April 26, 2014
By: Matt Burkholder
FRESNO, Calif. - A doubleheader whose games nearly mirrored one another on Saturday resulted in a two-game sweep for Fresno State at Beiden Field. The Bulldogs defeated Air Force 8-1 in game one in two hours, nineteen minutes, and went on to win game two 6-1 in two hours, eighteen minutes. With the two victories, Fresno State has won four-straight and improve its record to 23-21 and 10-13 in Mountain West action.
The Fresno State pitching staff surrendered just nine hits over the 18 innings played Saturday, anchored by starters Tim Borst and Jordan Brink. In return, the offense delivered 12 hits in game one and 13 in game two.
Jordan Luplow went 6-for-8 on the day with three RBIs, two runs scored and walked twice, leading the offense from the dish.
Borst paved the way for game one. The sophomore right-hander limited the Falcons to three hits and one run over 7.1 innings of work. Dillon Houser finished the job over the next 1.2 innings, allowing one hit, to wrap a masterpiece on the mound by the 'Dogs.
"I was just trying to stay in the strike zone, just attacking hitters and let my defense work," said Borst. "There were a lot of balls run down in the outfield for me and I got the offensive support, which was huge."
The Bulldogs scored three runs in the first inning to kickoff the doubleheader, all against two outs. Luplow delivered a two-out double, Taylor Ward then got on base due to an error and Chris Mariscal followed that with an RBI single up the middle to score Luplow from second. On the next at-bat, Kevin Viers connected for his second triple of the season to plate Ward and Mariscal and put the Bulldogs on top 3-0 early for Borst.
Fresno State doubled-up the score in the fifth, scoring three runs off of three hits and the Falcons' second error of the game to take a 6-0 lead.
Noah Pierce drove in the Falcons only run of the game in the next frame in the top of the sixth. With runners on second and third, it easily could have been two if not for Austin Guibor's on-point two hop throw home. Ward blocked the plate and the runner attempting to score from second was out at home, ending the inning to limit Air Force to one run.
Fresno State scored two more in the eighth to give the Bulldogs an 8-1 lead.
Eight different Bulldogs recorded a hit in game one, Luplow led the team with three. Viers and Mariscal each had a pair of RBIs in the game.
Air Force was first to score in the second inning of game two, and then the Bulldogs scored six unanswered runs over the remainder of the game to seal the deal.
Brink worked seven complete innings, surrendered one run and four hits. He struck out seven while walking three. Similarly to the game one of the doubleheader, Fresno State used one reliever, this time it was Casey Rodriguez, which worked the final two frames. He allowed only one hit while keeping Air Force off the scoreboard.
"That was the best stuff I've seen Brink have all year," said head coach Mike Batesole. "It was a nice answer back. He didn't throw well at their place and to answer back right there was good, good for him."
Fresno State scored in two's in the second, sixth and eight innings.
Brody Russell registered his second home run of the season in the sixth to increase the lead to 3-1. Luplow later connected for a two-out RBI single to score the second run in the inning.
Air Force entered Saturday's doubleheader having won six-straight and nine of their last 10.
"They've been hotter than heck," said Batesole. We knew we were going to have our hands full and those two guys can pitch. (Cameron) White has beat us twice in the last two years and (Griffin) Jax was a 12th round draft pick last year out of high school. That's two pretty good arms we beat."
Fresno State is now 8-0 against Air Force at Beiden Field since joining the Mountain West.
With the series win wrapped up, the Bulldogs will look for the sweep on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Salute to Services weekend continues for game three, which admits all veterans an active military into Beiden Field for free.
"Catch the Wave" - 2014 Fresno State baseball season tickets are now on sale and can be ordered online at gobulldogs.com or over the phone at 559-278-DOGS (3647). The official home of the Fresno State Bulldogs is 940 AM ESPN Radio.
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