April 28, 2013
SAN DIEGO --- With a chance to move a game back of second place in the Mountain West standings, the Fresno State baseball team came out swinging, but a stingy San Diego State defense fended off the Bulldogs 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
The loss keeps Fresno State (14-27, 9-12 Mountain West) in a tie for fourth with Nevada, who dropped its series finale at Air Force on Sunday.
Meanwhile, San Diego State moved into sole possession of second following conference-leader New Mexico's 14-13 10-inning victory over UNLV, which lowered the Rebels into third.
The Bulldogs will head to Las Vegas next weekend for a three-game set two games back of UNLV in the MW race, but now sit three games of San Diego State for second, which is key because the top two teams in the league play earn first-round byes in the upcoming conference tournament at Beiden Field from May 22-26. All six MW teams have nine games remaining before the tournament, which awards an NCAA automatic bid to its winner.
But for as many challenges as Fresno State has faced this season, Sunday afternoon showed once again that the 'Dogs can play with anyone in the conference and the 'Dogs made the Aztecs' defense beat them.
Bulldogs' starter Tim Borst (1-2) pitched six quality innings in allowing just two earned runs while striking out three and giving up five hits. But an error behind him and a passed ball allowed the two deciding runs to cross home plate and hand the freshman right-hander his second loss of the season.
Fresno State junior center fielder Aaron Judge went 3-for-4 with a RBI single and the Bulldogs' bullpen delivered two scoreless innings, including a solid appearance by freshman lefty Connor Chase, who retired SDSU's speedy outfielder Greg Allen to end the seventh.
San Diego State (22-21, 12-9 MW) jumped on Borst with a run in the second and two in the fourth for a 3-0 advantage after the first four innings.
Fresno State cut the deficit to 3-1 in the fifth when Bulldogs' freshman third baseman Kevin Viers drilled his first career triple into the right center field gap and came around to score on Trent Garrison's sacrifice fly.
In the sixth, Judge connected for his RBI single to plate Alvarez and bring the Bulldogs back within a run before Viers' throwing error in the bottom of the inning gave SDSU an insurance run for the final frames.
Fresno State stranded two runners in both the seventh and eighth behind the power of the Aztecs' stifling defense that made two inning-ending snags to thwart the Bulldogs' comeback bid.
SDSU's Philip Walby (2-3) earned the win in going 6.1 innings while scattering seven hits, striking four and allowing both of the Fresno State runs. Aztecs' closer Bubba Derby finished off the 'Dogs in the ninth by retiring the final two batters for his ninth save this year.
Fresno State returns home for a single midweek game on Tuesday night versus CSU Bakersfield before taking its final MW road trip of the year in traveling to play at UNLV next weekend.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" --- The flagship radio station of Fresno State baseball is ESPN Radio (940 AM & 790 AM ESPN The Deuce). Follow @FSAthletics on Twitter for live in-game updates of all games during the season.
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