SAN DIEGO --- With a chance to move a game back of second place in the Mountain West standings, the Fresno State baseball team came out swinging, but a stingy San Diego State defense fended off the Bulldogs 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
The loss keeps Fresno State (14-27, 9-12 Mountain West) in a tie for fourth with Nevada, who dropped its series finale at Air Force on Sunday.
Meanwhile, San Diego State moved into sole possession of second following conference-leader New Mexico's 14-13 10-inning victory over UNLV, which lowered the Rebels into third.
The Bulldogs will head to Las Vegas next weekend for a three-game set two games back of UNLV in the MW race, but now sit three games of San Diego State for second, which is key because the top two teams in the league play earn first-round byes in the upcoming conference tournament at Beiden Field from May 22-26. All six MW teams have nine games remaining before the tournament, which awards an NCAA automatic bid to its winner.
But for as many challenges as Fresno State has faced this season, Sunday afternoon showed once again that the 'Dogs can play with anyone in the conference and the 'Dogs made the Aztecs' defense beat them.
Bulldogs' starter Tim Borst (1-2) pitched six quality innings in allowing just two earned runs while striking out three and giving up five hits. But an error behind him and a passed ball allowed the two deciding runs to cross home plate and hand the freshman right-hander his second loss of the season.
Fresno State junior center fielder Aaron Judge went 3-for-4 with a RBI single and the Bulldogs' bullpen delivered two scoreless innings, including a solid appearance by freshman lefty Connor Chase, who retired SDSU's speedy outfielder Greg Allen to end the seventh.
San Diego State (22-21, 12-9 MW) jumped on Borst with a run in the second and two in the fourth for a 3-0 advantage after the first four innings.
Fresno State cut the deficit to 3-1 in the fifth when Bulldogs' freshman third baseman Kevin Viers drilled his first career triple into the right center field gap and came around to score on Trent Garrison's sacrifice fly.
In the sixth, Judge connected for his RBI single to plate Alvarez and bring the Bulldogs back within a run before Viers' throwing error in the bottom of the inning gave SDSU an insurance run for the final frames.
Fresno State stranded two runners in both the seventh and eighth behind the power of the Aztecs' stifling defense that made two inning-ending snags to thwart the Bulldogs' comeback bid.
SDSU's Philip Walby (2-3) earned the win in going 6.1 innings while scattering seven hits, striking four and allowing both of the Fresno State runs. Aztecs' closer Bubba Derby finished off the 'Dogs in the ninth by retiring the final two batters for his ninth save this year.
Fresno State returns home for a single midweek game on Tuesday night versus CSU Bakersfield before taking its final MW road trip of the year in traveling to play at UNLV next weekend.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Fresno State softball won the final game of the series over San Diego State 4-0 on Sunday afternoon at the SDSU Softball Stadium. The Bulldogs (27-22, 8-7 MW) and Aztecs were locked into a pitchers' duel and Jill Compton came out on the winning side after dealing her sixth shutout of the season.
"Jill is capable of doing whatever she wants to do, but she is still learning to keep that focus with every pitch," said head coach Trisha Ford of Compton's performance. "Today she did a great job. She does a really great job on Sundays. She was mixing her pitches well and came up with the big pitches when she needed to keep us in the ball game."
Fresno State erupted for four runs and eight hits late in the game to end the pitchers' duel. Junior Kapri Angotti drove in the go ahead run in the fifth inning and the Bulldog offense added three more runs in the sixth to seal the win.
"We started putting the ball on the ground and put pressure on the defense," Ford said. "That is what we are trying to instill in the players and patent our offense around. It was great execution by our hitters of putting the ball into play and on the right side allowing our speed to work."
Compton struck out four Aztecs and is now 13-13 on the season with the win Sunday afternoon. She has 119 strikeouts on the season and after the shutout her ERA dropped to 3.14. The ‘Dogs scored three earned runs on Aztec ace Rebecca Arbino handing her the loss.
"We wanted to come out and show what we are capable of," said Angotti. "We deserve to be here and are not going to be an easy team to put away. We will keep fighting and battling back."
San Diego State threatened to take the lead in the bottom of the fourth as an Aztec runner reached third base, but the ‘Dogs recorded two straight pop outs to keep the game tied 0-0.
In the fifth inning, the Bulldogs strung together three straight base knocks from Stesha Brazil, Paige Gumz and Whitney Smith to load the bases. Angotti singled to third base plating the go ahead run for the ‘Dogs. Fresno State headed to the sixth inning with a 1-0 advantage.
"I knew I needed to stay calm and follow the game plan of putting the ball in play," Angotti said. "I knew if I could get the ball in play good things would happen."
The Bulldog offense sealed the win in the sixth inning as the momentum carried over from the fifth inning. Diane Runge and Vonnie Martin led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Michelle Solomon drove in a run with a double down the right field line. The scoring frenzy continued as Martin scored on an Aztec error and Gumz drove in a run to give Fresno State the lead 4-0.
Martin finished the game 2-for-4 and hit .545 on the series. Solomon also collected a multi-hit game after going 2-for-4.
Fresno State outhit the Aztecs 9-5 in the final game of the series. Compton surrendered five base hits and two walks in her second appearance of the weekend. The freshman struck out a total of eight Aztecs in her two starts in the series.
"Jill did an amazing job," added Angotti. "She shut them down, which was huge for us. She gave us ground outs when we needed to keep us in the game and get out of innings."
The Bulldogs return to Bulldog Diamond May 3-5 hosting New Mexico in their home finale. Fresno State will honor the 2013 senior class prior to the game on Sunday, May 5.
Courtesy: Fresno St. Athletics