March 2, 2012
By Jennifer Jones
By Jennifer Jones
FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State's bats came alive Friday night at Beiden Field as the Bulldogs (5-5) upset No. 1 Stanford 7-4. The 'Dogs handed the top ranked Cardinal their first loss of the season after grabbing seven runs on eight hits. Sophomore Aaron Judge went 2-for-2 with back-to-back home runs with three RBI and two walks in the win.
Junior Justin Haley (1-1) earned his first win of the season in the battle. The righty had a stellar performance giving up no runs, no hits and no walks after striking out three in his 3.1 innings pitched.
"One thing that's been lacking is to believe, and the only way to do that is to win," said head coach Mike Batesole. "You can't move the cart before the horse."
The Bulldogs were efficient from the bullpen to the plate. Sophomore Tyler Linehan made a statement early by striking out Brian Ragira swinging and Kenny Diekroeger looking in the first inning and two more Cardinal in the second.
Junior Trent Garrison walked to lead off the second inning for the 'Dogs and Judge swung away on the first pitch, sending it sailing clean over the left center fence to give Fresno State the 2-0 lead.
"I was just trying to get on," said Judge. "Trent got on ahead of me and I was just trying to see a fastball and hit it anywhere."
Stanford's righty Mark Appel got out of the inning after picking up his third strikeout of the game. The Cardinal began their attack at the plate after Austin Wilson led off the third inning with a single. With two outs, the Cardinal capitalized on an error by the Bulldogs' infield. Cleanup hitter Ragira doubled to right center, scoring two and tying the score at 2-2.
It appeared the night would turn into a pitching duel as both teams went three up, three down in their next at bats. Appel had forced five straight outs when Judge came back up to the plate. After taking the first pitch for a strike, he sent the next to left center and nearly over the scoreboard for his second home run of the game.
"He came with a slider the first pitch," started Judge. "And actually, I was talking to [Thomas Harlan] and he told me that if he tries to get that curveball over and it doesn't work, he's probably going to try and sneak a fastball past you and that's what I was just looking for and got it."
The solo shot set a career mark for Judge and gave the 'Dogs the 3-2 lead heading into the fifth inning.
"Sometimes you give guys a little different look and it changes their approach and their mental outlook a little bit," said Batesole of Judge's move from third in the lineup to fifth. "I think that's exactly what happened with Judge."
For a second time in the night, top ranked Stanford rallied and put runners in scoring position. A mishandled ball in the outfield allowed two runners to score, giving Stanford the 4-3 lead in the fifth.
But with two outs in the top of the sixth inning and runners in scoring position, Haley came onto the mound for Linehan and got the 'Dogs out of jam.
"That's as good as he's thrown this year for sure," said Batesole of Haley's performance. "He had a good fastball today with a little late jump to it. And when you mix that in with a firm cutter right after Linehan was just throwing in and him going the other way on them, it's tough to hit."
Fresno State opened the game up in the bottom of the sixth. Senior Patrick Hutcheson singled to right field with one out on the board. Garrison followed him with a single up the middle to bring Judge up to the plate. The Cardinal bench did not want to take any chances. After a meeting at the mound, Judge was walked in five pitches.
After a fielder's choice loaded the bases, junior Austin Wynns went on a 1-2 pitch and drilled Appel in the leg with a hard shot up the middle. With no other options, Appel attempted to get the force play at home. But smart base running and a great slide by Garrison beat the throw to tie the game at 4-all.
"It's two outs so I'm going no matter what," said Garrison. "I'm going hard all the way. I saw the catcher move up on the plate and I just went for the outside slide and and I got in there so it was awesome."
"I'm not sure why the catcher was up on the grass," Batesole said of the play. "I know when the pitcher flipped it to him, it didn't matter if he tagged him or not because he tagged him with his glove and the ball was in his hand."
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning and the bases loaded against the No. 1 team in the country, freshman Chris Marsical came through clutch. Swinging on the first pitch he doubled to right center, clearing the bases and giving the 'Dogs the 7-4 lead.
"Chris is a great player," said Judge. "He has one of the nicest swings I've ever seen."
Mariscal leads the team with seven RBI and is tied for third in hits (9).
Appel struck out the next batter for his 10th K of the night, tying a career-high. He received the loss after pitching a complete game.
"The kid has a really special arm and he's got three special pitches," said Batesole of Appel. "Attacking his fast ball when he's throwing 98 is really tough to do and that's a big league ball. You saw at the end, he started dumping that changeup in there. That was a pretty nasty pitch. He's going to win a lot of games. He may not lose another one the rest of the year."
The series continues tomorrow night (Mar. 2) at 6:05 p.m. Fresno State will be looking for its 50th win against the Cardinal. Fans can 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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