Bulldog Baseball Blog
The Last Year at Rosenblatt
The 2010 College World Series will be the last NCAA baseball tournament to be played in the famous Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium.
The stadium originally named Omaha Municipal Stadium was built in 1947 for the single-A Omaha Cardinals of the St. Louis Cardinals organization. A few years later it became the home of the Kansas City Royals triple-A team.
In 1964, the stadium was renamed to honor former Omaha mayor Johnny Rosenblatt, who was instrumental in bringing professional baseball as well as the College World Series to Omaha.
Rosenblatt Stadium has been home to the College World Series since 1950. Baseball is the only NCAA sport that has held their championship in the same venue year after year. Currently, the NCAA and the city of Omaha have agreed to continue hosting the Men's College World Series in Omaha through the 2035 season.
Starting in 2011, the CWS will be played in a new stadium in down town Omaha.
Click here for an article about the stadium and Fresno State head coach Mike Batesole is featured in the story with a quote on the Bulldogs time spent in the `Blatt in 2008.
`Dogs Mother's Day Flare
The Fresno State baseball team is halfway through the 2010 Western Athletic Conference season, oh how time flies. The Bulldogs have played three WAC series and are in second place with a record of 7-5. The `Dogs opened the season against Hawai'i taking three of four games and then split series with Louisiana Tech and Nevada.
Here is a look at how the Bulldogs rank statistically among the WAC:
Jordan Ribera leads the WAC in home runs (20) and total bases (133). Defensively, the junior leads the league double plays turned (44), chances (403) and putouts (372). Ribera is second in slugging percentage (.811) and runs batted in (51).
Danny Muno leads the conference in walks (34). He is fifth in stolen bases with a team-high nine this season. Muno is tied for fifth in runs scored (44).
Greg Gonzalez leads the WAC in wins (5). The junior is seventh in the WAC in batters struck out at 41 this season.
Josh Poytress is fourth in the league in strikeouts (45). The sophomore is fifth in strikeouts per game (6.94). Poytress has allowed the second fewest doubles in the WAC (7). He also leads the conference in games started with 11 in 2010.
A handful of Bulldog pitchers, Matt Morse, Charlie Robertson and Derek Benny haven't allowed opposing batters to hit triples. Benny has allowed only two home runs, which third best in the conference.
The Bulldogs are among the top three in many statistics categories. The `Dogs lead the league in assists (493) and strikeouts looking (82).
Fresno State is second in the conference in plate appearances (1,657), innings pitched (364.2), triples (12), wins (24), batters struck out (273) and double plays fielded (49).
The `Dogs are third in the WAC in home runs (51), doubles (93), runs batted in (268) and sacrifice bunts (23).
Conference-Only Statistics (Stats for WAC games only):
The Bulldogs lead conference play in triples (5), strikeouts (86) and strikeouts looking (30). They are second in league games in sacrifice bunts with four.
Ribera leads the conference in runs batted in (19) and home runs (7) in 12 games.
Muno leads in walks with 14 in 12 WAC games.
The Bulldog pitcher make up three of the top four in strikeout totals. Gonzalez leads with 18 while Poytress is in second with 16 and Robertson has 14 in fourth. Poytress has the lowest ERA in league play at 1.76.
Brennan Gowens leads the conference in triples with two in 12 games.
The Bulldogs take a break from conference play and host Dallas Baptist for a three-game series April 29 - May 1.
Success on the Mound
The Bulldogs have had countless talent come through the program and move on to the next level of baseball. Among that elite group is an impressive list of pitchers who had great professional careers including, Mark Gardner, Jeff Weaver and Bobby Jones.
Currently, two former Bulldogs, Matt Garza and Doug Fister are shining in the major leagues.
Garza and the red hot Tampa Bay Rays are 10-4 in the first month of the 2010 season. Garza is off to his best start of his professional career. He has a perfect 3-0 record in his first three starts. Garza's most recent outing and win was recorded on a Sunday afternoon at the famous Fenway Park. Garza couldn't have done any better on baseball's biggest stage.
Against the Red Sox, Garza threw eight scoreless innings and allowed five hits. The scoreless innings helped his ERA drop to an impressive 0.75. Garza also has logged 19 strikeouts in the books this year.
