The Diamond ‘Dogs sacrificed a lot for their 3-2 victory over the University of San Francisco on Tuesday.
The team’s sacrifices came in the form of bunts and flies. The team’s three runs involved at least one of those actions.
With second baseman Jeremiah Burks and outfielder McCarthy Tatum on first and second base, respectively, the ‘Dogs proceeded to tie the game at 1-1 thanks to a Zach Presno sacrifice bunt followed by a Nick Warren sacrifice fly.
The ‘Dogs continued this trend to tie the game at 2-2 in the fifth inning. This time, centerfielder Zach Ashford provided the sacrifice bunt, while Korby Batesole brought Warren home with a sacrifice fly.
And to win the game, the ‘Dogs scored off of an errant throw by second baseman Aaron Ping. Of course, Auston Chastain was only in scoring position because of a sacrifice bunt by Warren.
Textbook bunting paved the way for the ‘Dogs’ victory, each one coming off the bat at a perfect angle and speed to make it too difficult for the infield to stop the runners from advancing.
“We moved runners over with some sacrifices and with this team, I am going to have to be a fan of them because that is just how we are going to have to play,” said head coach Mike Batesole. “When we have done it that way, we have won. We have outstanding infield defense and if we continue to pitch like we are pitching and scratch out some offense, that is how we are going to have to win this year.”
The team worked hard for its runs, and it made sure the Dons had to work just as hard for theirs.
The ‘Dogs had an excellent defensive outing, only allowing five hits. Both of the Dons’ runs were the result of an error that they were able to capitalize on.
Right fielder Austin White made sure to make up for his error of losing a routine fly ball in the lights, which eventually led to a Dons’ score.
He caught a fly ball at the wall a few innings later, and then went on to zoom toward a ball that could have turned into a double or a triple, had he missed it.
“I love that guy. In my 25 years of coaching, he has about a big of heart as anyone I have ever coached, and to see him persevere is awesome,” Batesole said.
The pitching staff shared the workload, with five different pitchers taking the mound.
The Dons had little to no success against all five pitchers, finishing the game with only five hits.
“A lot of guys came in and did their parts on the mound. I think we got eight of nine of their leadoff hitters out which you have to do against USF because they play that inside-out game and they are really good at it,” Batesole said.
The ‘Dogs finished with eight hits but were simply able to capitalize on one more opportunity than the Dons. The recent experiences with competitive games had not gone in their favor.
Fresno State had lost its three previous games by one run.
The ‘Dogs will be in action again this weekend in a three game series against the University of New Mexico.