FRESNO, Calif. - Another strong offensive effort by the Fresno State baseball team helped the 'Dogs even their series against Eastern Michigan on Saturday evening at Bob Bennett Stadium at Pete Beiden Field as they downed the Eagles 10-2.
"We got a couple bunts down and we got a sacrifice fly tonight as we talked about doing the little things and we got that done. Winning teams do those things and that's what makes them good," said head coach Mike Batesole after the game on manufacturing runs.
Our infielders were able to make nice plays all night and that comes from your pitcher throwing strikes which Rickey did tonight and letting your defense play the game. If you are an infielder, you know you are going to get groundballs and have to make plays," added Batesole.
Fresno State (7-6) continued to pound the ball offensively putting together their fifth consecutive double-digit hitting performance as a team and ninth of the season as they had 14 on the evening. Sophomore designated hitter Zach Ashford, who tied his career-best with three hits, led the way scoring two runs and added an RBI. Senior second baseman Scott Silva was a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Junior outfielder Jared Akins and junior first baseman Aaron Arruda each had a pair of hits as eight different Bulldogs totaled at least one hit. Senior outfielder Austin Guibor had his second double of the season and scored a pair of runs, while freshman catcher Carter Bins added his first career double, an RBI and scored a run.
The Bulldogs were consistent from the plate all evening scoring in six of their eight innings as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead after four innings. Akins started the scoring in the first with an RBI single and came around to score on a wild pitch. The 'Dogs added two more runs in the second on an RBI double to right center by Bins that drove in Ashford and Bins came home to score on a sacrifice fly by Silva.
A one-out RBI single through the right side by Ashford scored Jesse Medrano in the third to put the 'Dogs ahead 5-0 and an RBI single up the middle by Arruda in the fourth made it 6-0. Eastern Michigan (3-12) added their lone two runs of the game in the fifth inning scoring a pair of unearned runs off Bulldog starter Rickey Ramirez as the junior pitcher made an ill-advised throw allowing two Eagles to score.
The Bulldogs answered back in the bottom of the frame with two runs on an RBI ground-rule double by Guibor and an RBI single up the middle by Silva increasing the lead to 8-2 before the 'Dogs finished off their fantastic night from the plate with two more runs in the eighth as Arruda added to his team-leading RBI count driving in a pair of runs with a double down the left field line.
Ramirez picked up his second win of the season throwing seven strong innings limiting Eastern Michigan to three hits, a pair of unearned runs, one walk and struck out seven. He held the Eagles without a hit for the first 4.2 innings and faced only three batters over them minimum.
Senior Dominic Topoozian followed him with a scoreless eighth as he worked around a pair of runners in scoring position and freshman Adam Medrano and Isaiah Davis combined to limit the Eagles to one hit in the ninth.
The 'Dogs conclude their three-game series on Sunday afternoon with a 1:05 p.m. contest with the Eagles. It will be Salute to Sunday as all military veterans get into the game for free and kids run the bases postgame.
Meanwhile, the Fresno State softball team split day two of the Fresno State Invitational, defeating Oregon State, 6-2, after falling to No. 25-ranked BYU, 8-6, in eight innings on Saturday at Margie Wright Diamond.
The Bulldogs (16-9) improved to 3-2 against Pac-12 teams this year with their second-straight win against the Beavers (14-7) and dropped to 3-1 in extra-inning games after the Cougars (14-7) outlasted Fresno State.
"I'm proud of this team," Fresno State head coach Linda Garza said. "I wish we were 4-0 [this weekend] just like every coach does, but I'm proud that we were in a position to still win that game [against BYU]. We have some chances to still get better for those games in June."
The 'Dogs continue the Fresno State Invitational on Sunday, taking on Sacramento State (6-10-1) at 11:30 a.m. PT.
- Fresno State is now 3-2 against the Pac-12 and 2-1 against the WCC this season.
- Fresno State is now 1-4 against ranked opponents this year.
- Fresno State senior Kierra Willis hit her second home run of the weekend and her third of the year against Oregon State. She finished the day with two hits, a walk, three runs scored and three RBIs.
- Fresno State sophomore Morgan Howe went 4-for-6 with two RBIs on Saturday.
How it happened against No. 25 BYU
Fresno State sophomore Kamalani Dung (10-5, 2.08 ERA) got the nod against the Cougars, who struck early, scoring two runs on three hits in the top of the first inning.
The Bulldogs came back in the fourth to take the lead after loading the bases and getting two-run singles by Howe and junior Savannah McHellon. However, BYU answered with two more runs in the fifth to tie the game 4-4.
Fresno state took the lead back in the sixth after freshman Schuylar Broussard knocked in Willis with her third double of the year, but the Cougars equalized immediately with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
The Bulldogs entered their fourth extra-innings game of the year and gave up three runs on three hits, bringing the score to 8-5 BYU. Fresno State junior Katie Castellon reached base on a two-out error, scoring Willis in the process, but an infield groundout by freshman Miranda Rohleder sealed the Cougars' victory.
Howe had a three-hit game for the third time this season and Rohleder had a multiple-hit game for a team-leading seventh time this year. Dung allowed eight runs on 11 hits and six walks while striking out six batters.
How it happened against Oregon State
McHellon (3-3, 3.69 ERA) pitched her third complete game for the Bulldogs en route to her third victory of the season. She allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out two.
It was a pitching duel until Oregon State scored in the top of the fourth off of two singles to take a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, senior Malia Rivers hit a leadoff single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Howe, and scored on a single up the middle by senior Lindsey Willmon. McHellon then came up with a hit before Willis came up to the plate and smashed a home run over the left field fence to give the Bulldogs a 4-1 lead.
Fresno State added insurance runs in the fifth and sixth innings, increasing its lead to 6-1. Oregon State attempted to get a rally going in the seventh, scoring a run on two hits, but couldn't get any further.
Rivers was the only Bulldog in the game to have multiple hits, her sixth time this year.