FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State baseball team rallied back in the nightcap behind a sterling pitching performance by senior southpaw Thomas Harlan, but the Bulldogs dropped both ends of a rare Western Athletic Conference doubleheader to San Jose State, 4-0 and 4-3, on Saturday afternoon at Beiden Field.
Harlan tossed a near-masterpiece in retiring the final 20 of 22 batters, but the Spartans used a four-run second inning to build a large enough lead to fend off a late Bulldog rally.
Harlan had begun the contest by sitting down the first five hitters in order before giving up the four runs - all with two outs.
The Bulldogs responded and strung three straight hits together -- two of which were perfectly executed on hit-and-run plays during the bottom of the fourth - that drove in a pair of runs for Fresno State.
Down 4-2, Hutcheson cut the deficit in half with a solo blast over the right centerfield fence in the eighth. It was Hutcheson's second homer of the year and practically a mirror image of the homer he belted in his first plate appearance of 2012.
But that was as close as 'Dogs would get as SJSU's Zack Jones entered and posted his sixth save of the season by throwing the final 1.2 scoreless innings for the Spartans.
"We just have to slow the game down," sophomore outfield Aaron Judge said. "We need to just sit back and see more pitches; it's all we can ask of ourselves."
"There weren't enough professional, business-like at-bats today," head baseball coach Mike Batesole said of the team's showing in the Saturday twin bill. "We [also] got a little sloppy there when we walked a guy and hit a guy and that gave them a chance to put some runners in scoring position."
But in the final seven frames, Harlan mixed his pitches to effectively shutdown the Spartans' offense en route to his second complete game of the season. In total, Harlan allowed just six hits and a walk while striking out three.
Junior Justin Haley navigated his way through six innings in day's first game, allowing four earned runs on seven hits while allowing three walks striking out five. He took the loss as SJSU shut out the 'Dogs in the series opener.
Fresno State (15-18, 1-4 WAC) and San Jose State (16-14, 2-0 WAC) will finish out the series on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. at Beiden Field.
Courtesy: Fresno St. Athletics