No. 3 Fresno State takes back-and-forth contest from No. 6 UNLV at MW Baseball Championship
RENO, Nev. – In a game that saw two ties and three lead changes, the No. 3 Fresno State Bulldogs topped the No. 6 UNLV Rebels 6-5 in Game 2 of the 2015 Mountain West Baseball Championship at Peccole Park in Reno, Nevada.
“That’s what you get in this league, two teams fighting it out,” said Mike Batesole, head coach for the Bulldogs. “We’ve played them seven times this year and it seems like every one was a barn burner.”
Fresno State catcher Taylor Ward brought home four runs for the Bulldogs on the afternoon, going 3-for-4. Ryan Dobson and Taylor Tempel also had two hits each with Tempel scoring two runs and driving in one, while Dobson scored one. Bulldog starter Jimmy Lambert pitched seven innings, allowing just one run with three strikeouts.
“When you put the bat on the ball, good things happen,” Ward said. “Our offense kept rolling.”
After four and a half scoreless innings, Fresno State broke the silence with a two-RBI double from Ward in the bottom of the fifth. He brought home Tempel, who singled to get on, and Korby Batesole, who was hit by a pitch, to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead.
UNLV struck back in the top of the sixth, putting runners on the corners with one out. Nick Rodriguez, the freshman shortstop, scored from third on Fresno’s second error of the game and brought the Rebels within one 2-1.
In the bottom of the seventh, Dobson singled up the middle to reach base, followed by Tempel getting to first on an error. Austin Guibor advanced the runners with his bunt down the first base line, which set up another two-RBI hit for Ward. Fresno State picked up some security runs, extending their lead to three 4-1.
UNLV threatened again in the top of the eighth with runners on first and second with one out. Joey Armstrong stepped up to bat and singled, bringing home Rodriguez for his second run of the game. Joey Swanner picked up an RBI single of his own, which forced a pitching change from the Bulldogs. The senior closer Garrett Mundell took Tim Borst’s place on the bump for Fresno State. Erik VanMeetren then singled right up the middle, which brought Armstrong home from third and tied the game up at four with one out. A called balk let Swanner cross the plate and gave UNLV a 5-4 lead. A pop up and ground out ended the inning.
Fresno State tied it up again in the bottom of the eighth thanks to an RBI single from Pinch hitter Torin Goldstein. Tempel singled to left field, and Jesse Medrano, the pinch runner for Goldstein, rounded third and headed home. The ball was relayed to VanMeetren behind the plate, but he missed the tag and Medrano was called safe. Fresno State took a 6-5 lead headed into the final frame, which proved to be enough to give them the win.
The Bulldogs advance to face No. 2 seed San Diego State at 3 p.m. PT on Thursday, May 21, while the Rebels will face the loser of the Air Force-New Mexico game at 11 a.m. PT.
Follow all the action from the 2015 Mountain West Baseball Championship on TheMW.com.