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The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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Diamond ‘Dogs get 3-0 series victory against the Wolf Pack

Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian
Bulldog outfielder Bobby Blandford slides to third base at the Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium on April 6.

The bats were hot this weekend for the Diamond ‘Dogs as they swept the University of Nevada, Reno 2-0 in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 6 and capped off the series with a mercy rule win the next day.

In their last Mountain West series, Fresno State faced the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where they succeeded in a series victory. The last match ended in a nail-biter as both teams were tied at 3-3 going into the ninth inning. The Diamond ‘Dogs secured two more runs and held the Rebels to three, completing the series sweep.

The final match of this series, however, was the exact opposite of a nail-biter. Fresno State pitcher/utility Tommy Hopfe was among the ‘Dogs’ hot hitters for the whole week, batting .643 on average. He also had four starts with nine hits, four RBIs and five runs scored.

“What Hopfe does is really important to this team,” said Head Coach Ryan Overland. “To have a senior like that in the middle of the lineup, especially with how much the guys in front and behind him get on base, that’s constant pressure on the other team.”

He earned Mountain West Player of the Week alongside Fresno State pitcher Noah Beal who pitched a career-best eight innings in the second match of the Nevada series. Beal struck out 10 batters and only allowed the Wolf Pack three hits, one walk and no earned runs.

Fresno State 9, Nevada 8 (April 6)

Jake Dixon took on the mound for Fresno State in its first game of the doubleheader. He managed to keep the Wolf Pack scoreless through five of the six innings he pitched with seven strikeouts.

Left fielder Rocco Peppi was on base first for the Bulldogs after being hit by a pitch from Wolf Pack pitcher Jason Doktorczyk. He eventually made it home after stealing second, advancing to third on a wild pitch and scoring on another wild pitch. Fresno State third baseman Murf Gray flew out to center field to end their at-bat.

The ‘Dogs would go on to put three more runs on the board in innings two and three. Fresno State second baseman Eddie Saldivar posted a two RBI single in the second inning and designated hitter Bobby Blandford had one RBI in the third. The score was 4-0 going into the fourth and fifth innings.

In the fifth inning, Peppi was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, earning a run for the Diamond ‘Dogs. Hopfe then singled up the middle and earned two RBIs of his own, making the score 7-0. Newton grounded out to second to end the inning.

A two-run homer in the sixth along with a three-run homer and a solo homer in the seventh put the Wolf Pack back in the game and made the score 7-6 going into the eighth inning.

The Bulldogs answered back in the eighth with two runs of their own. Fresno State catcher Justin Stransky earned an RBI with a bunt. Saldivar earned one as well with a single to right field.

Nevada scored two more runs in the ninth but ultimately lost 9-8.

Fresno State 9, Nevada 2 (April 6)

On the mound for the Diamond ‘Dogs in Game 2 of the doubleheader was Beal. He had a 4.25 ERA going into this match and ended up lowering it to 3.48, striking out 10 batters during the eight innings he pitched. He kept the Wolf Pack scoreless through five and earned his third win of the season against them.

The Bulldogs got off to a strong start in the first inning, scoring four runs. Fresno State right fielder Grady Morgan had a two-RBI double to right center, bringing Hopfe and Saldivar home. Gray flew out to center to score Morgan and Newton was able to score from third base off an error by Nevada’s third baseman.

Bulldog outfielder Grady Morgan at bat on April 6 at the Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium. (Jacqueline Carrillo)

Fresno State scored four more runs through innings three to five, making the score 8-0 going into the sixth. Gray grounded out to shortstop to earn an RBI in the third, Peppi singled to left center which earned him two RBIs in the fourth and left fielder Bobby Blandford hit to center field in the fifth to earn his RBI.

The Wolf Pack got on the board in the sixth with a two-run homer from their second baseman Michael Ball. The ‘Dogs answered back with their final run of the match in the sixth after Hopfe singled up the middle to score Peppi, making the final score of Game 2, 9-2.

Fresno State 16, Nevada 3 (April 7)

To close out the series, Fresno State pitcher Jake Riding started on the mound. After this match, he now has a 3.98 ERA with 29 strikeouts this season. He also kept the Wolf Pack scoreless through five innings.

Both teams scored a run in the first inning. Nevada led off with a triple and sac fly to start the game. In Fresno State’s at-bat, Newton earned an RBI with a single to even the score.

The ‘Dogs took the lead in the third inning as Gray and Newton both earned an RBI. Gray flew out to center field to score Hopfe, and Newton doubled but then advanced to third off an error that scored Morgan. Nevada center fielder JR Freethy homered to right field, giving the Wolf Pack a run that inning as well.

Nevada homered again in fourth to earn its last run of the match before Fresno State took a commanding lead that would eventually end in a mercy-rule win. The ‘Dogs scored seven runs in the fourth, five in the fifth and an additional run in the sixth to close out the match.

The final score was 16-3.

One thing that contributed to Fresno State getting on base this weekend was the amount of times they felt the ball in the batter’s box. In total, the ‘Dogs were hit by 18 pitches this weekend.

“We got hit a lot this weekend and I think we’re pretty big at not getting out of the way now,” Hopfe said. “It’s free bases and we try to make the most out of them.”

The Bulldogs took on Cal Poly on April 9 winning the first game of the series 5-2. Now, they’ll travel to New Mexico to face the Lobos on April 12th.

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