Bulldogs Win Fifth Straight Game Wednesday
March 8, 2006
Fresno, Calif. - Fresno State took full advantage of a tough night for the San Francisco defense, scoring three unearned runs on five Don errors as the Bulldogs pulled away for a 5-2 win. Sophomore Brian Lapin was 2-4 with a double and two runs scored, and Kent Sakamoto also contributed two hits as the Bulldogs grabbed their fifth consecutive win.
Reminiscent of the first time these two teams played this season, the Dons had their biggest rally in the first inning off of the same pitcher, Doug Fister. San Francisco leadoff hitter Joey Railey started the game with a soft grounder to third that Adam O'Daniel misplayed, and the Dons used it well, as Railey stole second and then scored when Scott Cousins hit a double to the wall in right center. Fister escaped the inning with two further ground balls that were converted.
Fresno State grabbed its own lead in the second inning. The Bulldogs started conventionally, as Christian Vitters and Brian both hit singles to start the inning, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Catcher Frank LoNigro slapped a chopper over shortstop Tavo Hall's head to score Vitters, and leave runners on first and second. A strikeout and a sacrifice later, the `Dogs had both runners in scoring position with two outs, and San Francisco starter was ready to leave with a tie intact, but a grounder to short was mishandled, allowing Lapin to score, but LoNigro was gunned down at the plate to end the inning.
After a single in the fourth was wasted after Adam O'Daniel made a great stop to get the Bulldogs out of the inning, and Fister worked his way through the fifth inning after allowing two runners to hold the slim lead. San Francisco would finally climb back into the game with a rally in the sixth, adding another run to tie the game at 2.
Fresno State fought back to give Fister a well-deserved win in the bottom half of the inning, with a little help from the Dons on the way. Kent Sakamoto earned his own way on base, slamming a double against the wall down the right field line to begin the inning with a double, and moved to third on a ground out from Beau Mills. Christian Vitters then hit into a fielder's choice, but Hall made his second error, throwing the attempt to retire Sakamoto to the backstop, allowing Vitters to move to second. A double to the gap from Lapin allowed Vitters to come around, and a wild pitch advanced Lapin to third. A suicide squeeze went wrong as a high pitch was just missed by LoNigro, and Lapin was caught in a rundown between third and home. First baseman Mitchell Bialosky dropped the ball while attempting to make the tag on Lapin, and the Bulldogs scored their second run on a misplay at home in the inning to move ahead 5-2.
That was all the help that Fresno State needed. With a short weekend ahead of them, the Bulldogs used starter Eddie Romero, closer Jason Breckley, and starter Andy Underwood to each take care of an inning, keeping the Dons scoreless for the rest of the game. Underwood got the save, his first while at Fresno State.
The Bulldogs have Friday and Saturday off before hosting Bucknell on Sunday, March 12 at 1:05 p.m. That will serve as a sort of opener to the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic, which starts at 10 a.m. March 13 with a matchup between Lafayette and Binghamton. The seven-team tournament will give each team six games, and will last until March 18, with Fresno State playing in the final game every day next week.