RENO, Nev. --- The Bulldogs' infielders turned three double plays, but the Fresno State baseball team couldn't take advantage of its 11 hits in losing 5-3 to the Nevada Wolf Pack on Thursday night at Peccole Park in the opener of a three-game Mountain West series.
The contest drew over 30 Major League Baseball scouts that were in Reno primarily to see the battle between Fresno State's Aaron Judge and Nevada's ace pitcher Bradey Shipley as both are widely considered top prospects to play at the next level.
Judge went 3-for-4 against Shipley - ripping singles in first, third and eighth off the heat-throwing right-hander. As a team, Fresno State scattered eight of its 11 hits off of Shipley, who tossed eight innings and allowed just a single run to improve to 4-0 on the season.
Bulldogs' shortstop Chris Mariscal also went 3-for-4 in the game with a RBI double and a total of four Fresno State players posted multi-hit games.
"We had some great at-bats on him," Fresno State head coach Mike Batesole said about the Bulldogs' performance against Shipley. "We smoked some balls right at guys again, but we can't get that big hit at the right time. It's coming. We have to keep fighting and grind through this."
Fresno State (5-17, 1-4 Mountain West) scored its one run on Shipley in the top of the first when Bulldogs' senior catcher Austin Wynns drove in Jordan Brink with a two-out RBI single that gave the 'Dogs an early 1-0 lead.
Nevada (16-10, 4-3 MW) responded with a RBI single of its own in the bottom of the first that tied the game at 1-1, and later added three in the fifth and another in the sixth to go up 5-1. The three in the fifth chased Bulldogs' lefty Tyler Linehan, who fell to 1-5 on the year.
Fresno State relievers William Munro and Garrett Mundell each struck out three batters and combined to throw 3.2 innings of work.
The Bulldogs rallied for two runs in the ninth against Nevada reliever Michael Fain and had the tying run in the batter's box twice in the final frame, but pinch hitter Taylor Ward grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and Brink flew out to end it.
"There's nobody in the country playing harder than us," Batesole said. "The switch is going to turn. These kids are so, so close to being good. We have a lot of season to play in conference and beyond."
The teams will meet for game two of the three-game MW series on Friday night at 6 p.m. PT and finish up on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. PT. Both games will be broadcast on 940 AM ESPN Radio.
FRESNO, Calif. – Fresno State softball opened Mountain West action with a 6-4 win over Nevada on Thursday night at Bulldog Diamond.
"It was really important to set the tone for season and open the conference season with a win," said catcher Paige Gumz. "It is good for our momentum heading into conference play and we can build on this win."
The Bulldogs' (20-14, 1-0 MW) offense unleashed for five runs on five hits in the fifth inning to break the tie and take the lead. Gumz and Michelle Solomon recorded a team best two hits against the Wolf Pack. Gumz also tallied two RBI on the night.
"The fifth inning was a good adjustment for us the second time through the lineup," Gumz said. "We were getting on base, moving the runner over and eventually scoring them. The momentum kept building and we were feeding off each other's energy to keep scoring runs."
Nevada scored first in the second inning taking a 1-0 lead, which lasted until the fourth inning when freshman Paige Gumz drove in the tying run with a single to right field.
The tied ball game lasted only an inning before sophomore Brenna Moss drove in the go ahead run with a single. Senior Diane Runge extended the Bulldogs lead with a two RBI double off the center field fence. Runge's double gave the ‘Dogs the lead 4-1.
Solomon kept the fifth inning alive with an RBI double, which brought Gumz up to the plate. Gumz plated another run with her second hit of the night as Fresno State led 6-1.
Nevada attempted to come back in the seventh inning and scored three runs. The Wolf Pack cut the Bulldogs lead 6-4.
Freshman Jill Compton got out of the top of the seventh inning leaving the tying run on base. She earned her ninth win in the circle. Compton hurled her third complete game of the season. She recorded three strikeouts in the first game of the series and has 69 on the year.
"She did good starting off counts and working through batters that got back in the count," said Gumz of Compton's third complete game. "She made things interesting, but she pulled through for us in the end."
The Bulldogs face Nevada in the second game of the series on Friday, March 29 at 6 p.m. in Bulldog Diamond.
Courtesy: Fresno St. Athletics