The Fresno State Bulldogs won a baseball game on the road on Wednesday —and that, along with the way they put away an 8-0 victory over Sacramento State at Raley Field, was out of the ordinary for a team that went in with three victories in 19 games away from home all year.
The Bulldogs got to the eighth nursing a one-run lead, with freshman left-hander Ricky Thomas going five strong innings followed by Tim Borst and Anthony Arias. There were two quick Fresno State outs in the inning, which was more of the same. But then Taylor Tempel drilled a single off third baseman Dan Deely and the next thing you know, the Bulldogs had five more runs on the scoreboard.
The Hornets’ Chad Perry walked Austin Guibor and Taylor Ward to load the bases, and Kevin Viers cleared them with a triple into the gap in right center, his first this season.
“I just noticed he was up a lot so it was just smart to get down and through on it and get at least one run across and it just happened to be a triple,” Viers said.
“When you’re on deck you have to get your work done and just watch what he’s throwing and see what counts he throws off-speeds or what not, and I just knew he was throwing a lot of fastballs so I was sitting dead red. We got the fastball we were looking for.”
After a walk to Manny Argomaniz, Kenny Corey connected for a two-run single. The five-run inning matched the Bulldogs’ largest on the road and exceeded their production in 11 of their first 19 road games this season. They had a five-run third inning in a 14-7 victory at USC on March 17.
The Bulldogs, ending a stretch where they have played 12 of their past 15 games away from home, scored two more runs in the ninth, again after there were two outs in the inning and against a pitching staff that was ranked 10th in Division I in WHIP (walks and hits allowed per inning). Guibor hit a triple to right-center to score Tempel and Ward singled to score Guibor.
Until the eighth, the only run Fresno State (20-21) had scored had come after Corey led off the fifth getting plunked with a 2-2 pitch, advanced on a passed ball, moved up another base on a bunt single by Ryan Dobson and scored on a double play.
Thomas pitched right through that, striking out a career-high seven while allowing only four hits and one walk in his five innings.
“Good road win,” coach Mike Batesole said. “Thomas was fantastic. We were hoping to get him to somewhere between 70 and 80 pitches, and we ended up right exactly there. When it was 1-0 there, you wanted him to go out and finish the fifth so he had a chance if we could finish it he could get the win, so that worked out perfect.
“Borst came in, that was a big clutch inning, too, and of course Kevin getting that hit there with the bases loaded, that blew it open.”