Martin Viramontes made his return to Fresno on Friday night at Beiden Field and the Loyola Marymount pitcher had something to be proud of: a 12-5 win against Fresno State to start the teams' four-game series.
Viramontes, who graduated from Bullard High in 2007, pitched a season-high 61/3 innings, striking out four while allowing nine hits and three earned runs en route to his first win of the season.
Viramontes -- a 6-foot-5, 225-pound redshirt sophomore -- is 1-3 this season and entered the game with a 6.75 ERA in four starts. He said it was nice to play in Fresno for the first time since high school. It was a reunion of sorts for him, and not just with the group of family members and friends who waited outside the stadium for him after the game.
Viramontes in high school played against Fresno State third baseman Garret Weber (Clovis High) and Jordan Ribera (Clovis West). Viramontes and Weber were the only two Valley high school prospects to be drafted in 2007 -- Viramontes by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 11th round and the Kansas City Royals selected Weber (a Fresno City transfer who hit his first career homer Friday night) in the 35th round.
Viramontes' fastball has risen about 5 mph since high school. He's now clocking the mid-90s on the radar and family members say he is being courted by big-time sports agent Scott Boras.
"You don't see 95 [mph] every day," said Weber, who was impressed with Viramontes' location and second pitches. "His curve and his change he's able to spot up real well. The same with his fastball for that matter. He was hitting the inside corner and outside corner with his fastball whenever he wanted."
While Viramontes and the rest of the Lions defense allowed 13 hits, the Bulldogs' defense allowed 19 and had three errors.
Matt Morse (2-2) started for the Bulldogs and took the loss after going 41/3 innings with 11 hits, five runs (four earned) and three strikeouts.
Fresno State coach Mike Batesole blamed the defense in part, saying if the Bulldogs had played better defense, Morse wouldn't have felt like he needed to strike batters out.