Fresno State, San Jose State roll in tournament
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Erik Wetzel and Brian Lapin provided the offense, and Clayton Allison was superb on the mound.
Wetzel went 2-for-5 and drove in two runs while Lapin also went 2-for-5, including a grandslam in the seventh inning. Allison racked up his 10th win of the season with a complete-game 7-hitter.
Fresno State rode those performances to a 10-2 win over Sacramento State in the opening game of the Western Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament Thursday afternoon at Peccole Park.
Fresno State returns to action today at 3 against Louisiana Tech, an 11-1 loser to San Jose State.
“It was a good ballgame,” said Fresno State coach Mike Batesole. “We came out trying to pull the ball. We adjusted and started hitting the ball the other way.
“It was his (Allison’s) most important game of the season, and he threw a complete game. We only used one pitcher, and that’s a nice bonus for us.”
Another bonus was the Bulldogs’ ability to hit with two strikes. Fresno State went 10-for-17 and scored nine runs after two outs.
After spotting Sacramento State a 1-0 lead, the Bulldogs worked their two-out magic in the second.
Mick Joyce retired the first two batters he faced, but the next five Bulldogs reached base.
Joyce plunked Tommy Mendonca with a pitch and Dan Grubb followed with a single to center. Todd Sandell followed with a single to left, scoring Mendonca to tie the game at 1. Wetzel followed with a double in the left-center field gap to score Grubb and Sandell for a 3-1 lead. Loren Storey singled to left, scoring Wetzel with the inning’s fourth run.
Joyce settled down and retired the next 13 hitters before running into problems in the seventh.
After one out, Grubb singled to right. Sandell popped to short for the second out and Wetzel singled Grubb to second. Storey reached first on an infield single to load the bases, barely beating the throw by shortstop Blake Crosby. First base umpire Steve Mattingly’s call brought Sacramento State coach John Smith to argue the call to no avail.
The call turned out to be huge when Lapin pounded a Joyce change-up for a grandslam over the fence in left-center field to make it 8-1. Joyce left after surrendering a single to Steve Susdorf. Ozzie Lewis greeted reliever Tyler Axelrod with a triple to center field, scoring Susdorf for a 9-2 lead.
“With me, he was trying to get ahead with a fastball and then go off-speed,” said Lapin after hitting his first grandslam of the season.
“He got ahead of everybody (early).”
Allison scattered seven hits in his 100-pitch effort. He fanned six and walked two. The early three-run bulge was enough, but the five-run outburst really made Allison’s job easier.
“I came out and tried to establish my fastball down low,” said Allison, who twice worked out of one out and first and second jams. “I was throwing fastball, curve and splitter. Those are the three I go with. The zone was generous and I limited my walks.”
SAN JOSE STATE 11,
LA. TECH 1
The fourth-seeded Spartans won for the sixth time in seven games, using
a trio of three-run innings to knock off the third-seeded Bulldogs in a game stopped after seven innings because of the 10-run rule.
“Obviously Louisiana Tech is a very fine team,” SJSU coach Sam Piraro said. “Today was one of those days. We played our A game all the way around. We took advantage of opportunities. We got key hits and made key defensive plays.
“No doubt, two weeks ago, we were in dire straits. We weren’t going to lose our way in. We had to win our way in. We went to New Mexico State (and swept) and then played very well against Nevada. Six out of seven against some good people.”
San Jose pounded 14 hits, including four by first baseman Ryan Angel, who also drove in three runs, two on a homer in the three-run fourth which helped the Spartans increase their lead to 8-1.
Marcus McKimmy, Chris Balatico and Donato Giovanatto all collected two hits. McKimmy, the leadoff hitter, reached base five straight times.
The Spartans broke open a 2-1 game with two straight three-run innings. Angel and Yocke each drove in a run in the third, and Angel hit a two-run homer in the fourth for the aforementioned 8-1 lead.
That was more than enough cushion for right-hander Craig Sobczak, who retired 12 of the last 14 batters he faced.
•Contact DarrellMoody at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1281