Fresno State over New Mexico State would put both Bulldog teams in a tie with their series finale theoretically deciding who will get in to the tournament.
The Bulldogs will be forced to try and make up ground against the WAC’s No. 2 team in the Aggies this weekend in New Mexico. The Aggies were swept this week in their WAC series with Hawaii taking over sole position of first place — the spot the Aggies owned going into the matchup.
“The next series is a tough one,” Harlan said. “They play real well there so we’re going to have to probably play better than we played here.”
Friday and Saturday’s games will be played at 6 p.m. with Sunday’s game slated for 1 p.m.
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