University of San Francisco shortstop Jack Winkler fields a ball and throws to first in a game at Benedetti Diamond in 2019. (Courtesy / USF Dons Athletics)

San Francisco Dons see winning streak halted despite big day from Winkler

The University of San Francisco’s five-game winning streak came to an end in Fresno on Tuesday night, as the Dons didn’t quite have enough power to out-slug Fresno State.

The Bulldogs blasted three home runs and scored three unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth innings to come from behind for an 8-6 win, ending San Francisco’s longest winning streak since a five-game stretch from March 23-30 last season.

“We had a few mistakes defensively and a few pitches in the middle, but without them we come away with another road victory,” said head coach Nino Giarratano.

The Dons (10-6) scored two runs in the first inning, starting with a leadoff walk to Tyler Villaroman (2-for-4 2 runs, stolen base). Jack Winkler singled him home, and then scored himself on an RBI groundout by Jake Westerman. San Francisco loaded the bases with one out after Winkler’s single, but couldn’t break the game open.

Fresno State (8-5) then struck with a solo shot in the second by Zach Presno, and added two more in the third with two outs on an infield single and a passed ball. Zach Ashford hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth to put the Bulldogs up 5-2.

San Francisco exploded for four runs in the seventh, when Winkler jumped ship for a one-out grand slam — the first of his career and the Dons’ first in just over a year — putting the Dons up 6-5. The five RBIs on the day from Winkler, who went 3-for-5, were a career high, and the third time this season that a San Francisco batter has had five in a game. Jonathan Allen has done it twice this season.

“We’re very excited by the toughness of the team to continue playing,” Giarattano said. “Winkler had a great at-bat to put us ahead in the seventh. We had great contributions from [Jonathan] Allen, [Riley] Helland and [Brandon] Greim to get us to that point.”

Yet again, Fresno State answered in the bottom of the frame, when cleanup batter Carter Bins — hitless to that point — took a 2-0 offering over the left-center field wall for two-run home run to reclaim the lead. A one-out triple by Jeff Jamison in the eighth, followed by an error on a bunt by Ashford accounted for the final tally in the bottom of the eighth.

The top of the Dons’ order (1-4) went 8-for-16 with two walks, a double, a home run and five RBIs, but the rest of the lineup went 0-for-15 with 10 strikeouts. San Francisco’s 11 strikeouts on the day was the second straight game in which the Dons’ have whiffed 10 or more times, after going the previous eight games doing that just once.

San Francisco opens West Coast Conference play at home starting Friday with a three-game series versus Portland.

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