Diamond ‘Dogs walk-off against Seton Hall

Infielder Ryan Higgins hits a home run in the bottom of the second against Seton Hall at Bob Bennett Stadium on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (Vendila Yang/ The Collegian)

Fresno State had the bases loaded in the 11th inning. Catcher Zach Morgan swung and missed, and it looked like Seton Halls’ catcher Staus Pokrovsky caught Ryan Higgins trying to steal home for the win. 

Pokrovsky fired the ball to third baseman Casey Dana, and he followed Higgins on a rundown to home plate. Dana thought he was making a routine throw to his pitcher Corey Sawyer for an easy out, and confusion ensued. 

The home plate umpire told Sawyer on home base to move off the line, so when third baseman Casey Dana threw it home, there was no one there to catch it. Higgins slid home, and the Bulldogs won a thrilling 11-inning battle with Seton Hall, 5-4, ending their homestand with a six-game winning streak.

After Higgins scored, Seton Hall’s players were seen trying to explain to the umpire that he was in the way of the throw. Seton Hall Pirates’ head coach Rob Sheppard said, “The umpire was telling our players to move out of the way, and I don’t know why they moved out of the way and it was because the umpire was telling them to move out of the way.” 

Sheppard was furious at the home plate, screaming at the umpire, after the errant throw, as Fresno State was celebrating. 

Sheppard said he asked the umpire for an explanation, “He [the umpire] goes that’s where I’m supposed to be, but I said the players are supposed to be there too.” 

The Bulldogs’ pitchers got off to a bad start. Pitcher Nik Cardinal gave up one run on two hits in the first inning.  

He was pulled after the first, and was replaced by Jake Harrell. The senior left-hander struggled mightily in the second inning, giving up three runs on six hits.

Pirates’ freshman left fielder Devin Hack singled to left-center and scored Pokrovosky. Seton Hall’s right fielder Christian Del Castillo followed with an RBI single to left-center field and scored center fielder Tyler Shelder. 

Another RBI single by Dana to left field and Seton Hall was up 4-0 in the second. Like Cardinal, Harrell only pitched one inning and was pulled. 

The Bulldogs’ pitching settled in after the second inning. The bullpen pitched a shut-out for the rest of the game. 

Kyle Pruhsmeier, Robbie Peters, Kevin Larson, Ryan Sullivan, Alex Kendrick and Julian Sotelo pitched eight scoreless innings, allowing only three hits. Redshirt freshman Sotelo earned his first career win in his sixth appearance on the mound this year. 

Higgins’ home run in the second was a huge momentum shift for Fresno State. Higgins went 2-of-6 with two RBI’s, two runs, and hit his second home run of the season.

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