March 21, 2012
By Jennifer Jones
By Jennifer Jones
FRESNO, Calif. - The Bulldogs battled back from an early deficit to defeat Kent State 5-2 Wednesday evening on Pete Beiden Field. A four-run fourth inning helped lift Fresno State (12-9) to its fifth straight win. It was head coach Mike Batesole's 1,000th career game coached.
Batesole is now just four wins away from earning his 600th career W.
"We pitched very well," said Batesole. "Made some big pitches again and played clutch when we had to. That's what kept us close. It felt like a Friday night game."
Senior Cody Kendall earned his second win of the season. Collectively, the bullpen gave up just two earned runs and walked only two of the 39 batters faced, striking out eight.
"I think we've been playing our best," said Kendall. "Pitching has been doing good, defense is doing good and the hitters and doing good."
Bulldog's starter Garrett Mundell came out in the first inning after throw just three pitches and recording one out.
"I think he might have a pulled muscle somewhere in his 6-foot 7-inch back," said Batesole. "I'm not sure. We'll have someone evaluate him more thoroughly tomorrow."
Freshman Christian Belleque took over on the mound with one out and kept the Golden Flashes off the board for three innings before running into trouble in the fourth when Jimmy Rider doubled to lead off.
David Lyon then advanced Rider to third on a single through the right side and moved to second on the throw home. The next batter flew out to center and Rider came home to score the game's first run.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Belleque entered a battle with Joe Koch. The left fielder fouled off three pitches on a 2-2 count before taking ball three. Belleque got him swinging for the third out to get out of the jam.
"That was a situation he hasn't been in before," Batesole said of Belleque's performance on the mound. "That's the one thing we have done a lot with these freshmen is put them in situations they haven't been in before and see how they're going to react. He answered the bell right away in his first big shot."
Belleque went 3.2 innings before Kendall took over, giving up the lone run and striking out two.
Kent State held onto their 1-0 lead until the fifth inning. Senior Patrick Hutcheson advanced to first on a dropped third strike and freshman Chris Mariscal swung at the first pitch and singled to center. Freshman Jordan Luplow laid a sacrifice bunt down the third base line to advance the runners into scoring position and bring Judge up to the plate.
The 6-7 outfielder had already singled in the game and worked Mace into a full count. He earned his 14th walk of the year to load the bases with only one out. The next batter struck out looking and Wynns stepped up to the plate. On an 0-1 count, Wynns pulled his second double of the series to the left field wall, clearing the bases. Judge slid into Lyon at home to beat the tag and Wynns advanced to third on the throw.
"I give Judge credit for scoring all the way from first base," said Batesole. "That was pretty good flying around there right in front of our dugout. A lot of guys won't be able to make that, but he can really run for a big guy."
That spelled the end for Mase who went 5.2 innings, giving up four runs on six hits. Reliever John Birbeck balked on a 1-2 count to the next batter that scored Wynns and gave the 'Dogs the 4-1 lead.
The rally gave Kendall some added confidence. He struck out two in the top of the seventh as the 'Dogs went three up, three down. He would finish with four strikeouts after giving up just two hits and no runs in 3.2 innings.
Senior Taylor Garrison came in to close the game in the top of the eighth with two out and struck out of a jam.
With one out in the eighth, Judge single to right, stole second and scored when senior Kenneth Wise singled on a 3-2 pitch.
Garrison picked up his second strikeout and forced two flyouts in the ninth to end the game.
Mace picked up the loss for Kent State, now 8-10.
The Bulldogs have three more games this week. They face off against UC Riverside March 23-25 in a three-game series. First pitch Friday night is at 6:05 p.m.
Bear Pascoe and David Carr of the National Champion New York Giants will be in attendance Saturday night. Select lucky fans will be able to take pictures with the former Bulldogs.
Fans can purchase 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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