Fresno State one win away from WACchampionship
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Brian Lapin swears he doesn’t understand the art of hitting, but you wouldn’t know it by his performance in the WAC Baseball Tournament.
Lapin is hitting .307 through three games, and has come up with some clutch hits to propel Fresno State into the championship game.
Lapin, who hit a grandslam against Sac State in the opening game, slammed a two-run homer in the fifth to spark Fresno State to a 6-2 win over San Jose State Saturday morning at Peccole Park.
“I’ll truly never understand hitting as long as I play,” Lapin said. “It’s a day-to-day thing with me. I just went out like I do everyday and it worked out.”
“He’s swinging the bat great,” FSU coach Mike Batesole said. “He hit the change-up (the other day) and the fastball (today). When you are hitting both, you’re tough to pitch to.”
Lapin also had a hand in the Bulldogs’ first run when he doubled home Loren Storey, who reached on an infield single.
San Jose State, the designated home team, tied the gam,e at 1 in the fourth when Donato Giovanatto singled, moved to third on a single by Kyle Bellows and scored on Brian Yocke’s single.
Spartan starter Josh Amberson, who sailed through the second, third and fourth innings, ran into trouble in the fifth.
Amberson walked Al Ahmady and Dan Grubb moved the runner tio second with a nicely placed sacrifice bunt. Todd Sandell walked, and the runners were balked to second and third, respectively. Ahmady came home on a sacrifice fly by Erik Wetzel and Storey singled home Sandell to make it 3-1. Lapin followed with his towering homer to left and a 5-1 lead.
“He’s (Amberson) prone to that,” SJSU coach Sam Piraro said. “We have to look at him carefully.”
Amberson left after hitting Steve Susdorf, and turned it over to Greg Shannon, who allowed only a run and two hits over the last 4 1/3 innings.
Piraro said that Shannon, who has struggled recently did a nice job. Shannon struck out three, walked one and hit a batter.
Neither San Jose State pitcher could match Fresno State’s Tanner Scheppers, who lasted a career-best 7 2/3 innings and allowed only five hits. The only run he allowed was in the fourth.
“He gave us exactly what we needed,” Batesole said. “We had to find a way to get to Breckley, and he decided to do it himself. He threw hard.”
Breckley got the last out of the eighth, and then was touched for a single run in the ninth. San Jose State stranded nine runners.
“We certainly had some opportunities over the course of the game,” Piraro said. “We let them get away from us. We didn’t get the big hit when we needed it.”