Offense was the order of the day for the Fresno State baseball team on Sunday in its 9-5 victory against Air Force at Pete Beiden Field.
A four-run fifth inning proved to be the deciding factor in a game in which both teams showcased the potency of the bats in their lineups, respectively.
Already leading 3-2, ‘Dogs catcher Carter Bins started the rally by drawing a walk to lead off the fifth, followed by a single by JT Arruda. The runners were able to advance on a wild pitch and after third baseman Tatum McCarthy and second baseman Nolan Dempsey made the next two outs, it was left to Ryan Higgins to salvage the inning.
Higgins lined a single up the middle of the diamond into center field to score Bins and Arruda, making the score 5-2.
Miles Tomczak, who pinch hit for Auston Chastain, promptly deposited a long home run to right field and suddenly the ‘Dogs had increased their lead to 7-2.
Pitcher Jaime Arias cruised through the next one and two thirds innings before he was removed by ‘Dogs head coach Mike Batesole.
Arias, who normally is a relief pitcher, was given the opportunity to pitch later into the game than he has in the past, something that Batesole was happy with.
“That’s not something he has done or is used to or has trained for,” Batesole said. “So to go out and get six and two thirds out of your closer, that’s really special.”
In the ninth inning, Air Force put the ‘Dogs bullpen to the test. After scratching across a run in the eighth inning when catcher Rob Dau doubled home Tommy Gillman, the Falcons started the final frame with a single by second baseman Colby Brown and a double by center fielder Drew Wiss, making it second and third with one out.
Falcons right fielder Ashton Easley made the ‘Dogs sweat as he doubled on a line drive down the left field line to score Brown and Wiss, making the score 9-5, but they would get no closer.
With the victory, the ‘Dogs took four of the five game series against Air Force and five out of six overall on the homestand. In that span, the offense scored 36 runs, including two regularly-scheduled seven-inning games.
Batesole was proud of how his team responded over the homestand after not playing a home game the previous two weeks.
“That was a long two-and-half weeks on the road and to come home and play five real quick games, you have to give these student-athletes a lot of credit for keeping it together,” Batesole said.
Next on the schedule is CSU Bakersfield. The ‘Dogs will remain at home to take on the Roadrunners on Tuesday night. Fresno State defeated Bakersfield on the road 9-3 on March 27.