Fresno State could tell early on that help was on the way.
Starting pitcher Jimmy Lambert looked like he made key adjustments with his control of the strike zone during the week. Perhaps moreso, the Bulldogs noticed the wind howling during pregame batting practice.
Both factors paid big dividends Friday as Lambert worked a no-hitter for 4 2/3 innings and Fresno State supplied three home runs en route a 10-5 victory against UNLV in a Mountain West series opener at Beiden Field.
The Bulldogs (4-6, 1-3) snapped a five-game losing streak, and Lambert (1-0, 4.50 ERA) logged his first win.
“That’s what we needed,” Bulldogs coach Mike Batesole said. “We needed Jimmy to come out and pound the zone. We needed this to be different from last weekend, and he’s put us in a position to have it be different.”
Lambert’s final line actually was his worst through his three starts in terms of hits and runs. He allowed five runs on seven hits in 7 1/3 innings as Batesole tried to ride the sophomore’s arm a little longer than usual because of the Bulldogs’ big lead, as well as save his bullpen for the rest of the series.
But from a command standpoint, Lambert was at his best Friday as he allowed just one walk after issuing seven last week.
“That was definitely the plan for all of us: limit the walks,” Lambert said. “It’s been a problem for me. It’s been a problem for a few guys. Getting back to that felt good.”
Lambert threw a perfect first inning then kept the stellar showing going early on while the Bulldogs bats supplied their designated ace with four runs in the first and built a 6-0 lead after two. Lambert’s no-hit bid ended on a double by Nick Rodriguez in the fifth.
Austin Guibor immediately sparked Fresno State’s offense with a lead-off home run off a 0-1 count. Then after UNLV walked two, Manny Argomaniz roped a three-run homer over the left-field wall that made it 4-0 in the first.
Taylor Ward supplied the final home run of the night, a solo shot over the left-field wall to lead off the fifth, and extend Fresno State’s lead to 7-0.
“Momentum is definitely a killer in this game,” said Guibor, who finished 3 for 3 with three runs and an RBI. “It was nice to come out hot, especially after a couple losses. It was nice to put up some runs and put a little insurance to start the game.
“We saw in BP the wind has been blowing out. We try not to let that affect our swings or our plans. We just try to stay through the ball and rip it hard.”