If the focus were only on the starting pitching on Saturday, Fresno State likely would have been in much better shape against No. 15 Stanford. Instead, there were too many mistakes, missed opportunities, and, ultimately, a walk-off, three-run, pinch-hit home run in the 10th inning by Brett Michael Doran that sent the Cardinal out with a 7-4 victory at Sunken Diamond.
But Derick Velazquez, the transfer from Merced College, took a big step forward pitching his way through a game in which the Bulldogs made five errors in the field.
It started in the first inning, when second baseman Brody Russell fielded a routine ground ball and fired well wide of first base for an error, which led to an unearned run. Velazquez got out of that inning with a double play ground ball, with runners at first and second.
In the second inning, center fielder Aaron Judge mishandled a single up the middle, allowing Stanford runners to move up to second and third. But Velazquez escaped unscathed, retiring Cardinal leadoff hitter Drew Jackson on a ground ball.
In the fourth, Stanford put its leadoff hitter on base on an error by shortstop Chris Mariscal. In the fifth, Justin Ringo reached base on catcher’s interference, pushing a runner into scoring position. And in the eighth, Russell made a second error of the game on a wild throw trying to double up Dominic Jose – a poor decision, with little chance to complete the double play there.
Velazquez ended up giving up four runs, but only two were earned.
‘’That’s a gutsy performance. That’s a tough kid that can keep it together,’’ Coach Mike Batesole said. ‘’He had to get four outs a couple times against a really good team in a tough atmosphere, and down the line that’s going to play out for us.
‘’Unlike some of the other guys where, you know, we’ve talked about their heart is their No. 1 tool, he’s got a big heart, but he’s also got outstanding stuff and he came into his own a little bit today and controlled the zone a lot better than he did his first time out.’’
The sophomore right-hander also kept the Bulldogs’ streak of impressive starts working – five, in as many games.
Will Munro is 1-0 in his two starts with an ERA of 0.73. Velazquez is 0-1 in two starts with an ERA of 4.15. And Tim Borst, who will go to the mound on Sunday against the Cardinal, got a no-decision in his first start, throwing six scoreless innings against UC Santa Barbara.
The Fresno State starters have an ERA of 2.01.