USAFA, Colo. - The first career home run by freshman catcher Carter Bins in the ninth inning helped the Fresno State baseball team complete a comeback over Air Force as the 'Dogs defeated the Falcons 10-8 on Saturday afternoon at Falcon Field.
"[Starting pitcher] Rickey Ramirez was nothing short of amazing today and we got him in plenty of trouble and he kept getting himself out of it. [Third baseman] Jesse Medrano made a few senior-laden plays and it is just how these guys continue to fight. We have a staple in our program that we finish everything and today was a microcosm of that," said head coach Mike Batesole.
Fresno State (10-7, 3-2 MW) had an outstanding day from the plate with a season-high 16 hits surpassing its previous-best of 15 against Oregon and Eastern Michigan. Junior shortstop Korby Batesole had a career-high four hits, including his second triple of the season and added three RBIs and scored two runs. Junior first baseman Aaron Arruda tied his career-high with three hits and scored two runs.
Bins, who had his fourth multi-hit game of the season, was a triple of the cycle tallying a single, double and a home run, drove in a season-high three RBIs and scored two runs. Junior outfielder Jared Akins had a pair of hits and scored two runs and senior second baseman Scott Silva added a single and double.
Air Force (9-10, 1-6) was solid from the plate as well totaling 13 hits as all nine position players had at least one hit in the game. Catcher Rob Dau had three hits, including two doubles, and scored a run along with an RBI. Designated hitter Tyler Jones had three hits and added an RBI.
For a second straight contest, the Falcons were able to jump on the board first scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. Taking advantage of a catcher interference call on Bins, a pair of runners were on base for the Falcons' Tyler Zabojnik who singled through the left side to score the first run. Jones followed with a single through the left side to score Bradley Haslam and move Zabojnik to third. A sacrifice fly to center field by first baseman NicReady drove in Zabojnik to cap the scoring.
Air Force added a run in the second inning on RBI groundout by Adam Groesbeck to score Dau, who led off with a double to center field and continued to build the lead in the third with an RBI groundout by right fielder Ashton Easley made it 5-0.
The 'Dogs were finally able to get to Air Force starter Ethan Nichols in the fourth inning as Akins and Arruda led off with singles and Akins came home to score off a Falcon fielding error by Jesse Medrano for the 'Dogs first run. Bins followed with his second double of the season sending a 1-0 pitch down the left field line to drive in Arruda and move Medrano to third. Batesole kept the 'Dogs momentum going with a single dribbler back to Nichols that drove in Medrano for the Bulldogs' third run.
A two-run fifth inning by the 'Dogs tied the game at 5-5 as Medrano drove in a run on a fielder's choice as Akins scored his second run of the game and Bins followed with his second RBI of the game driving in Arruda.
The tie was short-lived as the Falcons answered back with one run in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to take a 8-5 lead.
A fielder's choice by first baseman Nic Ready scored one in the fifth, a sacrifice fly by Haslam to left field in the sixth and an RBI single by Dau scored the speedy Easley from first base as the Falcons took a three-run lead.
Continuing to battle all afternoon, the 'Dogs refused to go away as Medrano led off the eighth with a bunt single down the left field line and Bins was hit by a pitch to put a pair on base for Batesole. The junior from Clovis sent a 2-0 pitch to deep right center for a triple clearing the bases and sophomore Zach Ashford tied the game with an RBI groundout to shortstop to drive in Batesole as the 'Dogs evened the game for the second time.
After Ramirez went 6.2 innings and junior JJ Santa Cruz was able to escape the seventh with one pitch, sophomore Edgar Gonzalez was able to work around a leadoff single to strand a runner at second in the eighth as the game moved to the ninth tied at 8-8.
Bins ripped a one-out 2-0 pitch to left field to put the 'Dogs ahead 9-8 to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the series. Batesole and Ashford followed with singles and a balk by the Falcons' Tyler Mortenson allowed Batesole to score to give the Bulldogs a two-run lead.
With the potential game-winning run coming to the plate in Dau in the bottom of the ninth, Gonzalez was able to get Dau to groundout to Medrano and sent down center fielder Drew Wiss on strikes to pick up his first win of the season.
The Bulldogs and Falcons conclude their three-game on Sunday at 12 p.m. PT from Falcon Field.
Fresno State Media Services