Jimmy Lambert has the glossy record but Ricky Tyler Thomas remains Fresno State’s ace, delivering another reminder why in the opener of a three-game series at UNLV.
Thomas pitched seven-hit, scoreless ball across seven innings as Fresno State beat the Rebels 9-1 on Friday night at Wilson Stadium in Las Vegas. The Bulldogs (34-17, 20-8 Mountain West) kept the pressure on front-running New Mexico, which retained its percentage-points lead by outlasting Nevada 5-4 to begin a three-game series in Albuquerque.
Fresno State is playing its final conference series ahead of the Mountain West Tournament, while New Mexico after three with the Wolf Pack will finish with three at Air Force.
95 Mountain West Conference-leading strikeout total for Fresno State sophomore Ricky Tyler Thomas in 91.1 innings this season
Thomas, a sophomore left-hander, improved to 8-4 compared to Lambert’s 9-0, though Thomas’ ERA fell to 1.97 while Lambert is at 2.30. Thomas also leads the conference in strikeouts with 95.
Jesse Medrano’s bunt drove in a run in the second before the Bulldogs blew it open with five in the fifth. Jake Stone’s triple and Aaron Arruda’s homer each drove in a pair.
Arruda’s home run was his 10th of the season and Stone hit his third, again with a man aboard, to make it 8-0 in the seventh. Arruda added an RBI single in the ninth.
UNLV junior right-hander D.J. Myers entered with a 4.54 ERA and saw it climb, allowing six runs on eight hits in six innings for the Rebels (22-27, 12-13).
Lambert is scheduled to face senior right-hander Kenny Oakley (4-6, 3.95) in Game 2 at 2:05 p.m. Saturday, with the finale at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. The Bulldogs will tune up for the Mountain West Tournament with a three-game nonconference series against San Francisco beginning Thursday.
FRESNO STATE AT UNLV
- Game 2: 2:05 p.m. Saturday at Earl E. Wilson Stadium
- Records: Bulldogs 34-17, 20-8 Mountain West; Rebels 22-27, 12-13
- TV/radio: Mountain West Network (themw.com); KFIG (AM 940)