When a game’s in doubt or needs to be finished out, Fresno State knows exactly whom to turn to for relief.
Casey Rodriguez, Mark Reece and Jake Shull continued to help bail out the Bulldogs, combining for 3⅓ innings out of the bullpen as Fresno State rallied for a 5-4 win against UC Davis in a nonconference series opener Friday at Beiden Field.
“It’s definitely been a fun ride,” Reece said. “You show up to the ballpark ready to go, confident, focused and relying on your preparation.”
Reece got the win after throwing 1⅔ perfect innings, including two strikeouts in the eighth. He moved to 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 12⅔ innings.
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Jake Shull (2-2, 1.53) locked up his fourth save with a scoreless ninth, inducing a 6-4-3 double play before striking out Aggies cleanup hitter Austin March.
Rodriguez, the left-handed specialist with a 1.17 ERA in 10 appearances for the season, recorded the most tense out.
Entering in the sixth with UC Davis up 4-3 and threatening to score more with runners at the corners, Rodriguez quickly got Fresno State out of the jam by inducing a weak grounder to short in a lefty-on-lefty matchup.
“Coaches have a lot of confidence in us,” Rodriguez said. “We have a lot of trust in each other. We know the next guy on the team will come in and get his job done.”
The Fresno State bullpen has six of the Bulldogs’ 10 wins.
Fresno State’s Austin Guibor, meanwhile, provided clutch offense in the seventh and eighth. The Bulldogs (10-9) were in dire need of a hot bat after blowing a 3-0 lead through four innings.
Guibor sent a missile up the middle for a two-out single that allowed Ryan Dobson to trot in with the go-ahead run. Guibor, who was 3 for 5 with a run and two RBIs, also roped a triple to start the bottom of the seventh and scored the tying run via a Taylor Ward sacrifice fly.
The three-game series continues at 6:35 p.m. Saturday.
Softball tourney-host ’Dogs beat Montana
Kierra Willis hit her team-leading fifth home run and Taylor Langdon recorded her best outing of the season in the circle as Fresno State defeated Montana 5-1 at Margie Wright Diamond.
Willis hit a two-run shot as Fresno State pulled away in a three-run fifth on day 2 of the Fresno State Classic. Landon scattered five hits, walked none and didn’t allow a run until the sixth inning in her first start of the season.
Five of the Bulldogs’ top six batters in the order registered a hit.
Fresno State (18-9) will next face No. 16 Minnesota (20-4) at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Bulldogs are 1-5 against nationally ranked teams this season.
The Golden Gophers have won six straight, including 20-3 against South Dakota State and 8-1 over Pacific at the tournament Friday.
• Sierra Hyland (El Diamante High) went 2 for 3 with two RBIs to help Cal Poly in an 11-8 win against South Dakota State at the Classic.
Women win duel of ranked tennis teams
Fresno State’s women’s tennis team, which rose 20 spots to No. 42 in this week’s national rankings, swept in doubles and captured the top four singles en route to a 5-2 win over No. 60 San Jose State in a Mountain West match at Wathen Center.
Fresno State’s Rana Sherif Ahmed and Anneka Watts won in straight sets at No. 3 and No. 4 singles. The Bulldogs (11-3, 2-0) have won seven straight.