Fresno State baseball’s Emilio Nogales was at the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning, pinch-hitting for pitcher Jaime Arias.
The Bulldogs were trailing 6-0 and had only racked up three hits against the Washington Huskies’ bullpen. Fresno State left fielder Ryan Higgins was at second base, looking to get the first run for the ‘Dogs.
After one ball and one strike, Nogales hit a single to right field, and Huskies’ first baseman Will Simpson was unable to field it. With the ball still in right field, Higgins sprinted to home plate and gave the Bulldogs their first run of the game at Pete Beiden Field.
Higgins’ run in the fourth was the lone run of the game for the Bulldogs as they dropped the first game of a three-game series, 8-1, against the Washington Huskies on Friday, Feb. 21.
The Bulldogs shut down the Huskies early with a 4-3 double play as Fresno State second baseman Andrew Kachel got the first out then fired the ball to first baseman Zach Morgan for the second out.
Still, the Bulldogs had no answer for the Huskies’ starting pitcher Stevie Emmanuels. In the bottom of the first, Emmanuels struck out the first three batters.
To start the second, with the bases loaded, Huskies third baseman Tommy Williams hit a ground ball to Bulldogs shortstop Jeff Jamison.
Jamison threw it to Bulldogs third baseman Matt Ottino, but the ball was thrown a few feet away from him. In the sequence, Williams got two RBIs (runs batted in) as Christian Jones and Simpson scored, giving the Huskies a 2-0 lead.
The Huskies continued to pile on runs as shortstop Ramon Bramasco hit a ground ball to Jamison, giving time for Huskies left fielder Kaiser Weiss to score. Huskies center fielder Braiden Ward recorded an RBI off a ground ball to left field, giving the Huskies a 4-0 lead in the second.
The Bulldogs tried to answer back and got their first hit of the night when Nogales singled to left field. Still, the Bulldogs struggled against Emmanuels as he struck out Morgan and Kachel to end the inning.
The Huskies added two more runs in the third as the ‘Dogs made another error. Down 5-0, Bramasco bunted the ball with a runner on third base.
Bulldogs catcher Zach Presno grabbed the ball, but held onto it as the Bulldogs didn’t get an out. The Huskies increased their lead to 6-0 after Jones added another run.
After the fourth inning, the Bulldogs stopped the Huskies’ momentum, but gave up two more runs on infield errors. In the top of the sixth, Kachel threw the ball to first on a hit from Huskies second baseman Noah Hsue and ignored Ward on second base.
Ward made the ‘Dogs pay for their defensive mistake and ran home to push the lead to 7-1. Later in the top of the eighth, Bulldogs pitcher Julian Sotelo came in for relief and threw a wild pitch with Ward at second base.
The ball went under the legs of Presno and Ward ran home to give the Huskies their eighth and final run of the game.
Unlike the series against the Anteaters, Emmanuels outdueled the Bulldogs starting pitcher, Jaime Arias. Emmanuels pitched for six innings, had 13 strikeouts and gave up one run.
After the game, Huskies head coach Lindsay Meggs said he was very impressed with the bullpen.
“Our bullpen was good,” Meggs said. “They were good on Tuesday night at Long Beach State, and they threw strikes tonight, so it’s exciting for us.”
For the Bulldogs, Arias pitched for five innings, had four strikeouts and gave up 10 hits and six runs.
After winning three in a row, Meggs said the team is finally in a rhythm.
“You know, we have some young guys who needed to get their feet wet, and we’re just playing a little bit better each time,” Meggs said. “We’re just trying to get better.”