Walk-Off Win Seals Sweep of No. 18 A&M
March 2, 2014
By: Matt Burkholder
FRESNO, Calif. - Reigning Mountain West player of the week Taylor Ward provided a game-winning RBI double in the bottom of the ninth to give Fresno State a 1-0 win in the Sunday series finale over No. 18 Texas A&M. With the win, the Bulldogs swept the three-game series over the nationally ranked Aggies from the SEC.
"These guys have to feel pretty good about themselves," Fresno State head coach Mike Batesole said. "When you beat a team that is a perennial regional team, and a team likely to be in a super-regional this year, and maybe even make it to Omaha. That is a heck of a team we just beat over there."
In a game that provided minimal offense, Ward was the bat that kept A&M at bay. He went 3-for-4 on the day and 5-for-12 (.417) during the series, leading the `Dogs in batting average, slugging percentage and hits over the weekend.
Not to be forgotten with Ward's heroics, sophomore Tim Borst pitched a phenomenal game for Fresno State. Borst pitched eight shutout innings of baseball and allowed just three hits. Additionally, the right-hander struck out a career-high 11, including saving his best inning for last, retiring all three batters faced in the eighth with swinging strikes.
"Tim had an outstanding changeup today," Batesole said. "His changeup was so good today we pitched off of it. Every time he threw the fastball, it looked like it was five or six miles per hour faster because his changeup was so good. That is key for him because it's his best pitch and when he has it going he can be good."
Jake Shull (1-0) earned the win in one inning of work, less than 24 hours after earning his third save of the season. The right-hander recorded all three outs via the strikeout, boosting the team total to 14 strikeouts for Fresno State on the afternoon.
The game-winning inning started as Jordan Luplow led-off the ninth with a leadoff single, only to be put out at second on a fielder's choice that allowed Trent Woodward to reach first. Kevin Viers struck out in the next at-bat and brought Ward to the plate up against two outs with Woodward on second. Texas A&M opted to make a pitching change, bringing in Jason Jester, the Aggies No. 4 all-time saves leader. Ward swung at the 2-1 offering and connected for the game-winning RBI double to right-center field to bring home Woodward for the win.
Now that the `Dogs homestand is complete, they will travel to Sacramento to face Sac State at Raley Field on Wednesday (6:35 p.m.) before heading to Colorado for a three-game MW conference series at Air Force.
"Catch the Wave" - 2014 Fresno State baseball season tickets are now on sale and can be ordered online at gobulldogs.com or over the phone at 559-278-DOGS (3647). The official home of the Fresno State Bulldogs is 940 AM ESPN Radio.