By Stephen Trembley
By Stephen Trembley
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. --- Down to its final three outs and trailing by two, the resilience of the Fresno State baseball team powered the Bulldogs to a thrilling 5-3 comeback road victory over the Cal Poly Mustangs on Tuesday night for head coach Mike Batesole's 600th career win.
With Fresno State behind 3-1 entering the final frame, senior Patrick Hutcheson led off the ninth-inning rally by doubling to the center field fence to chase CP reliever Reed Reilly.
The Mustangs then opted for their usually reliable closer Chase Johnson, who was able to get one out before Aaron Judge ripped an RBI single through the hole between third and short to plate Hutcheson and cut the deficit to 3-2.
Bulldogs' senior Kenny Wise used his patience to draw a five-pitch walk and Johnson loaded the bases when he pegged Fresno State catcher Austin Wynns and set the stage for first baseman Trent Garrison to deliver the at-bat of the game.
Even with Cal Poly going to its third reliever of the inning in trotting Nick Grim to the hill, Garrison fouled off the first pitch and took a hard cut at the second pitch to fall into the pitcher's favorite count.
Yet, the left-handed batting Garrison, a redshirt junior, remained locked in and pulled a solid RBI chopper to the right side on the 0-2 offering from Grim. Garrison hustled to first base and forced reserve second baseman Evan Busby to make an errant throw that allowed the Bulldogs to take the lead for good at 4-3.
Fresno State added an insurance run when freshman Jordan Brink connected for an infield single and drove in Wynns.
Up 5-3, Batesole turned the game over to senior Taylor Garrison, who posted his eighth save of the season by tossing a scoreless bottom of the ninth to close out Cal Poly.
The Mustangs dropped to 21-14 and coughed up one or more in the ninth inning for just the third time this season.
Judge went 2-for-3 at the plate with two walks and upped his season batting average to .318. He now has at least one hit in nine of his past 11 games.
The Bulldogs (16-19) return home to Beiden Field on Saturday at 6 p.m. to face the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners in the second of three-straight non-conference contests for Fresno State.
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