Fresno State

Fresno State rolls into postseason with hot offense and dominant pitching

The Fresno State baseball team hoists the Mountain West Conference baseball regular-season championship trophy Thursday night at UNLV. The Bulldogs on Saturday finished a sweep of the Rebels to charge into the conference tournament Memorial Day weekend in Reno.
The Fresno State baseball team hoists the Mountain West Conference baseball regular-season championship trophy Thursday night at UNLV. The Bulldogs on Saturday finished a sweep of the Rebels to charge into the conference tournament Memorial Day weekend in Reno. Fresno State Athletics

The Fresno State baseball team is chugging into the postseason with the perfect combination: Hot offense, dominant pitchers.

The Bulldogs finished a three-game sweep at UNLV with an 11-4 victory Saturday afternoon after blasting the Rebels 16-5 Friday night.

Fresno State is 35-14-1 overall and finished as the runaway Mountain West regular-season champion with a 20-8-1 record. San Diego State finished second at 16-13 and UNLV (14-15) and Nevada (14-16) complete the four-team field for the conference tournament Memorial Day weekend in Reno.

Fresno State opens against Nevada at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The winner plays at 6:30 Friday, the loser at 2 p.m. Friday.

The winner earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs would prefer not to leave their fate to an at-large selection; the last time Fresno State won the Mountain West regular season (2016) the Bulldogs went 0-for-2 in the conference tournament to end their season at 36-22.

Fresno State has improved its nonconference schedule since then and boasts wins this season at top-50 RPI teams Tennessee and Oregon (two). The Bulldogs were No. 43 in the most recent RPI.

Fresno State right-hander Ryan Jensen will start the first of a three-game series between Bulldogs and San Diego State, who are in first and second place in the Mountain West Conference. Jensen has a fastball that routinely hits the high 90s.

For now, focus on that great 1-2 punch. There’s pitching: top starters Ryan Jensen and Davis Moore are a combined 18-2, the bullpen is anchored by Jaime Arias (11 saves) and the team ERA is under 4.00.

And there’s hitting, averaging 8.7 runs in a streak of nine wins in the last 10 games.

McCarthy Tatum, the senior third baseman from Clovis High, leads the conference in RBIs with 65, capping it off with a three-run homer (his 11th) in the first inning Saturday.

JT Arruda, the sophomore shortstop out of Buchanan High and the Mountain West player of the week, was 6 for 11 with seven runs and five RBIs against UNLV to maintain a season-ending hot streak.

Leadoff hitter Zach Ashford, the senior center fielder out of Buchanan, is second in the MW in batting average at .375.

  Comments