Emotions boiled over, to the bench-clearing brawl degree, before Fresno State snapped a six-game skid with a key 14-10 win against Mountain West Conference leader Nevada on Saturday night Beiden Field.
The brawl resulted in a 25-minute delay and the Bulldogs’ longest game of the season, the teams finally calling it a day after 4 hours, 13 minutes. No players or coaches were made available to the media after the game.
It was 9-5 in favor of the Bulldogs (17-18, 8-6) when Taylor Tempel hit a bases-loaded, two-run bloop single to left.
The melee came near the end of the play, as the Bulldogs’ Korby Batesole tried to advance to third on the throw home. Catcher Jordan Devencenzi whipped the ball to the bag, where shortstop Kyle Hunt was covering. Batesole slid in hard, knocking Hunt off the bag, though Hunt still managed to make the tag.
But that was when Hunt fired back, pushing Batesole to the dirt and unleashing a flurry of punches before third-base coach Ryan Overland and third-base umpire Van Raaphorst could intervene.
Devencenzi bolted down the line and both dugouts cleared. A series of shoves and some punches ensued, with head coaches Jay Johnson and Mike Batesole pushing and pulling players from both sides to try to stop the fight.
That led to the lengthy delay as the umpires tried to figure out the repercussions.
Both teams’ head coaches and a total of five starters were ejected. Hunt, Devencenzi and right fielder Trenton Brooks were tossed for Nevada. The Bulldogs lost Batesole and right fielder Austin Guibor.
After the game went final, officials reviewed the video and ordered penalties for a number of players who came off the bench.
In all, nine people were suspended, including seven players who will miss Sunday’s series finale.
For the Bulldogs: Korby Batesole, one game, malicious contact; Jesse Medrano, four games, fighting; Torin Goldstein, four games, fighting; Guibor, four games, fighting.
And for the Wolf Pack: Hunt, four games, fighting; Brooks, one game, unsportsmanlike conduct; Devencenzi, four games, fighting.
The head coaches, though ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct that included a brief shouting match, are not suspended for Sunday’s game.
The Wolf Pack (27-8, 13-4) struck first, plating two runs in the top of the first inning on Brooks’ 2-RBI double to left center.
Taylor Ward began the Bulldogs’ comeback with a solo home run that soared over the team’s bullpen in left field in the bottom of the first.
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the second, the Bulldogs tied the game on Kevin Viers’ two-run homer. Fresno State got in front on Batesole’s RBI squeeze bunt that rolled through the hands of Wolf Pack starter Cameron Rowland, who was pulled for left-hander and Clovis High grad Michael Fain.
Fain, however, couldn’t get out of the jam, loading the bases and walking home two Bulldogs runs. The Bulldogs pieced together a four-hit, three-walk rally to make it a 6-3 game.
The Bulldogs added single runs in the sixth and seventh innings on a wild pitch and fielder’s choice, respectively.
Ward hit 3 for 4 with three runs scored and one RBI to lead the Bulldogs offensively. Viers went 3 for 5 with two RBIs.
Cal Stevenson was 5 for 6 and Trevor Brooks had four RBIs for the Wolf Pack.
Fresno State starting pitcher Tim Borst went 3 2-3 innings, giving up five runs (all earned) on seven hits and three walks. Left-hander Dylan Lee took over and kept the Wolf Pack off the board before Nevada racked him for five runs in the eighth.
Nevada’s Kewby Meyer’s hit a three-run homer to make the score 14-10.
Will Munro relieved Lee and ended the inning with consecutive strikeouts.
The Wolf Pack were within striking distance again in the ninth, with the bases loaded and one out before Garrett Mundell finally shut down the threat.