Dec 12, 2018
Senior outfielder Austin Guibor (#33) high-fives senior outfielder Jake Stone (#51) at home plate after scoring a run on Feb. 18, 2017, at Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium. (Christian Ortuno/ The Collegian)

‘Dogs split opening weekend with Ducks

The Fresno State baseball team split its opening homestand of the 2017 season against Pac-12 opponent Oregon, 2-2. The ’Dogs had slugged their way to consecutive victories to start the series.

Junior pitcher Ricky Tyler Thomas continued the ’Dogs’ streak of nine consecutive opening-day wins. Thomas recorded 12 straight outs in six innings, allowing only one run.

“We had some chances [to score] early, in the middle innings,” said head coach Mike Batesole on the win. “We had some guys in scoring position, but our veteran guys were able to put in work – being able to stay back and hit doubles to the opposite field. When you have a team of guys that can do that, you’re going to see some success.”

Fresno State’s offense had its say after a five-run second inning pushed the game out of reach. Senior outfielder Austin Guibor and junior infielder Aaron Arruda each hit home runs to add to the 15-hit total in the 9-1 win over the Ducks.

The ’Dogs fought through rain in game one of a doubleheader to prevail against the Ducks, 8-3.

Oregon committed a school record six errors in the game, leading to a ’Dogs comeback. After going down 3-1, senior Scott Silva and Guibor reclaimed the lead for the ’Dogs when they combined to drive in three runs in the third inning.

The pair combined again in the seventh inning to drive in four runs. Senior infielder Jesse Medrano and Guibor contributed with RBI singles in the inning. Fresno State scored seven unanswered runs to beat the Ducks.

In the second game of a wet and frigid doubleheader, the Bulldogs were unable to repeat their early success and were defeated 13-1 after allowing 18 walks.

With only 30 minutes between games, the ’Dogs came out red hot. Junior pitcher Fred Schlichtholz shut out the Ducks in the first two innings. The offense took shape after Guibor knocked a two-out single into right field and later scored when Arruda smacked a double into left field.

However, Schlichtholz would not last much longer. He was pulled in the fifth inning. He gave up three earned runs in four innings.

Although a few of the 18 walks were intentional, the pitching staff was unable to find the strike zone for much of the night.

Other than Arruda’s RBI double in the bottom of the first, the ’Dogs were unable to muster any offense.

Oregon loaded the bases early on several occasions, leading to 13 unanswered runs.

On the last night of the four-game series, the ’Dogs were unable to overcome the Ducks, losing 3-2.

During the game, Fresno State honored its Japanese-American heritage. Fibber Hirayama and Kenichi Zenimura, both Bulldog Baseball Hall of Famers, were honored before the game. Their contributions to the school’s program over the years was acknowledged in front of the home fans.

The game started off in favor of the ’Dogs after sophomore outfielder Zach Ashford and senior infielder Scott Silva combined for a 1-0 lead. After a wild pitch, Silva was able to bring Ashford in on a single up the middle.

Making his debut with the team, freshman pitcher Davis Moore was able to hold the Ducks at bay until the third inning. Moore then allowed two runs, giving away the lead. Silva responded by tying the game shortly after.

Fresno State allowed eight walks in the contest, leading to the game-winning hit in the fifth inning. The Ducks closed out the final frames to split the series.

Fresno State will begin a three-game home series against UC Riverside, starting Friday night at 6:05 at Pete Beiden Field in Bob Bennett Stadium.