The same year the Bulldogs played in the College World Series, Garza and the Rays were en route to the World Series. In 2008, he was named the ALCS Most Valuable Player and made his first appearance in the World Series.
Fister got the call to join the Mariners in August of 2009 and in his first start he threw six innings of one-hit ball. He finished the 2009 season with a 3-4 record and an ERA of 4.13. He struck out 36 batters in 61.0 innings.
In 2010, Fister is off to a 2-1 start and the Mariners are 8-7. In his last outing, Fister fired a no-hitter through six innings before giving up a single run in the seventh inning against the Orioles. The six scoreless innings helped lower his ERA to 1.42, which is the second lowest ERA on Seattle's roster.
Some current Bulldogs are having career-high outings and dominating on the mound. In early March, Matt Morse threw a complete-game shutout against ranked Cal State Fullerton. The senior has thrown two complete-game shutouts and was named WAC Pitcher of the Week for his performance.
Greg Gonzalez made his first career start over Hawai'i in the opening weekend of conference action. The junior threw the first no-hitter in 34 years and became one of only seven to accomplish the feat. After shutting down the Rainbows, Gonzalez earned three national pitcher of the week honors, WAC Pitcher of the Week and named Baseball America's Pitcher of the Night.
Gonzalez followed his no-hitter outing with a seven inning outing where he recorded 10 strikeouts, a personal best and team high in 2010.
Sophomore Charlie Robertson recorded a career-high of his own in the finale. The right-hander struck out nine Louisiana Tech batters in six innings. His previous best was four strikeouts.
The Bulldogs are second in the WAC and are looking to win their fifth-straight conference crown. If the `Dogs pitchers continue to perform like they have the last couple outings the road to a league championship is within reach.
Traveling With the Bulldogs
Fresno State athletic teams spend countless hours on buses and planes traveling from one event to the next each season. They log thousands of miles each year in the WAC, which spans from Louisiana to Hawai'i. Every student-athlete and team has their own remedy for curing the boredom that occurs on the road.
The Softball team watches a lot of movies, work on their home work and listens to their iPod. Football student-athletes follow along the same lines and spend a lot of time sleeping, watching movies, listening to music and talking.
The women's basketball team watches a lot of movies, spend time chatting and even sing on the bus. The Bulldog Volleyball team adds dance parties and Lacy Gera entertaining everyone to mix of watching movies, talking and doing home work.
But the baseball team stands alone in the variety of activities that they spend time doing on road trips. Easily on any bus trip or plane ride there are at least three different card games being played, if you look down the aisle of the bus you will see clusters of guys playing a variety of card games.
Recently, the baseball team spent six hours driving back from a tournament in San Diego. Two of the Bulldogs found a unique way to occupy their time on the long bus ride home. They wrote and composed a song about bus driver, Bill Sickles.
Sickles has been driving the Bulldog baseball team for the last five years. He has become a member of the team and safely gotten the `Dogs to and from every game. Below is the song by Josh Poytress and Tom Harlan created "Bill Drives the Bus."
Catching Up With Zac Bischoff
Zac Bischoff is one of five seniors on this year's Fresno State baseball team. The right-handed pitcher appeared in 25 games and made his first start against New Mexico State on May 24, 2009, where he threw a career-high five innings. Bischoff struck out 28 batters in 48 innings pitched last year. In 2010, Bischoff has made three appearances striking out two batters. Bischoff sat down with GoBulldogs.com and answered the tough questions.
Q: When and why did you start to play baseball?
A: When I was four because my older brother needed a catcher.
Q: What other sports did you play growing up?
A: I played basketball, football, golf, surfed and skateboarded.
Q: Why did you choose to attend Fresno State?
A: The tuition and a chance to play Division I baseball.
Q: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far as a student-athlete?
A: Playing baseball with Tom Mendonca.
Q: What do you still hope to accomplish as a student-athlete?
A: To get my degree and playing in Omaha at the College World Series.
Q: What's on your iPod?
A: Lil Wayne, lots of Lil Wayne.
Q: What do you like to do when you are away from the field?
A: Play golf.
Q: Name your favorite class...
Q: What is your game day routine?
A: Eat a sandwich from Whole Foods, play cards at the field and then get ready to throw.
