The Fresno State baseball team took two of three from rival Nevada after winning 9-5 during Sunday’s series finale to begin Mountain West play.
But Bulldogs coach Mike Batesole expressed concern about the Bulldogs (6-5, 2-1) moving forward should Fresno State’s pitching staff continue to struggle with its control.
Fresno State racked up 19 walks and hit five batters during the three-game series, including nine walks and four hit batters during a 10-8 loss to Nevada on Saturday.
The Bulldogs had a little better control Sunday but still issued seven walks.
In the back of my mind and in my gut as a coach, that’s going to catch up to you.
Coach Mike Batesole on Fresno State’s 19 walks and five hit batters in three games against Nevada
“We’ve won four out of our past five and two of three this weekend and we should be happy and excited,” Batesole said. “It doesn’t feel like that. Maybe it’s all the balls. Maybe it’s all the walks.
“In the back of my mind and in my gut as a coach, that’s going to catch up to you. … You better fix that.”
Control has been an issue all season with Fresno State allowing one of the worst walks-per-nine innings ratios in the country at 5.33 (64 walks in 108 innings pitched).
And that’s with one of the nation’s best pitchers in Bulldogs ace Ricky Tyler Thomas, who’s averaging 2.1 walks per nine innings. Thomas scattered five hits, three walks and one hit batter for two runs in 8 1/3 innings Friday to help Fresno State win 3-2 in the series opener.
Fellow weekend starters Rickey Ramirez and Davis Moore, however, were all over the place against the Wolf Pack.
Ramirez issued three walks and hit three batters, along with surrendering seven hits for six runs in five innings Saturday.
Moore walked four and allowed three hits for one run in three innings Sunday.
Fresno State’s bullpen, meanwhile, has been prone to walks most of the year.
Take away the production of Thomas, Ramirez and Moore, and the remainder of the Bulldogs’ pitchers have issued 44 walks in 57 innings (6.95 walks per nine innings).
Fresno State opponents have combined to sport a 3.67 walks-per-nine innings ratio against the Bulldogs.
By comparison, Fresno State opponents have combined to sport a 3.67 walks-per-nine innings ratio against the Bulldogs.
“Without all of (the issued walks), we could be sitting here at 9-2 and rolling like we thought we were,” Batesole said. “It isn’t rolling yet. We want to get it rolling.”
Fresno State’s offense helped offset some of the troubles on the mound, scoring five runs in the fourth inning alone.
No. 9 hitter Carter Bins came through during the big inning with a two-run triple to deep center. The freshman catcher finished 2 for 4 and is hitting .316 with a .409 on-base percentage to start the season.
Junior Aaron Arruda added three hits Sunday. And Austin Guibor went 2 for 3 with two runs.
“I loved the at-bats we took,” Batesole said. “We had a lot of unselfish at-bats. If the only way you’re going to score is on hits, you’re not going to win that many games.
“You got to have productive outs if you’re going to win.”
FRESNO STATE AT PEPPERDINE
- When: 2 p.m. Tuesday in Malibu
- Records: Bulldogs 6-5, Waves 6-4
- Radio: KFIG (AM 940)
- Of note: Pepperdine won two of three this weekend at perennial power Rice (4-8), which made the NCAA tournament last season. The Bulldogs and Waves haven’t met since the 2012 NCAA tournament, when Pepperdine won 8-5 to eliminate Fresno State.