Fresno State not ready to go home yet
Behind Garrison's three RBIs, Bulldogs top Michigan St. 8-2
STANFORD, Calif. -- With the season on the line in its fourth win-or-go-home game in the past eight days, the Fresno State baseball team performed under pressure once again in beating Michigan State 8-2 on Saturday afternoon in an elimination game at the NCAA Stanford Regional at Sunken Diamond.
Senior first baseman Trent Garrison went 3-for-4 with three RBIs to lead Fresno State to its first victory in the NCAA tournament since winning the 2008 College World Series in Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium.
"When you get your work done and when you get in the clutch, you know you've earned and deserved it," Fresno State head baseball coach Mike Batesole said.
The never-quit Bulldogs now improve to 16-3 in postseason elimination games since 2008. Fresno State (31-27) will now play the loser of Saturday night's Stanford-Pepperdine game at on Sunday in the Bulldogs' fifth elimination game this year.
Fresno State posted 15 hits in the game and came through in the clutch all day. Eight of those hits came with two outs and seven of the eight runs scored in the game all came home when there were two outs.
"Getting clutch hits are important in any game," Trent Garrison said of the team's offensive execution on Saturday.
Starter Thomas Harlan threw a strong 4.1 innings where he allowed just two runs on three hits in his start. He was pulled in the fifth, as he was working on a limited pitch count.
"Having Tommy [Harlan] give us a great performance makes it a lot easier to get those clutch hits," Trent Garrison added. "It's a lot of fun playing in these elimination games."
Senior Gene Escat came on to throw 2.1 scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win and improve to 4-0 on the year.
Taylor Garrison recorded his 11th save of the season by recording the final seven outs of the game.
"Credit Fresno [State] - They made a couple big plays when they needed to," Michigan State head coach Jake Boss said. "There center fielder [Aaron Judge] made a big play - caught a ball at left-center to kind of stop a rally. That took some wind out of our sails. Momentum was a big thing. They got it and took it and ran with it, and we couldn't get it stopped."
Batesole knew the Bulldogs were up against a big task in facing the aggressive and physical Spartan squad.
"That was a good win," Bateosle noted. "That's a heck of ball club we faced. They are a very aggressive and outstanding fastball-hitting team in Michigan State. They're physical, they're fast and they play really neat and clean on defense. They won 37 games for a reason and had a great year. It took everything we had to get them today."
"We're a fighting club, we love to compete and I guess we like it," Harlan said of playing in elimination games.
With the win, Fresno State improved to 42-15 in postseason play under Batesole, including both the WAC and NCAA tournaments combined.