Q: What are your expectations for your team this season?
A: Go to Omaha.
Q: Who has had the most influence on your life?
A: My mom, brother and dad.
Q: What are you plans following graduation?
A: I want to coach.
Q: What is the best advice you have received?
A: If you ain't first, you're last.
Q: Who is your favorite professional athlete?
A: Tiger Woods.
Q: If Hollywood were to make a movie about your life, which actor would play your role?
A: Alan from The Hangover.
Q: Describe the perfect meal...
A: Skirt steak and fettuccini alfredo.
Ribera Gains National Attention Jordan Ribera got quite a bit of attention after his opening weekend performance. The junior hit three home runs in the first four games against Nebraska. He had late inning heroics in the first game of the 2010 season after hitting a walk-off home run. But, the first baseman isn't new to hitting game-winning home runs. Last season, he hit the game-winning home run not once, but twice against New Mexico to make the Bulldogs the 2009 WAC Tournament champions. Ribera leads the team with six home runs in seven games. He was named a Primetime Performer by College Baseball 360 nadESPN showed Ribera a little love, click here and scroll down to see what they have to say about our own Jordan Ribera.
Fresno State the Team to Beat!
College Baseball Insider polled all the Western Athletic Conference coaches about the upcoming 2010 season and Fresno State has been named the team to beat this season. The Bulldogs were already named a preseason favorite in the annual WAC Coaches preseason poll.
Preseason Pitcher of the Year Derek Benny was named one of the best starting pitchers by College Baseball Insider and named the pitcher you don't want to face.
On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore Trent Garrison was named best catcher and best catcher arm. Preseason WAC Player of the Year Danny Muno was named one of the best pure hitters and Dusty Robinson was named one of the best power hitters in the WAC.
Click here for the complete list published by College Baseball Insider.
A Day in the Life of Tom Harlan
For a baseball player or any student-athlete their days are planned out from the time they wake up until their head hits the pillow. Left-handed pitcher Tom Harlan took a minute out of his busy day to share with us what goes on for him almost daily.
5:30 am: Wake up bright and early to get in my first work out of the day. Start the day off right with a warm up jog.
7:00 am: Breakfast time! Load up on all the fresh vegetables and fruit I can. It's also essential to get in some carbs in the morning, so toast completes my breakfast.
10:00 am: Starts the long hours in the classroom. Today I have three classes lined up, Nutrition, Music 74 and Kinesiology 116.
12:00 pm: Once class is over it is time to recharge the battery for practice. At lunch I eat anything I can get my hands on that is healthy, throw in a protein shake and I am ready to play ball.
1:00 pm: It's off to Beiden Field for practice. Practice includes PFPs, playing pepper, playing catch, throwing and swinging off the tee in the barn. Sometimes we throw in a little live game action.
5:00 pm: After a long hard practice we hit the gym, the second workout of the day for me. Lifting and working out with our strength and conditioning coach.
6:00 pm: After all the baseball and working out it's time to hit the books. I go straight to studying and getting my homework down.
7:00 pm: After a long day it's time for a big healthy dinner, some steak, vegetables and potatoes, the good stuff.
8:00 pm: after all the homework, baseball and eating it's time to relax with a little Call of Duty. I spend my free time beating Derek Benny, Jordan Ribera and Sean Bonesteele in Call of Duty. After winning a couple games I like to celebrate with ice cream.
10:00 pm: After the ice cream it's time to hit the sack and fall asleep in my comfy silk sheets and cuddle with my body pillow.
Almost two years later people still remember the 2008 College World Series team. The magical season ended in Omaha with the program's first national championship. A big reason in the Bulldogs winning was their attitude and commitment to winning as a team. The Bulldogs story was featured in a new book written by Pat Williams.
The current Senior Vice President of the Orlando Magic has written over 55 books. He works as a motivational speaker, who has made 150 appearances a year. Williams has spent the last 45 years working professional sports. He was the general manager of the 1983 World Champion Philadelphia 76ers and was the manager of the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks.
Williams latest book is entitled, "Extreme Dreams Depend on Teams." In the book, Williams describes that in order to make extreme dreams real it takes team work. Throughout the book, Williams retells inspiring stories of team work. One of the stories he retold was about the Bulldogs playing Omaha, Neb., where he praises the team for winning as a team. Williams sent a signed copy of the book to Coach Batesole.
