Feb. 17, 2012
By Jennifer Jones
By Jennifer Jones
FRESNO, Calif. - Sophomore pitcher Tyler Linehan struck out a career-high 13 batters to lead Fresno State (1-0) to its first opening day shutout since 2003. The Bulldogs topped Butler 3-0 Friday night at Beiden Field to begin the 2012 season.
"Linny had fantastic stuff today," said head coach Mike Batesole. "That was a pretty special cutter he was dropping."
Linehan went 7.2 innings, walking only two batters, en route to his first win of the season.
"Rousey called a great game," said Linehan of the pitch selection. "He's the one who calls the pitches and everything was working good."
Senior Patrick Hutcheson led off for the Bulldogs and sent the third pitch of the game clean out of the park to open scoring.
"It's definitely a lot of responsibility," said Hutcheson of moving from the nine spot last year to leadoff batter this season. "But it's just one at bat and everyone, we all have our own jobs and we all need to take care of them."
"That definitely set the tone," said Linehan of the home run. "Even though we didn't score the next couple of innings, that right there got the guys pumped in the game."
The Bulldogs maintained a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out on the board, Hutcheson walked and then stole second. Using his speed, he took advantage of an errant throw into the outfield and advanced to third. Freshman Jordan Luplow sent a ball deep to center field to score Hutcheson on a sacrifice fly that gave the Bulldogs the 2-0 lead.
Luplow, who went 2-for-3 with one RBI, is one of three freshmen who earned starting jobs in the opener. He along with Jordan Brink and Chris Mariscal made an impression on the 1,991 fans in attendance.
"They did really well," said Hutcheson of the trio. "They did just what we expected them to do. They came in clutch and got us a couple of RBI in there. They are ball players. When the lights come on, they are ready to go."
Fresno State picked up its third and final run of the night in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Junior Austin Wynns walked and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brink. Mariscal then singled to center field, scoring Wynns from second.
Linehan continued his dominance on the mound into the eighth inning.
After a sacrifice bunt put two runners in scoring position, he struck out Lucas Calderon for the third time to give the 'Dogs two outs. Linehan would leave the game to a standing ovation from the crowd after walking the next batter.
"We wanted him to go about 120 pitches and he was about there," said Batesole of pulling Linehan in the eighth inning.
Right-hander Christian Belleque was given the nod to close the inning with the bases loaded. The redshirt freshman sent Michael Hoscheit back to the dugout on a third strike swinging for the team's 14th strikeout of the night.
Senior Taylor Garrison came in at the top of the ninth to close the game. Garrison struck out the first two batters before giving up a single to left center and walking the next. With the tying run at the plate, he sent one past a swinging Griffin Richeson for the final out of the game.
The Bulldogs pitching staff finished with 17 strikeouts on the night, four shy of the current record (21) set back in May of 1997.
Mike Hernandez went six innings for Butler (0-1) and received the loss after giving up three runs on five hits.
Fresno State continues its series against Butler tomorrow in a double-header with game one beginning at 2:05 p.m. Fans can still purchase season and single-game tickets online or by calling the Bulldog Ticket Office at 559-278-3647.
"We Are Your Team!" Check out the action on game day from AM 940 KYNO, the flagship station for Bulldog baseball. Follow us on Facebook (fresnostateathletics) and Twitter (@FSAthletics).
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