The Diamond ‘Dogs start 4-game home series 2-0


Valentina Saldaña/The Collegian

Payton Allen at the plate for Fresno State against the University of Nebraska, Omaha on Feb. 23.

By Valentina Saldaña, Sports Editor

After pitching a 8.10 ERA in the previous game, Ixan Henderson pitched seven shutout innings for Fresno State at its home opener. Henderson posted a 1.56 ERA and struck out five players in game one. 

He told the Collegian after the game that the defense behind him also deserves credit. 

“I’m just so happy the defense really made plays all game. That was the name of this game. I was just letting them hit it, knowing that I had a good defense behind me,” Henderson said. 

The Fresno State Diamond ‘Dogs faced the University of Nebraska, Omaha, Mavericks in a double-header on Feb. 23. It was at the Pete Beiden Field in Bob Bennett Stadium. The double-header was the first two of a 4-game series against Omaha. Fresno State went 2-0 that day, beating Omaha 2-1 in game one and 3-2 in game two. 

Zach Statzer pitches for Fresno State in game two. (Valentina Saldaña/The Collegian)

The ‘Dogs rotated a couple of pitchers throughout the two games. Henderson and Roman Angelo took game one, with Henderson pitching seven innings and Angelo pitching two. Trevor Garcia, Tommy Hopfe, Robbie Peters, Zach Statzer and Victor Arreola all pitched in game two. 

The beginning of the first game got off to a slow start, with no players getting on base until the bottom of the fourth inning. Hopfe was able to reach first base on a throwing error, but the inning ended shortly after a Tyler Davis out and a score of 0-0. 

The ‘Dogs then started the top of the sixth with a quick three outs. Bulldog Michael McKernan got the bottom of the sixth rolling with a hit to left-center field, allowing him to get on second base. 

Ben Newton then singled to the left side, which got McKernan to advance to third. 

The Diamond ‘Dogs got their first run of the game by McKernan, who was ran in by a Grady Morgan hit to right field, making the score 1-0.

It was two more innings until either team scored. During the bottom of the eighth, the ‘Dogs found their second point of the game with a run by Travis Welker. He was also run in by Morgan, who doubled to right field, making the score 2-0 to close the eighth. 

Omaha’s Mike Boeve hit into the infield, running in Garrett Kennedy for their only run of the game. The ‘Dogs then got their final out, defeating the Mavericks 2-1 in game one. 

On the mound, Angelo pitched for two innings, allowing one hit and throwing an ERA of 3.86. 

The Diamond ‘Dogs started off game two with a pair of runs during the bottom of the third inning. 

First, Bulldog Nikoh Mitchell hit a single to left field. Then, Newton singled out to right field, getting Mitchell to second base. Morgan then hit a fly to the infield, which got him out, but allowed Micthell to get to third. Hopfe then ran in Mitchell with a hit to right center, making the score 1-0. 

In that same inning, the ‘Dogs scored their second run, this time by Newton. He was run in by Payton Allen, who hit a groundout to the shortstop, giving the Diamond ‘Dogs the lead at the end of the third, 2-0. 

Trevor Garcia pitches for Fresno State in game two against Omaha. (Valentina Saldana/The Collegian)

On the mound, Bulldog Trevor Garcia pitched the first four innings with an ERA of 0. He told the Collegian that those first two runs helped in his pitching performance. 

“I thought I could relax a little bit, continue to focus on them and go and do my thing,” Garcia said. 

Maverick Eddie Satisky then hit a home-run at the top of the fifth, which would be Garcia’s first allowed run of the season. 

The Mavericks scored again at the top of the sixth with a run by Matt Goetzmann, tying up the score, 2-2. 

Fresno State responded in the bottom of the sixth with another run, this time by Allen. He was ran in by Davis with a hit to center field, taking the lead at 3-2.

Tommy Hopfe at the plate for the Diamond ‘Dogs. (Valentina Saldaña/The Collegian)

Both teams went scoreless in the last three innings, giving the ‘Dogs their second win out of the four game series. 

After the game Head Coach Ryan Overland shared with the Collegian what he looks to implement to improve moving forward.

“I think we have to do a better job offensively with our approach and put some more runs on the board. But I think we played great defense and pitched very well, and we need to keep that going forward,” Overland said. 

Fresno State will face Omaha again two more times to close out the 4-game series. The games are set for Feb. 25 and 26 at Pete Beiden Field in Bob Bennett Stadium.