Fresno State missed its shot at a seventh-inning KO and eventually an opportunity at a Mountain West sweep, as San Jose State walked off with a 3-2 victory in 10 innings Saturday afternoon at Municipal Stadium.
The Bulldogs (16-8, 6-3), after pounding the Spartans for 30 hits and 22 runs in the series’ first two games, managed just a lone though tying run out of a bases-loaded, none-out situation before going mostly quietly over the final three innings while seeing a five-game winning streak snapped.
Fresno State, with a win, also would have tied New Mexico atop the conference standings. The Lobos (15-8, 7-2) dropped the finale of their three-game set at San Diego State 11-6.
San Jose State (7-15, 3-8) picked on Dylan Lee, the Bulldogs’ fourth pitcher of the day, as he worked into his third inning. Josh Nashed led off the bottom of the 10th with a single on an 0-2 pitch and was bunted to second. Lee walked the next man intentionally to set up a double play, but followed that by walking No. 8 hitter Corey Olivet.
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Pinch-hitter Aaron Pleschner, a freshman, won it with a looping a single that just eluded a diving Brody Russell in center field.
Fresno State was left to think what might have been in the seventh. Russell, whose 2-for-3 day capped a huge series for the senior, drew a leadoff walk and back-to-back singles by Aaron Arruda and Austin Guibor loaded the bases.
Jesse Medrano’s sharp single to center got Russell home, but Korby Batesole’s lineout to left was too shallow to drive in another, and Scott Silva and Joe Prior bounced into consecutive forceouts.
Russell was 9 for 14 with eight RBIs and six runs in the series, raising his average to .372 after entering his final season with a career .233 mark.
Rematch awaits – Fresno State hosts Long Beach State at 6:05 p.m. Tuesday, the second time the clubs have met this season. The Bulldogs’ 4-3 loss March 7 was the second of four straight one-run defeats in what turned out to be a seven-game losing streak after they had opened the season 11-0.
The Dirtbags (16-7), who began the week ranked No. 20 nationally by Baseball America, took 2 of 3 over the weekend at Cal State Fullerton – their first series win there since the 2007 season.
Close, but no … – One-run games have been an issue for the Bulldogs, who with Saturday’s loss to the Spartans are now 6-6 in such affairs.
Air Force flies in for three – The Bulldogs get back to work in the conference when they host Air Force (12-5, 4-1) for what is dubbed Heroes Weekend beginning at 6:05 p.m. Friday. The teams also play at 6:05 p.m. Saturday before wrapping up the series at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. There is free admission for all active military and veterans.