It's never too early to think about baseball season! Most teams are wrapping up their fall practices and scrimmages in preparation for the 2010 season. While baseball season is only a few months away, it is also not too early to think about the College World Series and Omaha. This season is extra special for baseball, players, coaches and fans because it is the last year that the CWS will be held in the famous Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium. A baseball writer, Kendall Rogers, wrote on article on what it would take for the Bulldogs to return to Omaha in 2010. Click here to check out the article.
Bulldog baseball is winding down fall practices and workouts just as the 2009 MLB season is coming to a close. This year the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees are battling for the World Series Crown. The Bulldogs have had 21 former players drafted between the two organizations. The Phillies have selected 13 former Bulldogs, while the Yankees have drafted eight.
The highest a Bulldog was drafted by the Phillies was Dick Ruthven, who was the first overall pick in 1973 in the January regular phase. He made his MLB debut on April 17, 1973. Ruthven made 23 starts in his rookie season and finished the season 6-9 with a 4.21 earned run average. He played for the Phillies from 1973-75 and 1978-83.
Steve Wolf was the highest pick for the Yankee organization and he was drafted in the 5th round in 1990.
Former Bulldog outfielder Steve Susdorf is currently playing the Phillies organization. He is playing fall ball down in Arizona and will be cheering for his organization from afar with several teammates.
Current Bulldog Trent Soares' father was drafted by the Phillies in 1984 and was a 4th round pick.
The 2010 team was asked who they thought would win this years' World Series match up. An overwhelming majority of 21 guys on the 32-man roster believe that the Phillies will win it all. Another nine believe that it is the year of the Yankees. There were also two guys who didn't really care who the series.
Former Dogs Win Championship!
Former Fresno State Bulldogs Justin Wilson and Kent Sakamoto play for the Lynchburg Hillcats, who won the Carolina League crown last night. The Hillcats defeated the Salem Red Sox, 8-7.
Sakamoto hit .189 with 11 doubles, a home run, seven triples and 29 RBIs. Wilson earned a 6-8 record with a 4.50 ERA. HE started 26 games and struck out 94 in 116 innings.
Fister Makes MLB Debut
Former Fresno State pitcher Doug Fister's dreams came true Tuesday night when he made his first Major League Baseball start for the Seattle Mariners. Fister made his first appearance last Saturday against Tampa Bay and threw a scoreless ninth inning.
The scoreless inning trend carried over into his first start against the White Sox. Fister threw six scoreless innings and allowed one hit. Fister was in line to earn his first MLB win before the Mariners lost in the ninth inning.
Fister struck out four batters and walked four throwing 94 pitches. Fister is projected to start Sunday against the Yankees. Fister is the sixth former player of head coach Mike Batesole to make a 40-man MLB roster.
Fresno State Baseball Gets National Exposure
Click here to view the article. And below are the rankings and where Fresno State falls.
Fresno State Media Relations
May 30, 2009
How's Your Hand, Dusty?
The home plate umpired said the ball was a fair ball, despite the objects to Mike Batesole and welt on Robinson's left hand.
That halted a potential Bulldog rally, as Robinson and the next batter, Tommy Mendonca, have a combined 42 homeruns on the season.
San Diego State leads 2-0 heading into the bottom of the third inning.
May 30, 2009
"Road To Omaha"
I got a chance to see a copy of the book "Road to Omaha" written about the 2008 College World Series by Ryan McGhee, a senior writer from ESPN.
McGhee was given behind the scenes access to several teams during the College World Series, including the Bulldogs and he made the most of it. While I haven't read it from cover to cover, I did read some excellent stories that not only brought back great memories but also gave me insight to what was going on with the other seven teams while they were in Omaha.
Well done, Ryan. If you enjoyed "Underdogs to Wonderdogs" by Paul Loeffler, or just love college baseball I'd highly recommend "Road to Omaha".
