For eight innings, the Bulldogs were in control, leading 5-2 and doing everything right.
Until the top of the 9th. In an unpredictable manner, the Waves rallied back — and rallied hard. On five hits, Fresno State’s hopes of advancing were dashed when Pepperdine scored six runs — four on a grand slam by Matt Forgatch.
Pepperdine won 8-5, eliminating Fresno State from the regional.
The Waves advanced to play the Stanford Cardinal later in the evening.
The gates opened early for Pepperdine, scoring four runs in the first inning — though three runs were unearned. Stephen Piscotty, who was on the mound for the Cardinal, helped get one run back with a base hit that scored Jake Stewart.
Stanford got two back in the 3rd, thanks to a Brian Ragira RBI double and an Alex Blandino sacrifice fly. It wouldn’t be until the next inning when the offense would break loose.
Five runs were scored. Austin Wilson had a two-out two-RBI single, giving Stanford the tying run and the go-ahead run. Blandino followed it up by crushing a pitch over the left field fence for a three-run homer. It was 8-4 Stanford.
No more runs would score until the 7th inning, when Pepperdine decided to make it interesting. There were runs — runs everywhere — for the Waves, and they were within one of tying the game up. Sahil Bloom came in on relief and promptly recorded two outs to get out of the inning.
The Cardinal had a chance to score some insurance runs in the bottom of the 7th, but nothing came out of it. Pepperdine’s offense was relatively quiet in the 8th and 9th, leaving one on base in each inning.
But Bloom managed to get the third out of the 9th and Stanford were on their way to Tallahassee for the Super Regional.