Diamond ‘Dogs sweep series against Columbia

Courtesy of Fresno State Athletics.

Fresno State infielder Ryan Higgins approached the plate in the third inning with his team up 2-0, with the bases loaded. Columbia’s pitcher Nate Beimel threw a ball in the strike zone, and Higgins knocked a double down the right field line, scoring in three runs and extending the Bulldogs lead to 5-0. 

The Fresno State Bulldogs (7-4)  went on to defeat the Columbia Lions (0-4) 12-3 at Pete Beiden Field on Sunday afternoon and completed the sweep over the weekend. 

The Bulldogs dominated the Lions 9-1 on Friday to win the series opener. The Lions were shut out until they broke through and scored their first run in the seventh, with a RBI double by first baseman Tyler MacGregor. 

On Saturday, the Bulldogs held a 7-2 lead into the ninth. Columbia made things interesting scoring two runs off  senior Ryan Sullivan. Bulldogs’ head coach Mike Batesole subbed in freshman Alex Kendrick to close the game. Kendrick grounded out Lions’ catcher Liam McGill and gave the Bulldogs their first win of the doubleheader. 

In the second game of the doubleheader, catcher Zach Presno smacked a three-run homer off Lions’ starting pitcher Will Geerdes in the third, extending their lead to 6-0. The Bulldogs had a five-run third inning and went on to win the game, 10-2. 

The Fresno State Bulldogs defeated the Columbia Lions convincingly over the weekend, scoring 38 runs over the weekend.

Fresno State has now won five consecutive games. 

“It feels good, man. It’s not easy to do,” Batesole said. “Running off five in a row and four in a weekend is very difficult.”

The last time  Fresno State team was in a series this season, they got swept by the Washington Huskies, but this past weekend they were the ones doing the sweeping, due in large part to their pitching and active bats.   

The ‘Dogs jumped on the Lions early on Sunday. Junior Emilio Nogales sliced a hit down the right line and scored Nate Thimjon for the first run. 

The third inning was when the Bulldogs did most of their damage. After both teams did not score in the second, Nogales came up to bat and knocked another double to right-center and scored Presno and Thimjon. 

The Lions allowed Nogales to score from third base on a wild pitch. Higgins increased the lead to 7-0 with a two-RBI double on a full count with two outs. 

Batesole said his players had “good plate discilpine” and swung at the right pitches.  

The ‘Dogs were excellent from the mound as well. Bulldogs’ junior Nikoh Mitchell made his season debut after coming in for senior right-hander Nik Cardinal in the third. 

Mitchell wasted no time, retiring all three batters. He pitched four scoreless innings and allowed only four hits to earn the win. 

Presno continued his hot start to the season with a solo home run on the first pitch in the sixth. He leads the team with six home runs, 15 RBI’s and a .410 batting average. 

“Yeah, it is a good start, he [Presno] is catching exceptionally well, which is more important for his position,” said Batesole on Presno’s electric start.

The Bulldogs tallied up four more runs in the seventh to make the score 12-0 leading into the ninth. The Lions scored their first run in the last inning on a bases-loaded balk from Bulldogs’ closer Alex Kendrick. 

Lions’ junior Josh Nicoloff singled to left field to and scored in Jacob Phelps. The Lions then scored their third run on a sacrifice fly from senior Liam McGill. 

Kendrick eventually threw a strike, closing the game. The Bulldogs look to continue their winning streak against Seton Hall (4-5) comes into town on Tuesday at 6:05 p.m. 

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