Day four of the WAC Tournament has begun. The Bulldogs play host Hawaii tonight at 6 pm PT in the third round of the tournament. The team is pretty happy after last night's win over San Jose State (Benny threw his third complete game of the season. Mendonca and Robinson hit back-to-back home runs). The guys are relaxed and loose, which is when they play their best! Everyone is enjoying every minute of paradise in Honolulu, from the view at the ball park and hitting home runs over the fence to the beaches across the street from the hotel. The guys are enjoying the ocean and are swimming, surfing, or hanging out on the beach any chance they get. Luckily, none of the guys have gotten sun burnt, so they are still swinging for the fences.
We are about an hour away from the first pitch of today's doubleheader against Sacramento State. The Red Wave and heat has settled in to Hornet Field. Many bulldog fans have decided to hide from the sun in the parking Garage that is built right next to the field beyond left field. Fresno State followers made their presence known by hanging Bulldog blankets and t-shirts over the railing. Click here to follow today's game.
Hey Bulldog fans! It is time for a Bulldog blog and so here it is. Senior pitcher Holden Sprague helped me out with this blog and we want to show you the difference in his pitches. Holden has four main pitches, well five if you can't both of is fast balls. Here is a little info on the pitches and Holden as our wonderful hand model to show you the pitch before he releases.
The changeup is sometimes called an off-speed pitch, although that term can also be used simply to mean any pitch that is slower than a fastball. In addition, before at least the second half of the twentieth century, the term slow-ball was used to denote pitches not a fastball or breaking ball, which almost always meant a type of changeup. Therefore, the terms slow-ball and changeup could be used interchangeably.
The spin of a curveball moves in the opposite direction. This spin causes a curveball to "break", or drop down and sweep horizontally as it approaches home plate, thus frustrating the batter.
The Fresno State baseball team traveled to UC Davis for a mid week afternoon game. The Bulldogs travel tons of fans. When we went to Los Angeles to play Loyola Marymount half of Page Stadium was filled with Bulldog red. Today's game was the same story, as 72 students from Julien Elementary school took a field trip to the game. Tom Mendonca is an alumni of the elementary school. The Turlock students made signs and posted them all over Dobbins Stadium supporting the Bulldogs and Mendonca.
Mendonca Named Outstanding Male Athlete
Fresno State junior Tom Mendonca was named the Sportsmen of Stanislaus 42nd Outstanding Male Athlete Wednesday evening.
Each year the Sportsmen of Stanislaus hosts the Outstanding Athlete Awards and the SOS Club selects three finalists to honor for their achievements in sports throughout the year.
After a performance in Omaha that left baseball fans in awe, Mendonca earned many awards including College World Series Most Outstanding Player and numerous 2009 Preseason All-American awards.
The third baseman isn't the first Bulldog to win the award. Former Fresno State quarterback, Tom Brandstater, won the award last year.
Pepsi/Johnny Quik Time
The Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic is in its 31st year of existence and this year we have several familiar faces participating in the tournament. University of Portland is no stranger to Beiden Field. The Pilots have played in seven PJQ Tournaments. Coach Sperry is a favorite among Dugout Club members.
Coach Sperry and the Pilots aren't the only veterans of the tournament. Both Fresno State coaches Pat Waer and Matt Curtis have made appearances in the tournament as players. Curtis, a former Bulldog catcher, competed in four tournaments. Curtis and the `Dogs won the tournament twice in 1995 and 1996.
Waer actually competed in the tournament against Curtis in 1994. Waer and the Washington State Cougars visited Fresno won the tournament in '94.
The Bulldogs are currently tied in first place with Buffalo as both times are 3-1 entering today's games. The `Dogs play CSUB tonight at 6:05 p.m. and face Buffalo tomorrow at 6:05 p.m.
Pride Never Dies
When batters hit the home plate and pitchers take the mound for a good ole' game of Bulldog baseball at Beiden Field, Fresno State alumnus and former spirit squad member Inman Perkins' voice leads fans and followers as he takes a stand in his red Bulldog jersey on the concrete top of the home dugout to lead the crowd in cheers.
Perkins attended Fresno State 1965-1967, when he cheered on his fellow Fresno State Bulldogs in Basketball, Football and Volleyball. Since then, Perkins has continued to make his voice heard, establishing a 44-year legacy of not only Bulldog chants and cheers but also his dedication to sustain a commitment of pride to Fresno State athletics.
"I came back in the 1977 and attended a game at the baseball field before when it was just bleachers," said Perkins. "My wife told me to get up and do a cheer, so I did and that is really how I started cheering at these games."
