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Courtesy of Fresno State Athletics
MESA, Arizona – The Diamond ‘Dogs earned their first win of 2023 on Saturday afternoon by shutting out Arizona, 5-0 at Sloan Park in the MLB Desert Invitational.
With interim head coach Ryan Overland earning its first win leading the ‘Dogs, Fresno State (1-1) found its offensive rhythm as it finished with 12 hits in the afternoon led by three by first batter Ben Newton and two each from Tommy Hopfe, Bobby Blandford AND Degrees Morgan.
Payton Allen hit the ‘Dogs first home run of the season with a two-run bomb in the eighth inning and Marco Pirruccio AND Michael McCernan singles added.
On the mound, left-handed young man Jake Dixon he turned in a masterful performance pitching six shutout innings while limiting Arizona (1-1) to five hits while striking out six to earn the win.
Trevor Garcia he came in in relief for the final three innings to earn his first save of the season while allowing one hit while adding two strikeouts.
How did it happen
The Bulldogs got off to a strong start in the top of the first inning by matching their run total since Friday’s season opener by getting a run on a ground ball that turned into a double play and an RBI double by Blandford that led home Tyler Davis from the first.
Running into a small jam in the bottom of the second, Arizona put a pair of runners in scoring position with one out, but Dixon escaped undamaged to secure a strikeout and groundout.
The ‘Dogs extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth on a two-RBI single backed up center by Newton driving in Pirrbird.
Coming off another jam in the sixth, Dixon managed to evade a pair of baserunners in scoring position with one out to get a strikeout in pursuit and a flyout to left field to preserve his shutout efforts.
Allen pushed the Bulldogs ahead, 5-0 with his two-run bomb to left in the eighth and Garcia kept the shutout intact in the ninth by grounding a Wildcat at third base.
- The ‘Dogs move to 5-7 all-time against Arizona with their first win since 1961.
- Fresno State earned its first win over a Pac-12 opponent since June 1, 2019 against Stanford in the NCAA Tournament, snapping a 10-game losing streak against opponents in that conference.
- Dixon had his ninth career win and Garcia had his second career save.
- It was the Bulldogs’ first shutout since they eliminated Sacramento State, 19-0 on April 12, 2022.