Fresno State gear flooded Chukchansi Park as the Fresno Grizzlies dedicated the night to former, current and future Bulldogs on Aug. 27.
The night kicked off with Fresno State mascot Timeout throwing the honorary first pitch. However, after a questionable first pitch, maybe Timeout is best suited to cheering from the stands.
The Grizzlies immediately gave the 5,643 fans in attendance something to be excited about as they took a 4-0 lead over the Stockton Ports in the first inning, highlighted by a thunderous two-run home run by Yanquiel Fernandez.
In the fifth inning, the Ports scored five runs, capped off with an RBI-single by Oakland A’s first-round draft pick Daniel Susac to right field, giving the Ports a 6-5 lead. It was short lived as the Grizzlies regained the lead with a five-run fifth inning of their own, putting them ahead 10-6.
The Grizzlies went on to win 11-9, earning their 11th straight victory of the season.
Although Grizzlies outfielder and Fresno State alumnus EJ Andrews Jr. did not see the field that night, he could probably sense the support from the fans throughout the game.
“It’s a huge support, the Red Wave,” Andrews said. “ I can’t thank them enough for all the support they gave me in the past few years and the support they’re still giving me now. You can definitely feel it when you walk into the stadium, it’s a really good feeling.”
He could especially feel that support from those closest to him.
“I had a few teammates come out, Ben Newton and a couple other guys. Actually, Ashley Judlin, she was the baseball operations manager when I was there [Fresno State]. So they came out tonight. It was good to see them,” Andrews said.
Andrews is one of nine players who have made the jump from playing collegiate baseball at Fresno State to playing at the professional level with the Fresno Grizzlies. He says it is a special opportunity, continuing to grow and mature in front of the same fans who got to see him earlier in his career.
“The list is very short of guys. I think I’m like the ninth on that list. But it’s special when you get to have a fan base watch you kind of grow up, go through your college years while I’m maturing and then get to the professional level. It’s a really special situation. I’m glad to be a part of it.” Andrews said.
Much like Andrews, Bulldog fans also seemed excited to be a part of this special journey. Current Fresno State student Robert Rivera said that “seeing these players, just like me who are here and grinded at Fresno State, now doing it for a professional career. It’s great seeing it represented, especially at our school.”
Fresno State Night at Chukchansi might be over, but students can continue to support their classmates as Fresno State takes on Cal Poly in the football home opener on Thursday, Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m.
You can see the Grizzlies in action again at Chukchansi Park on Tuesday as they take on the Modesto Nuts at 6:50 p.m.