Bull­dogs’ bats and ace Jensen make quick work of UC Santa Bar­bara

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Sports - BY ROBERT KUWADA [email protected]­nobee.com

Fresno State right-han­der Ryan Jensen went into the NCAA Tour­na­ment on a bit of a roll, a win­ner in his last nine de­ci­sions, the Bull­dogs a win­ner in his last 10 starts, and he had been at his best down the stretch.

And still, he man­aged to el­e­vate his game Fri­day for the Stan­ford Re­gion­als.

Jensen took a no-hit­ter into the sixth inning be­fore giv­ing up two runs off four hits and one walk in 7 2/3 in­nings to help the No. 3-seeded Bull­dogs se­cure a 9-2 vic­tory over No. 2 UC Santa Bar­bara at Klein Field.

The ju­nior from Sali­nas went to the mound with a five-run lead and went right af­ter the Gau­chos, who led the Big West Con­fer­ence in runs, hits, dou­bles, triples, home runs, slug­ging per­cent­age and on-base per­cent­age.

And still, the Gau­chos were no match against the Bull­dogs ace who was in com­mand from strike one..

“Just kind of treat it like ev­ery other game and ex­e­cute the pitches that (pitch­ing coach Ryan Over­land) calls,” said Jensen, who is 12-1 this sea­son. “That’s it. There’s no real game plan to it. You just have to go out there and do it.”

Jensen did not al­low a baserun­ner un­til hit­ting Eric Yang with a pitch with two outs in the fourth.

He did not al­low a hit un­til An­drew Martinez lined a dou­ble to left with two outs in the sixth.

He did not al­low a run un­til Thomas Rowan scored on a sacri­fice fly by Tommy Jew for the first out in the sev­enth.

“You guys know the (ve­loc­ity) that he has,” Rowan said. “It just took a while to get to him. He’s a good pitcher. He had his fast­ball go­ing. He had a lit­tle two-seam go­ing, as well. He seemed to be go­ing to that when he needed a strike­out.

“We just didn’t have the qual­ity of at-bats that we needed in the be­gin­ning.”

Jensen, who was helped along the way by out­stand­ing defensive plays by right fielder Nate Thimjon and short­stop J.T. Ar­ruda, left to a stand­ing

ova­tion from the Fresno State fans in the crowd with two outs in the eighth inning.

He fin­ished with eight strike­outs. He threw 110 pitches, 73 for strikes.

“Ryan of course was out­stand­ing,” coach Mike Batesole said.

“He had an out­stand­ing two-seamer and we played good de­fense be­hind him.”

Jensen just cruised, a stark con­trast to UC Santa Bar­bara starter Ben Brecht.

BULL­DOGS BACK JENSEN

Brecht went into the game 10-1, had an ERA of 3.76 and led the Big West this sea­son with 101 strike­outs.

But the Bull­dogs did not ap­pear the least bit im­pressed, treat­ing the left­hander like a mid­dling mid-week arm.

From the start, they con­trolled ev­ery plate ap­pear­ance.

Zach Ash­ford, the Bull­dogs’ lead­off hit­ter, was in an 0-2 hole lead­ing off the game be­fore work­ing the count full and end­ing the at-bat with a sharp sin­gle to left.

That was the first of four hits in a row to start a five-run inning for the Bull­dogs, the last at-bat in that run just as im­pres­sive –and show­ing just as much dis­re­gard for the pitches they were see­ing.

McCarthy Ta­tum, the Bull­dogs’ cleanup hit­ter, also was down in the count 0-2 be­fore foul­ing off four pitches in a row. Brecht couldn’t put him away, and Ta­tum ended up fight­ing off a pitch and with an RBI sin­gle to right..

The first four hit­ters in the Bull­dogs’ lineup – Ash­ford, Carter Bins, J.T. Ar­ruda and Ta­tum – were a com­bined 11 for 18 with two walks, eight runs scored, five RBI.

Brecht, he was gone af­ter 1 in­nings, al­low­ing eight hits and seven runs, four earned. He struck out no one.

Fresno State Ath­let­ics pho­tos

Fresno State pitcher Ryan Jensen had a no-hit­ter go­ing through five in­nings. He fin­ished with eight strike­outs in 7 2⁄3 in­nings to lead the Bull­dogs in a 9-2 win over UC Santa Bar­bara on Fri­day in their first game of the NCAA Tour­na­ment.

Se­niors Zach Ash­ford, left, and McCarthy Ta­tum helped spark the Fresno State of­fense Fri­day night with de­ter­mined at-bats.

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