Fresno State sophomore Nick Warren goes in for a hit during Sunday’s 5-1 win over Air Force. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)
The Fresno State baseball team pulled away in a fifth-inning explosion as they downed Air Force 5-1 for a sweep of the Falcons in the final game of the weekend series Sunday afternoon at Pete Beiden Field.
The ‘Dogs opened the game strong with three-straight hits from the top of the batting order culminating with the first scored run of the game coming from junior outfielder Jake Stone, who was happy about the series sweep.
“It feels awesome to get a sweep against them because they were the top team and they have a lot of great players,” Stone said. “It’s real awesome knowing that we can take three from one of the best teams in the conference.”
The Bulldogs also capitalized with great defense and with great command and poise on the mound from freshman pitcher Edgar Gonzalez.
As the lead stretched, Gonzalez was noticeably more comfortable on the mound throwing more strikes.
“I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy,” Gonzalez said. “They were going to come in and battle, but since I knew my team was going to have my back I just went in there and put in work, I just threw strikes and worked on all my areas I had to throw in and just continued to pound the zone.”
The Falcons answered back in the third inning with their one and only score of the match after a Bulldogs error by junior outfielder Russell Williams evened the score at 1-1.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the onslaught began as sophomore catcher Nick Warren hit a laser down the right-field line to advance junior infielder Scott Silva to third base which allowed junior infielder Jesse Medrano to score and break the tie 2-1.
But it didn’t end there, junior infielder Ryan Dobson hit a sacrifice fly bunt, which allowed Silva to score, and at the very next at-bat junior outfielder Jake Stone crushed a triple to centerfield to drive in Warren, which extended the lead to 4-1.
After a pitching change by Air Force, the Bulldogs managed to score once more in the bottom of the seventh inning when senior outfielder Brody Russell doubled to left field to drive in freshman outfielder Zach Ashford to close the deal, 5-1, and extend their record to 15-2 at home.
Bulldogs head coach Mike Batesole believes the team’s combination of small ball and good pitching is what helped them, but he knows pitching was the story of this series.
“I don’t think there is any doubt,” Batesole said. “Those are some fantastic hitters over there In that dugout and we held them in check enough to get three wins, so pitching and defense both [came through] and that’s what we’ve been all year.”