The plan for Fresno State Coach Mike Batesole and pitching coach Steve Rousey was to start right-hander Jordan Brink on Tuesday at home against San Jose State, and again next week in a four-game series at Cal.
Sunday, when the Bulldogs will be playing USC at Beiden Field, was down on the schedule as a bullpen session for Brink, a side session. But needing wins and to straighten out a struggling bullpen, if a game-situation presents itself that day against the Trojans, Batesole said Brink would do that throwing when it counts.
‘’If that spot happens to come up where there’s a three-out or a six-out opportunity, we’ve got to get this going in the right direction, I think we’ll run him out there,’’ Batesole said. ‘’(Rousey) and I talked about that, and if it doesn’t come up then it will probably be a bullpen start on Tuesday. But we’re going to do whatever it takes to win this weekend, and if that means getting him to the bullpen a week or more earlier than we expected, then that might be what it means.’’
There is no telling if the Bulldogs will get that shot with Brink, which is one of the problems in developing closer or setup roles in college baseball.
‘’It’s not like the big leagues where you play every day or you play 13 of 14 days and there is going to be some close situations in there,’’ Batesole. ‘’You might go two weekends in a row without a save situation and then one of your best arms hasn’t pitched in two weeks … what the heck are you doing?
‘’It’s always a toss-up whether you’re going to put somebody in that closer role or not because what we’ve done the last two weekends is, one of our best four arms hasn’t pitched on the weekend and, as you know, we’ve run into some situations where we certainly could have used him.’’
Fresno State, at 1-6, has had five losses pinned on the bullpen. Freshman Tim Borst left his first start, against UC Santa Barbara, with a 2-0 lead after six innings and the ‘Dogs lost 11-3. In all three games at Stanford, the losing pitcher came out of the bullpen. And on Tuesday at Cal State Bakersfield, Brink left in the fifth with a 3-1 lead, the bullpen allowed an inherited runner and another runner to score to tie it and the Roadrunners won it with a run in the eighth.
‘’Every game that we’ve lost, they’ve had at least a three-run inning (against the bullpen). Well, what if you had run Brink out there? Would it have happened? Who knows?” Batesole said. ”But that’s kind of where we’re at right now. Sunday, is that situation comes up, we’re going to go ahead and run him out there.
‘’But, it may not. I mean, flip a coin whether it’s going to happen. Who knows if that’s going to be a save situation or not?’’