ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- In one of the most bizarre endings to a college baseball game, the Fresno State Bulldogs fell 4-3 to Mountain West-leader New Mexico on a rare ninth-inning walk-off wild pitch on Sunday afternoon at Lobo Field.
Fresno State (8-23, 3-10 Mountain West) had rallied in the top half of the ninth to tie the game at 3-3 and got a gutsy effort from sophomore starting pitcher Jordan Brink, who delivered the longest outing of his career in going eight strong innings and allowing just three runs on seven hits.
But in the bottom of the ninth, UNM's Jared Holley led off the inning against Fresno State reliever Tim Borst by reaching on a fielding error by Bulldogs' shortstop Chris Mariscal and moved to second on Chase Harris' sacrifice bunt a batter later. Sam Haggerty drew a one-out walk, and then things turned really wacky with a Southwestern flair.
A dust storm swarmed across the field as Lobos' slugger and defending co-MW Player of the Year D.J. Peterson stepped to the plate and play had to be stopped for about five minutes. After the field conditions returned to playable conditions, Borst tossed a wild pitch that advanced both Holley and Haggerty into scoring position.
The Bulldogs then elected to try to intentionally walk Peterson with first base open, but Borst sailed a pitch to the backstop on a pitch out attempt and Holley sprinted home for the Lobos' walk-off winning run.
New Mexico (20-16, 11-4 MW) had scored first with a run in the second and Fresno State evened the scored at 1-1 when Brody Russell ripped a RBI single into left field to plate Austin Wynns from second.
Wynns led off the eighth with a triple down the right field line and scored on Taylor Tempel's RBI infield single to give Fresno State a 2-1 advantage late in the game.
In the bottom of the eighth, New Mexico's Haggerty also tripled to the right field corner to lead off the frame and UNM tied the game at 2-2 when Peterson ripped a double sharply down the left field line. The Lobos took a 3-2 lead two batters later when pinch hitter John Pustay reached on a RBI fielder's choice that scored Peterson.
Down to his final strike and Aaron Judge the runner at the first, Wynns came through again by popping up a 2-2 offering into the Albuquerque wind for a two-out RBI single to shallow center field that allowed Judge to score all the way from first to tie the score at 3-3.
But despite the career-best pitching masterpiece by Brink over the first eight innings, the ninth added another wacky chapter to the Bulldogs' season and kept New Mexico in sole possession of first place in the conference standings following its first MW series sweep this year.
Fresno State returns to action at home for the start of a six-game homestand over five days on Wednesday night versus CSU Bakersfield at 6:35 p.m. PT. The Bulldogs will then host Air Force for a five-game series with doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday, and the series finale on Sunday.
FRESNO, Calif. – Fresno State softball concluded the three-game series against Boise State with a 3-1 win for its first Mountain West sweep.
"Boise State is a good team and great at the plate," said head coach Trisha Ford. "It's hard to get a sweep, so I am proud of the team for closing the door. It's our first conference sweep and beating the same team three times in a row is tough to do, but today they showed what we are made of."
The Bulldogs (25-18, 6-3 MW) recorded five hits and stranded 11 Broncos on base in the final game of the series. Freshman Paige Gumz was 3-for-3 with a RBI moving her average to .350 on the season.
Like the first two games of the series, the ‘Dogs took the lead quickly and never trailed. Third baseman Vonnie Martin put the Bulldogs on the board with a two RBI double. Gumz followed with another double to plate Martin and give the ‘Dogs a 3-0 lead.
"We have been working hard in practice and really focused on getting the job done at the plate," Martin said of the Bulldogs' offense. "We put an emphasis on getting runs across, especially since we struggled a little bit in the last series."
Freshman Jill Compton earned her 11th win of the season in the circle. She hurled four innings giving up one run and one walk while striking one out. Compton surrendered only four hits in her second appearance of the series. She is 11-11 on the season and has an ERA of 3.37.
Boise State scored one run on an error in the third inning cutting the ‘Dogs lead 3-1.
Hannah Harris took over in the circle in the fifth inning and earned her second career save. The freshman threw three innings of scoreless relief in her second appearance of the series.
"Hannah showed a lot of guts today," said Ford of Harris' outing. "You want to put them in those situations to get experience and see what they can do. Today she took care of business right away and did a good job."
In the seventh inning, the Broncos threatened by loading the bases with one out. Harris thrived under the pressure striking out one batter and getting the next to ground out to retire the side and give the ‘Dogs the win 3-1.
"I wasn't really nervous at that point when the bases were loaded," said Harris. "There 1-2-3 batters were coming up, but I was confident in my defense and knew we could pull through. I was focused on getting the ground ball and letting my defense do the work behind me. I wasn't looking for a strikeout, but it was great to get that out."
Fresno State hits the road for a three-game series against Colorado State April 19-21.
Courtesy: Fresno St. Athletics