'Dogs Pushed to Brink by Pack's 12th-Inning Homer

May 22, 2013

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By Andrew Rich@StephenTrembley

FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State baseball program has been one known for thriving in the pressure of elimination games. And now, this year's version faces the ultimate test in surviving elimination.

Jamison Rowe hit a solo home run to left in the top of the 12th to give Nevada a 4-3 win over the `Dogs Wednesday night at Beiden Field in the teams' opening game of the 2013 Mountain West Championships.

Fresno State (21-32) will now have to win six games in four days to extend its season past this weekend.

Blake Quinn, a freshman from Fresno, got the start in his first-ever postseason game and ran into trouble in the first inning.

Scott Kaplan walked to lead off the game and Brooks Klein singled with one out in front of cleanup hitter Hugo Hernandez. Hernandez lifted the first pitch he saw from Quinn off the scoreboard in left and put the Wolf Pack ahead 3-0.

With Nevada ace Braden Shipley on the mound, that deficit seemed like a tall mountain to climb. But, the `Dogs answered quickly.

With two outs and no one on base, Aaron Judge drew a walk and Jordan Brink followed that with a line drive single to right. Trent Garrison followed that up with a line drive single to the left center gap to score Judge. Rowe, the Wolf Pack centerfielder, kicked the ball around in the outfield and that allowed Brink to score from first and Garrison to advance to second. Then, Chris Mariscal lined a Shipley pitch to left and Garrison beat the throw home to tie the game up.

"We came out and wanted to take his fastball away, we did and made him go to his breaking ball and throw a lot of pitches," Fresno State head coach Mike Batesole said. "That's about as good as you are going to do with him. We had a couple chances more to get him. We had a guy at third twice with less than two outs and didn't get either home. Those were really the biggest at-bats of the game."

The Fresno State pitching staff threw brilliantly after the tough first inning, receiving two good outings out of the bullpen. After Quinn worked two scoreless innings, junior Derick Velazquez entered and worked 4.2 scoreless innings of relief and allowed just four hits. Jordan Brink entered with a runner on and two outs in the top of the eighth inning and got Klein, the No. 3 hitter in the Nevada order, to fly out to right. Brink threw 4.1 innings and struck out six, giving up just Rowe's home run in the 12th.

Beautiful defense by the `Dogs also contributed to the solid outing by the pitching staff and helped keep the Wolf Pack (25-30) off the scoreboard for innings two through 11.

"We played great defense. Alvarez made a couple of great plays and Mariscal made a great play," Batesole said.

The six-win quest to a Mountain West tournament championship will begin tomorrow morning with an 11 a.m. game against Air Force. The 'Dogs won five of six from the Falcons, including a five-game series sweep at Beiden Field back in the middle of April.

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