Clutch Hitting And Timely Pitching Leads Pacific Past Fresno State, 6-4

Jordon Gonzalez - Photo by: Keith Sanpei
Jordon Gonzalez - Photo by: Keith Sanpei

Stockton, Calif. - After shaking off a rough start, the Pacific baseball team rallied past the visiting Fresno State Bulldogs to take a 6-4 win at Klein Family Field on Tuesday, April 15. The win was the second for the Tigers over the Bulldogs in the last three weeks and ran their record to 18-20 overall while the Bulldogs fell to 18-19. 

Making his second start of the season, freshman Jordon Gonzalez (1-0) gave the Tigers a solid five-innings of work on the mound en route to earning his first collegiate victory in the Orange and Black. After a rocky start in which the first-year pitch gave up three runs on just one hit in the first, Gonzalez settled down and stymied the Bulldog offense for four strong innings. Over his final four innings of work, Gonzalez gave up just three hits and one unearned run as he kept the Tigers close until the offense could find its groove.

With Gonzalez recovered from his three-run first, the Tigers' offense came through for its freshman in the bottom of the fourth as the top of the order delivered three runs to knot the game at 3-3. After going hitless through its first nine batters of the game, the Tigers picked up back-to-back-to-back hits from Tyler Sullivan, Taylor Murphy, and Brett Sullivan to shift the momentum in the contest to the home dugout. As has been the case throughout much of the year, T. Sullivan and Murphy both singled to begin the inning while B. Sullivan came up with the first RBI of the game with a double down the first base line. With runners at second and third, the Tigers witnessed William Munro (2-1), the Bulldogs' starter, have a brief meltdown as he gifted Pacific the final two runs of the inning with a wild pitch and a passed ball to tie the game.

Even at three runs a piece, the Tigers would fall briefly behind the Bulldogs once again as a leadoff walk came back to bite Gonzalez in the top of the fifth as an error and a groundball netted Fresno State its fourth and final run of the contest. Down once again, Pacific's offense wasted no-time making their freshman pitcher eligible for the win as once again, the top of the order delivered the knockout blow to the Bulldogs in the bottom half of the inning with three-straight singles. After sophomore Louis Mejia started the rally off with a single in the No. 9 spot, T. Sullivan again came through with a single the other way before the two moved into scoring position on another Munro wild pitch. With his teammates in position to take the lead, Murphy laced a single back up the middle to bring the pair home and give Pacific a lead it would not relinquish. They would add a sixth run of insurance in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by B. Sullivan as he brought home Mejia who had reached on a chopped single over third base.

The lead for the Tigers would hold up thanks to the work of Pacific's bullpen which worked the final four innings of the contest without giving up a hit to the Bulldogs. The lone baserunner Fresno State would pick up against Pacific's relief core came in the top of the eighth inning when the Bulldogs were issued a leadoff walk, only to see their last hope stranded at third by freshman Vince Arobio. In the ninth, the Tigers called upon their newly minted closer, freshman John Jaeger, to slam the door, a feat he did with ease as he induced three ground balls to the left side to end the game. The save was Jaeger's second in as many games as he threw just 12 pitches to finish the Bulldogs off. Prior to the two freshman closing the game for Pacific, senior Kyle Crawford was stellar in relief of Gonzalez as the four-year lefty started the string of hitless success for the Tigers with a perfect fifth and sixth innings of work.

Offensively, Pacific was led by T. Sullivan who put together a 3-for-4 night with two runs scored. Murphy and Mejia each added a pair of hits for the Tigers who outhit the Bulldogs 9-to-4. The loss went to Munro as the junior suffered his first loss of the season for Fresno State after going 5.0 innings while giving up six hit and five runs. 

Pacific takes on Saint Mary's in WCC action at Klein Family Field beginning on Thursday, April 17 as the two teams meet Thursday through Saturday due to the holiday on Sunday. The game on Thursday is scheduled for 6:00 pm.