Fresno State coach Mike Batesole knew his team was struggling and also that Saturday’s series finale against Air Force was critical to his team’s fate in 2017.
That said, he had cautioned a night earlier that there’s no reason to hit the ejector-seat button.
“There’s a lot of people panicking for us, but none of them are in this clubhouse,” Batesole said Friday after the Bulldogs dropped Game 2 in unspectacular fashion. “We get it, if we win this series (Saturday) then we can move forward to other games. It wouldn’t be too smart to look much further ahead than that. We are right in it, and things change super fast.”
Sure enough, things changed quickly Saturday at Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium. And in the end, often.
But the result of a roller-coaster day was an 8-7 Bulldogs victory in 10 innings and that series victory Batesole wanted. Fresno State blew a lead and actually trailed going to the bottom of the ninth, but rallied for two there before winning it on sophomore Zach Ashford’s single against a five-man infield.
Jesse Medrano and Korby Batesole hit RBI singles in the ninth to tie it 7-7.
Scott Silva had homered for the second time in the series, a three-run shot in the sixth, to give Fresno State (18-17, 7-6) a 5-2 lead. But the Falcons (15-18, 5-12 jumped in front 7-5 on Tyler Zabojnik’s three-run homer in the top of the ninth.
That followed a Friday night game in which Air Force shook off on early four-run deficit, scoring six in the third en route to a 10-5 victory Friday.
Silva’s three-run homer in the second, his fifth of the year, was the big blow as the Bulldogs built a 5-1 lead.
The Falcons then stormed back.
Three of the runs in the third came on a two-out homer by sophomore catcher Rob Dau. Two walks and a hit batsman helped fuel the rally, and Air Force added single runs in the fourth, sixth and eighth.
“You got to be a grinder if you’re going to survive in this business,” Batesole had continued Friday. “To have success as a player, you have to have thick skin and keep pushing forward every day, win or lose.”
Thursday, Bulldogs 7, Air Force 5 – Sophomore right-hander Edgar Gonzalez survived a five-run third to pitch a career-high 7.2 innings and improve to 3-1. After the Falcons took a 5-2 lead, Fresno State answered right back with a four-run third highlighted by Jake Stone’s three-run homer. Stone singled home another run in the fifth.
Tuesday, San Francisco 7, Bulldogs 6 – Ross Puskarich hit a two-run double, scored on Dan James’ double in a four-run seventh and the Dons (16-17) held on for the road win. Puskarich had four RBIs on the day. Bulldogs reliever Fred Schlichtholz (2-4) allowed four runs in 1.1 innings; Aaron Arruda had hit a tying three-run homer in the third.
FRESNO STATE BASEBALL SCHEDULE FOR WEEK OF APRIL 17
- Wednesday: Nonconference game at Pacific, 6 p.m.
- Friday-Sunday: Mountain West Series vs. Nevada, 6 p.m., 6 p.m., 1 p.m. at Beiden Field at Bennett Stadium