Fresno State enjoyed a fast start to its baseball season, taking a 2-1 series lead on Oregon after splitting Sunday’s doubleheader at Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium.
Playing through light rain all afternoon, the Bulldogs beat Oregon 8-3 in Game 1 before falling 13-1 in the Game 2 nightcap.
“We got a chance to take a good series, going 2 out of 3, and make it a great series, by taking 3 of the 4,” coach Mike Batesole said. “It’s going to be exciting to get to the ballpark and I think the weather will hold out.”
The four-game series is scheduled to continue at 6:05 p.m. Monday, with the Bulldogs wearing special replica uniforms from the 1920s-era Fresno Athletic Club while recognizing baseball and football legend Satoshi “Fibber” Hirayama. Plan B, in the event of a rainout, is to move the game to the same time on Tuesday.
In Sunday’s first game, Fresno State’s bats stayed hot from its 9-1 Opening Day win to score seven unanswered runs. The Ducks committed six errors, a modern-era school record.
Slade Heggen’s three-run homer in the third inning gave Oregon a 3-1 lead. Scott Silva got the comeback rolling with an RBI single in the third, and Austin Guibor followed with a two-run, go-ahead single.
In the seventh, Silva and Guibor got the offense going again. Silva ignited a four-run inning with an RBI double down the right-field line and Guibor, Aaron Arruda and Jesse Medrano followed with one-run singles. The foursome finished with at least two hits apiece in Game 1 and combined to drive in 12 of the Bulldogs’ 17 runs in their first two games.
Rickey Ramirez earned the win for Fresno State in Game 1, giving up three earned runs on four hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked three.
Senior right-hander and Fresno City College transfer Dominic Topoozian (Buchanan High) shined in his Bulldogs’ debut, striking out three batters in two scoreless innings in relief. It was Topoozian’s first live-game action in more than a year after having Tommy John surgery in October 2015.
“It’s the first time he’s toed the rubber since the Tommy John surgery and that was really, really special to watch him go out there and have some success,” Batesole said. “He’s come a long way. A lot of guys would’ve hung up the glove, but he loves to compete.”
The Bulldogs (2-1) took a stumble in Game 2. Arruda’s double gave Fresno State a 1-0 lead in the first, but the offense went dry while the pitching staff allowed a program-record 18 walks to help the Ducks score 13 unanswered runs the rest of the way.
Oregon (1-2) loaded the bases in five different innings and worked through six Bulldogs pitchers, the last of which was right fielder Guibor, who entered with one out in the top of the ninth. Guibor got the job done, ending the game with a pop out and ground out.
Kenyon Yovan and Daniel Patzlaff each had three RBIs to lead the Ducks. Lefty Cole Stringer went seven innings, giving up one earned run on six hits for the win. Bulldogs’ starter Fred Schlichtholz was dealt the loss, allowing three earned runs on four hits in four innings.
FRESNO STATE VS. OREGON
- Schedule: 6:05 p.m. Monday at Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium
- Radio: KFIG (940 AM)
- Night to remember: On Monday, the Bulldogs will honor Fresno’s unique role in Japanese-American baseball history by wearing replica jerseys of the 1920s-era Fresno Athletic Club and recognizing Fresno State baseball and football legend Satoshi “Fibber” Hirayama, who turns 87 on Friday. General admission tickets are $5.
- Results: Fresno State beat Oregon 9-1 Saturday night and 8-3 in Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader. Oregon won Game 2, 13-1.