May 19, 2012
By Curtis Webb
By Curtis Webb
FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State baseball team recorded its fourth shutout of the season behind a stellar pitching performance in a 4-0 defeat of Louisiana Tech, Saturday evening at Beiden Field.
Senior Gene Escat got the win in relief, tossing four scoreless innings while allowing only two hits. Senior Taylor Garrison came in with runners on second and third in the top of the ninth to record two strikeouts and capture his 10th save of the season.
"Gene has really given his heart and soul to this team for the last five years," said head coach Mike Batesole. "And Taylor did a great job to finish off the game."
The Bulldogs improve to 25-24 on the season and 8-9 in the Western Athletic Conference.
Fresno State entered the game having already clinched a spot in the WAC tournament, which starts Wednesday, and set up its rotation to keep the pitching staff fresh. Junior righthander Justin Haley got the start and pitched two innings in dominating fashion by striking out six. Senior southpaw Thomas Harlan hurled the next 2 1/3 innings without allowing a run before giving way to Escat.
"We wanted to give some of our guys an opportunity to stay sharp, but stay fresh as well," Batesole said. "Finishing these games are important, but secondary to our objective of getting to a regional; that's why we set up our staff today the way we did."
Sophomore third baseman Jake Alvarez broke a scoreless tie in the fifth, singling home junior catcher Austin Wynns with two outs. For the second straight night, the Bulldogs used productive outs to pave the way for scoring opportunities as Chris Mariscal advanced Wynns to second with a sacrifice bunt.
"Give credit to Chris for setting up the whole play," Batesole said. "It was a win-win play; he laid down a drag and put some pressure on their third baseman to make a play."
Fresno State increased its lead in the sixth on consecutive hits from first baseman Trent Garrison and senior Kennth Wise. The `Dogs added some insurance in the seventh on senior second baseman Pat Hutcheson's groundout which scored freshman outfielder Jordan Luplow.
"We got to keep this in gear," Batesole said. "We can't take our foot off the pedal for one second."
"It's an important game for us," Hutcheson said. "We definitely need to keep our momentum and play as a team like we've been doing."
Fresno State will look for the sweep on Sunday when the Bulldogs honor their seniors before the game at 12:50 p.m. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. at Beiden Field.
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