Bulldogs Split Tough Battle with Butler
Feb. 18, 2012
By Jennifer Jones
By Jennifer Jones
FRESNO, Calif. - After dropping the first game against Butler 12-9 in 10 innings, the Fresno State baseball team regrouped around senior Thomas Harlan, who led the Bulldogs to a 6-0 win in the night cap Saturday at Beiden Field.
The lefty finished with a career-high eight strikeouts after walking just one of the 31 batters he faced in his second career complete game.
"It feels good," said Harlan of the win. "[Coach] Rousey called a great game, the defense played well, [Austin] Wynns caught a great game and [Jordan] Brink made some great plays tonight that actually helped a lot."
"As a team, we came out in that first game and opened it up really nice," said senior Patrick Hutcheson.
Butler rallied in the middle innings, picking up nine runs in three innings to take the lead in the top of the sixth.
"We battled, got ahead early and kind of got sucked in the middle a little bit," said Trent Garrison who earned his first start since going out with a season ending injury in game one of 2011.
Junior Justin Haley entered the game in the top of the sixth inning with the Bulldogs up 8-6. He would strike out Mike Hoscheit to end the inning, but not before Butler took the lead 9-8.
Fresno State answered in the bottom of the inning by loading the bases. Despite turning a double play, Butler's defense could not keep the Bulldogs off the board. Both teams were unable to cross the plate until Butler opened the 10th inning with a three-run rally.
With one out in the bottom of the 10th, Hutcheson walked and Butler sent for its closer, sidearm right-hander Chase Byerly. He was the second sidearm pitcher on Butler's roster that the Bulldogs saw that game, replacing lefty Brad Schnitzer.
The change proved too much for the Bulldogs whose next two batters struck out.
`We weren't able to capitalize in the end," said Hutcheson who tied a career-high in walks (3) during the afternoon game.
Haley (0-1) picked up the loss after going 4.2 innings and striking out a game high six batters.
After four pitchers on the mound for Butler, Schnitzer (1-0) earned the win and Byerly the save.
Harlan struck out the side in the top of the fourth to start the momentum for Fresno State and the lineup responded.
Garrison led-off the inning with a walk. Brink singled through the right side and sent Garrison to third. The pair advanced after a low pitch got away from catcher Radley Haddad, scoring Garrison. A single up the middle by junior Justin Charles then scored Brink from second and the Bulldogs took the 2-0 lead before the inning was ended by a double play.
Harlan (1-0) allowed only one hit per inning on average for the remainder of the game. He is the second Bulldog this season to pitch a shutout.
"Tommy threw a good game," said Garrison who went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk in the night game.
Billy Laing (0-1) picked up the loss for Butler (1-2) after going seven innings and giving up five runs on eight hits.
Sophomore Will Anderson will start on the mound in the series finale. This will be his first collegiate start after eight appearances in 2011. The Bulldogs have the game plan set for their last battle with Butler.
"Same game plan, come in, try and attack their pitching staff and play solid defense behind Will," said Hutcheson. "It's just one more game and hopefully we can get out of it with a win tomorrow."
The last game of the series is tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 19 at 1:05 p.m. Fans can purchase season and single-game tickets online or by calling the Bulldog Ticket Office at 559-278-3647.
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