Fresno State played the longest game in Mountain West baseball history, caught up with UC Riverside for 18 innings on an uncomfortably cold Friday night at Beiden Field at Bennett Stadium.
Ahead 3-0 through seven innings, the Bulldogs went scoreless for the next 15 while stranding 15 runners for the game.
A fielding error to start the 18th led to the Highlanders scoring the go-ahead run.
And Fresno State lost 4-3 in what also was the Bulldogs’ longest game in the past six years.
Eighteen innings, that was a long one.
Fresno State coach Mike Batesole
“Eighteen innings, that was a long one,” Bulldogs coach Mike Batesole said after the opener of a three-game series that continues with an afternoon start Saturday. “We pitched pretty well. They made some big pitches, too.”
Fresno State pitchers, five in all, struck out 29 – second in NCAA history behind Akron’s 31 against North Carolina State in 2009.
And with Riverside striking out 17 Bulldogs, the teams combined for 46, also second in NCAA history.
29 Strikeouts registered by Fresno State pitchers – the second most in NCAA history
Bulldogs ace Ricky Tyler Thomas struck out 15 and allowed one hit over seven shutout innings.
Riverside (3-1) scored twice in the eighth, then tied it in the ninth.
Fresno State (2-3) left eight on over the next nine innings, getting two on with two out in the 17th before Jesse Medrano grounded out.
After a sacrifice and flyball, UC Riverside Connor Cannon singled home fellow freshman Daniel Martinez. Cannon drove in the two runs in the eighth with a single on an 0-2 pitch off sophomore Edgar Gonzalez.
The Highlanders’ Ryan Lillie, a junior right-hander, struck out the side in the bottom of the 18th.
“Really good pitching by both sides,” said UC Riverside coach Troy Percival, the former major league star reliever. “They had runners in scoring position and our pitchers kept battling.”
▪ The 18-inning game tied for longest in UC Riverside program history, a mark set versus Chapman in 1979.
UC RIVERSIDE AT FRESNO STATE
- Saturday: 2:05 p.m. at Beiden Field at Bennett Stadium
- Records: Bulldogs 2-3, Highlanders 3-1
- Radio: KFIG (AM 940)
- Of note: UC Riverside is coached by former Anaheim Angels closer Troy Percival, a four-time All Star and part of the 2002 World Series championship team. … The series concludes at 2:05 p.m. Sunday.