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Fresno State baseball: 'Dogs pull shocking sweep of UC Irvine

The Diamond 'Dogs needed some late inning dramatics to sink the Anteaters and kick off the 2015 season in a winning fashion.

Kevin Viers helped power the Bulldogs ahead of UC Irvine.
Kevin Viers helped power the Bulldogs ahead of UC Irvine.
Keith Kountz, Fresno State Athletics

That Wonderdogs magic was back in the Central Valley, at least for one weekend. Three games in a row, the Fresno State Bulldogs scraped together game-winning rallies that began in the seventh inning or later, powering the home team to a surprising sweep of a competitive UC Irvine squad at Beiden Field.

Designated hitter Kevin Viers was arguably the star of the opening homestand, as he singled home Taylor Ward in the bottom of the ninth on Friday night to secure a 5-4 win, sparked a 6-run eighth-inning rally on Saturday night with his leadoff walk, and then ignited two different rallies Sunday afternoon with a single and a two-run home run, respectively, in the seventh and eighth innings.

Ward, a preseason All-American selection at catcher by Baseball America, also got his 2015 campaign off to a strong start by going 5-for-10, including his first home run of the year. The top three in the Fresno State lineup, Ward plus Ryan Dobson and Brody Russell, combined to batter the Anteaters at a .457 clip.

If there is anything about which to be displeased, Fresno's starting pitchers are likely to want to build upon their first efforts. None of the three -- Jimmy Lambert, Dylan Lee and Garrett Mundell -- made it past the sixth inning, and the tenor of the series might have been much different if not for timely performances out of the bullpen: Seven relievers combined to allow seven walks and twelve hits in 13 2/3 innings, but they also allowed just three runs while striking out nine.

The Bulldogs (3-0) will host the Cal Poly Mustangs on Tuesday night at 6:35 PM, while UC Irvine (0-3) will travel to Berkeley next weekend for a four-game series against Cal.