April 13, 2006
Fresno, Calif. - Louisiana Tech needed two comebacks on Thursday night, and got them both as the Bulldogs fell in the first game of the series 5-4. Fresno State held leads in the ninth and twelfth innings after a superb start from Doug Fister, but Louisiana Tech tied the game at three in the ninth and got the win as Matt Lacy hit a one-out double in the bottom of the twelfth with the bases loaded.
A matchup between two of the top pitchers in the WAC lived up to its billing, as Doug Fister matched up with Louisiana Tech's Luke Burnett in the first game of the series. Louisiana Tech got on the board first, as freshman Jericho Jones took Doug Fister deep to center field to get a 1-0 lead. Fister struck out the remainder of the side to keep the lead at 1-0 at the end of the first.
Fresno State pulled even with Louisiana Tech in the next inning, as Beau Mills hit a single to center-field to lead off the inning, one of two hits given up by Burnett in the game. A walk to Christian Vitters put two runners on for the Bulldogs, and after moving over on a deep fly from Nick Moresi, Mills scored on a sharp chopper to second by Brian Lapin.
A Bulldog lead materialized in the third inning without a hit, as Fresno State took advantage of some wildness from Burnett. Erik Wetzel drew a leadoff walk, and another walk to Loren Storey put the two Bulldogs on base with no hits. With Kent Sakamoto at-bat, a Burnett offering slipped past Louisiana Tech catcher Mims Boyce and bounced wide past the La Tech dugout. Weztel moved to third on the play, and was awarded home after crashing into Ryan Hamilton at third base on interference to take the lead.
Boyce recovered from that play by leading off the fourth with a single, and Louisiana Tech tied the score with a Brandon Hudson double, but following that point, both starters settled down and cruised for the remainder of their time in the game. Fister finished with 7.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out nine with no walks.
Burnett's time in the game ended in the eighth inning, as Steve Susdorf broke the tie with a leadoff homerun to right field, giving the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead. That lead brough in Andrew Alsup, the Louisiana Tech bullpen specialist, who shut down the Bulldogs for the rest of the inning and through the ninth.
Pushed down to their last three outs with Fresno State reliever Brandon Burke on the hill, the Bulldog right-hander set down the first batter of the inning on strikes. Louisiana Tech second baseman Amos Ramon doubled in the next at bat to give them a chance however, and an error by Kent Sakamoto on a ground ball allowed Ramon to score, tying the game at 3 through regulation.
Alsup and Burke both eased through the tenth and eleventh innings, setting the stage for a dramatic finish. Erik Wetzel led off the top of the inning with a flare to right field that bounced away from outfielder Jericho Jones, giving the team runner with no outs. Wetzel advanced to third on a perfect sacrifice bunt from Steve Susdorf, and Loren Storey pushed a single through the drawn in infield to give the Bulldogs the lead 4-3. Kent Sakamoto drew a walk to continue the inning, but an attempted bunt from Gavin Hedstrom was popped to the pitcher, and the inning ended as Vitters flew out to left field.
Hope remained for Louisiana Tech, as Mims Boyce reached base with a bunt single to lead off the inning, and a lack of coverage at first base led to another runner after pitcher Brandon Burke grabbed the ball but had no one to throw to. Burke struck out Jericho Jones to grab the first out, but a full-count walk to Ben Tabor loaded the bases, and Matt Lacy came through with his second hit of the game, a double off the wall in left field to end the game as Boyce and Cobb both came home.
The series between Fresno State and Louisiana Tech continues tomorrow, as left-hander Eddie Romero takes the hill for the Bulldogs. First pitch at J.C. Love Field is scheduled for 4 p.m. Pacific.
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