Big inning costly in 5-3 loss at Fresno State
FRESNO, Calif. – A five-run bottom of the fourth inning by host Fresno State proved to be the difference on Friday evening at Pete Beiden Field, as the Bulldogs rode a stellar start by Ixan Henderson to a 5-3 Mountain West win over the New Mexico baseball team.
The Lobos started with a two-run first inning, but didn’t score again until the ninth as the visitors were otherwise-baffled by the Fresno State ace. In his seven innings of work, Henderson struck out eight while allowing just one walk and scattering eight hits. After five of the Lobos’ first six hitters reached base to start the game, Henderson only allowed four baserunners over his final 6 2/3 innings of work.
Dylan Ditzenberger went 4-for-5 in the game, extending his reached base streak to 31 games, his hitting streak to 13 games, and raising his season batting average to .500. UNM brought the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth, but FSU closer Tommy Hopfe recorded his Mountain West leading fifth save of the season to secure the win for the hosts. New Mexico slipped to 11-6 with the loss and is now 2-2 in conference play.
Nico Mitchell and Payton Allen each had two hits for Fresno State, which did all of its scoring with six total hits while stranding just four runners on base. FSU improved to 9-7 on the season and evened its conference record at 3-3 with the win.
New Mexico wasted no time jumping out to a lead, with Ditzenberger and Jeffrey David leading the game off with back-to-back hits. Braydon Runion followed with an RBI-single, and Jake Holland made the score 2-0 with an RBI-single.
UNM starter Riley Egloff followed with a clean bottom of the first, ending the frame with his first strikeout. The senior right-hander struck out two more hitters in the second, and used a quick pickoff move in the third to erase the Bulldogs’ only baserunner to that point in the game.
Mitchell, the Bulldogs’ leadoff man, broke the hitless string for the hosts, leading off the bottom of the fourth with a base hit into shallow right field. That led to an RBI-single by Hopfe, and Bobby Blandford capped the five-run inning with a two-out, two-run home run to put Fresno State ahead 5-2.
Henderson retired a string of seven hitters into the seventh inning, before Ditzenberger shot the gap in right-center for his third hit of the ballgame. The left-hander shook off the hit however, stranding the runner in scoring position with a strikeout and a fly out to push his team six outs away from a series-opening win.
Egloff got the first two outs in the seventh inning, before a knock by Mitchell signaled the end of the night for the senior. Egloff allowed five runs on five hits with six strikeouts and a pair of walks in his 6 2/3 innings of work.
The Lobos got the tying run to the plate in the eighth, but Bulldog pitcher Jack Anker got out of the jam with a strikeout to keep his team in front by three.
Chase Weissenborn led off the top of the ninth with a double to right-center, and Ditzenberger followed with his fourth hit of the night to once again bring the tying run to the plate in the form of David. A ground out brought Weissenborn home from third, but that’s all UNM could manage against Hopfe.
Brian McBroom allowed just one hit in 1 1/3 shutout innings of relief to finish the game on the hill for the Lobos.
LOBO NOTES: UNM is now 31-33-1 all-time against Fresno State and is 11-22-1 in road games against the Bulldogs …Ditzenberger tied his career single-game high in hits for the third time this season…Ashby’s hit was the 198th of his collegiate career, as he moved two hits away from the 200-hit plateau…Friday was the second time this season Egloff has pitched into the seventh inning.
NEXT UP: The series resumes on Saturday with a 4:05 p.m. Mountain time first pitch.