Diamond ‘Dogs win weekend series on Bob Bennet Day

Tommy Hopfe rounds the base in the game against New Mexico on April 9, 2022 on Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium. (Wyatt Bible/ The Collegian)

Ixan Henderson became the Friday starter for head coach Mike Batesole, demonstrating a strong performance  in a dominant 11-1 win against New Mexico.

Henderson, now (6-2), went seven strong in a winning effort on Friday night, only allowing one earned run on just three hits and two walks for the Lobos. He was one strikeout shy of matching his career best, finishing with 11 K’s on the night.

Assistant coach Ryan Overland said Henderson’s competitive drive fuels the whole team to compete harder.

“What he’s done leading this pitching staff and the way he competes, the way he attacks hitters and the way he views competition, this whole team has taken that approach,” Overland said. 

The Bulldogs offensive power was on full display in the blowout win, as four ‘Dogs homered in the rout.

Ivan Luna at bat in the game against New Mexico on April 9, 2022 on Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium. (Wyatt Bible/ The Collegian)

Tommy Hopfe led off with an inside-the-park home run in the second inning, which was followed by a solo shot to right off the bat of Payton Allen. Andrew Kachel then followed that up with an RBI triple down the right field line, scoring Ben Newton. 

In the third inning, back-to-back singles by Zach Morgan and Ivan Luna led to Morgan scoring on a wild pitch to make it a 4-0 lead for the ‘Dogs. 

Josh Lauck then whacked a solo shot to center field in the fifth, making it 5-0. The Bulldogs weren’t done though, as Morgan hit a double and then came around to score on a RBI sacrifice bunt by Allen. 

Vinny Bologna then singled home Hopfe to make it 7-0 in the fifth.

The Lobos got their lone run of the game in the sixth as a leadoff walk came around to score on an RBI double by Lenny Junior Ashby.

In the seventh inning, Bologna crushed a three-run homer to left, scoring Allen and Hopfe to contribute the last runs of the blowout victory.

In Saturday night’s game, the Lobos’ bats came alive, and the Bulldogs lost a tough matchup  4-3. 

A three-run third inning for New Mexico got them on the board first.

The ‘Dogs answered right back in the bottom of the third with their lone run on the right, coming from Kachel reaching on a Lobo throwing error. Kachel then came around to score, swiping home after Lobo catcher Shane Podsednik  failed to catch Lauck stealing second. 

A two-out home run for New Mexico in the top of the fifth put the Lobos ahead 4-1, but Kachel  cut the Lobos’ lead to one with a two-run scorcher to left-center. However, that would be all the ‘Dogs could muster in the last few innings of the loss. 

Kachel matched his single-game career high with three hits, coming up a triple shy of the cycle, and added two runs and two RBI’s in the defeat. 

Andrew Kachel waiting for a play in the game against New Mexico on April 9, 2022 on Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium. (Wyatt Bible/ The Collegian)

Southpaw Jake Dixon took the loss (1-3), but went at least six innings for the fifth straight start, going six innings while allowing eight hits, four runs, no walks and striking out four.

In the series finale Sunday, celebrating coaching legend Bob Bennett on Bob Bennett Day, the Diamond ‘Dogs took the series win over New Mexico with a 6-2 victory. 

After loading the bases, Sunday starter Roman Angelo (3-1) escaped the first inning unscathed and went on to toss five innings while limiting the Lobos to five hits, one unearned run, three walks and five strikeouts in the win.

“Having a guy with [Angelo’s] experience to get us through that inning, and get us a couple of zeros on the board so our offense could score first, that was probably a couple of the biggest pitches of the day in the first inning there,” Overland said.

Fresno State got the scoring started in the third as a pair of walks and a hit by pitch loaded the bases for Luna. He delivered with a two-out bases-clearing RBI double that smacked off the right field wall to put the ‘Dogs up 3-0.  

In the bottom of the third inning, Morgan was able to gun down a Lobo at third base when New Mexico threatened with two runners on. The pick off play paid off, as no runs were able to come across.

Ixan Henderson on the mound in the game against New Mexico on April 9, 2022 on Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium. (Wyatt Bible/ The Collegian)

“He got a couple extra strikes for us. That’s what great players do. They find different ways to help win a game besides just getting hits,” Overland said.

The Lobos answered back with a pair of runs to cut the ‘Dogs’ lead to one, scoring one in the fifth on a wild pitch from Angelo and adding a Cody Holtz solo home run in the sixth. 

The ‘Dogs extended their lead to 6-2 with three more runs in the bottom of the sixth, getting an RBI single by Bologna followed by two more runs on a Lobo throwing error.

The Lobos threatened late in the ninth, getting a pair of runners on, but Cooper Bergman was able to get Sean Stephens to strike out, looking to seal the win.

“Those three guys – Hopfe, Peters and Bergman –we had them fresh going into today, and we knew we were probably going to need to get nine to 12 outs from them… that was huge for those guys, to be able to hold onto that lead,” Overland said.

Luna was the leader for the ‘Dogs in the win, going 2-for-4 scoring a run and contributing three RBI’s.  

The Diamond ‘Dogs will be on the road at Sacramento State for a one game series on Tuesday April 12. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. 

Zach Morgan (left) and Payton Allen (right) celebrate in the game against New Mexico on April 9, 2022 on Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium. (Wyatt Bible/ The Collegian)
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