’Dogs go 5-1 and win home tournament

Bryan Cole / The Collegian

Danny Muno, Tommy Mendonca and the rest of the Bulldog offense don’t know when to let up. They scored a combined 65 runs en route to winning the 31st annual Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic, and crossed home plate so many times Saturday night that the public address system died in the seventh inning.

Mark Thomas, the Beiden Field announcer, wore it out announcing so many runs and names.

The Fresno State baseball team went 6-1 in the tourney. The team played eight games in eight days overall, outscoring the competition 85-19 during that run.

Just a typical work week for the Bulldogs.

Muno MVP

After the eighth and final game of the stretch, coach Mike Batesole said, “They’re not tired. They’re young.”

Batesole also said the games aided in experience for the younger players.

“It was a good week. We got some of these freshmen out there,” Batesole said. “It’s always better to learn and win than to learn and lose.”

Those within earshot of the bullhorn that substituted for a PA system Saturday night learned that Danny Muno won the tournament MVP award. He wasted no time in crediting his teammates for the effort.

Muno said, “Our whole pitching staff pitched a great game. As an offense we were all feeding off each other and, when one guy gets a hit, everybody just keeps having great at bats.”

Muno has a .446 batting average on the season.

Pitching in

Tommy Mendonca also played well in the tournament, winning Wednesday’s game against Buffalo with a walk-off two-run homer, and hitting a grand slam Saturday that cleared the Beiden field wall by what looked like 35 feet. Fans and players alike said the same thing: “It was a bomb.”

Bryan Cole / The Collegian

The pitching staff was successful through the tournament as well. Jake Floethe is 3-0 on the season with a microscopic .69 earned run average (ERA).

His postgame interviews consisted of describing how he keeps warm during the Bulldogs’ long, prolific innings.

“We just try to stay loose as a staff. We run in between innings in the bullpen and sometimes we’ll play catch,” Floethe said.

Senior pitcher Holder Sprague won the tournament award for Most Outstanding Pitcher after going 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA.

Next game at Loyola

The lone blemish in the team’s last nine games came against Portland and their best pitcher, Kyle Kraus. The loss served to discipline the batters, who became accustomed to inconsistent pitchers. Coach Batesole said, “Sometimes you can get a little bit too confident. Maybe that’s what happened today. The kid threw a heck of a game.”

After starting the season 2-4 and causing some doubt, the team is now 10-5 and clicking on all cylinders. The crowds at this year’s Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic were some of the largest and most enthusiastic seen in years.

The team now gets a six-day break before playing a weekend series at Loyola Marymount.

“We’re going to take a couple of days off. And we’ll come up with a plan for next week and what we’re going to do,” Batesole said.

The facilities crew has until March 27, when the Bulldogs host Lipscomb, to fix the PA system at Beiden Field.

The Fresno faithful sang “Take me out to the ball game” a capella Saturday after the sound system went down. As long as the team stays this hot, the fans can make plenty of noise without it.

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