Diamond ‘Dogs pull off turnaround victory against San Francisco


Valentina Saldaña/The Collegian

Nikoh Mitchell bats for the Diamond ‘Dogs against the Dons on March 1.

By Valentina Saldaña, Sports Editor

The Dons held the lead at the top of the seventh inning and weren’t giving it up. Diamond ‘Dog outfielder, Nikoh Mitchell, made a big catch, ending the top half of the inning for the Dons. 

Mitchell then went on to home plate to hit for the Diamond ‘Dogs and scored in the bottom of that same inning. He tied the game with the first run of a turnaround comeback. It was a crucial play to give the ‘Dogs a nail-biter victory.

Murf Gray gets a hit at Pete Beiden Field in Bob Bennett Stadium. (Valentina Saldaña/The Collegian)

Fresno State defeated the University of San Francisco, 7-5, on March 1 at Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium. 

San Francisco got off to a quick start, getting its first run on the board at the top of the first inning. Don Christian Stapleton was first to score, earning his runoff of a throwing error by Fresno State. 

The Diamond ‘Dogs then evened the playing field at the bottom of the first. Mitchell tied the game with a run by a throwing error to first base, making the score 1-1. 

The Dons then came into the top of the second inning aggressive, making two runs. The first was made by Logan Azem, who was run in by Harris Williams III with a hit to right field. 

Williams then scored a run of his own, with a Stapleton single to left field, making the score 3-1. 

Fresno State followed up with another run at the bottom of the second, cutting the lead by one, 3-2. Diamond ‘Dog junior Michael McKernan was run in by Jaden Sheppard with a single down the middle. 

Both teams were scoreless in the third inning. Fresno State’s Tommy Hopfe and Mitchell were both able to get on first base. 

The Diamond ‘Dogs scored 2 runs in the bottom of the fourth, taking the lead 4-3. Freshman Murf Gray made it to home plate on a wild pitch by San Francisco. McKernan was run in by Ben Newton, making it McKernan’s second run of the game. 

Michael McKernan scores his second run of the game. (Valentina Saldaña/The Collegian)

Both teams were scoreless for the fifth inning, but the Dons responded in the top of the sixth by taking the lead.

Stapleton earned two RBIs in one play, running in Williams and Darius Foster with a single to right field. San Francisco led 5-4 at the end of the sixth. 

Fresno State tied the game up in the bottom of the seventh, 5-5. Mitchell started the bottom half with a hit to right field, getting him on second base. 

Grady Morgan then hit a bunt, getting him out at first and allowing Mitchell to advance to third. Hopfe then hit to right center, getting him on third and running in Mitchell for his second run of the game. 

The Diamond ‘Dogs then held off the Dons scoreless for the rest of the game. 

Fresno State scored two runs in the eighth inning to take the lead. 

First, Marco Pirruccello was hit by a pitch, walking him to first. Travis Welker then reached first base on a field error to shortstop, pushing Pirruccello to second. Newton got on home plate and hit a double along the infield line, allowing both Welker and Pirruccello to score, giving Fresno State a 7-5 victory. 

Bryce Armstrong pitches for the Diamond ‘Dogs. (Valentina Saldaña/The Collegian)

On the mound, Fresno State rotated a total of eight pitchers, combining for an ERA of 3.33. Jaykob Acosta threw two shutout innings and struck out three players. The win went to Trevor Garcia, who posted an ERA of 0.96 and struck out one player in one inning. Marc

Fresno State now holds an overall record of 5-3. It will head to the Bay and open Mountain West play against San Jose State in a 3-game series, from March 3-5.