Perkins leads fans at over 90 percent of home baseball and football games, using cheers he creates with the ever-changing status and nature of the game.
"When the bases are loaded with Bulldogs, I like to yell at the pitcher, "You've got a Bulldog to your left and to your right, and right behind you"", said Perkins.
And the crowd is extremely receptive. Perkins' cheers reach all corners of the stadium when he yells with a solid voice, "B-U-L-L-D-O-G-S" or "F-R-E-S-N-O", and each section replies even louder. His positive energy and bright force is refreshing for all of those he reaches, proving that even decades later, Bulldog pride never dies.
The Bulldogs are leading, 11-1, in the bottom of the third inning against the Buffalo Bulls. The `Dogs have eight hits and no errors. Gavin Hedstrom hit a two-run home run in the first inning, his first of the season.
The Bulldogs tied the record for most walks in a single inning. Seven Bulldogs were walked in the first inning and the last time that happened was on March 8, 1983 against Cal Poly.<>
With two starts and a win under his belt, Jake Floethe has started his sophomore campaign with 10 strikeouts and a .69 ERA. He has caught the attention of Fresno and the Valley. He has even been featured on a new local website valleysportspulse.com. Click here to read the story on Floethe.
We made it to Eugene! The team was able to get on the brand new PK Park field yesterday and get in a practice before this afternoon's game against the Oregon Ducks. The team woke early for breakfast and is now studying before getting ready for the game. While the `Dogs are studying for school, we gathered some notes for Red Wave fans to study as well. Here is what some of the abbreviations mean that you see in the play-by-plays, box scores and overall stats after each game.
AB: at bat
AVG: batting average
BB: base on balls (walk)
FC: fielder's choice
GDP: ground into double play
HBP: hit by pitch
HR: home run
IBB: intentional walk
LOB: left on base
OBP: on base percentage
RBI: runs batted in
SB%: stolen base percentage
SF: sacrifice fly
SH: sacrifice hit
Base Running Statistics
CI: catcher's interference
DP: double play
FP: fielding percentage
PB: passed ball
TP: triple play
The Bulldogs face the Ducks today at 2 p.m. and the game can be heard on KMJ 580 or watch live stats at www.goduck.com.
As today kicks off the 2009 baseball season everyone still remembers the Bulldogs. Their improbable run sparked the attention of the nation. Even in Omaha, the home of the College World Series, they still remember what the Bulldogs accomplished last season. Here is an article written in the Omaha World Herald about the Bulldogs. The author even enlisted the help of former Bulldog Augie Garrido, who had all kinds of great things to say about the Bulldogs. Here is the story.
College Baseball Preview: Fresno win inspires other teams
Parity in college baseball is nothing new.
Louisiana-Lafayette, San Jose State, Missouri State, Louisville and UC Irvine qualified for the College World Series this decade. And it all happened before Oregon State won its second straight national title in 2007.
Still, the story of the Beavers, who play a formidable Pac-10 schedule, falls short of the unlikelihood of Fresno State.
Remember the Bulldogs? They finished 37-27 in the regular season and last June stormed through San Diego as the No. 4 regional seed (out of four teams) to become a supposed super-regional sacrifice at the hands of Arizona State.
Except Fresno took the final two of three in Tempe, where ASU had previously won 38 of 41 games. In Omaha, as the popular pick to go winless, Fresno won three more elimination games and the national title over Georgia.
So it raises the question: Who's ready to be the next Fresno State?
Better question: Can anyone match Fresno's postseason magic?
Fresno accomplished the unthinkable without playing a home game after May 11. It lost its ace pitcher to a shoulder injury before the postseason.
Parity was Oregon State. Fresno State was something more - something that resonates among coaches as the Division I season opens nationally Friday.
Now more than ever, February expectations mean little.
You want to reach the top in college baseball? Follow the Bulldogs.
"The biggest reason Fresno won is because they became invincible," Texas coach Augie Garrido said. "They became warriors on the field. They became superheroes, playing through pain, playing through adversity, believing in themselves."
Full disclosure: Garrido is a Fresno State graduate and played in the 1959 CWS for the Bulldogs.
"It was a tremendous show of the importance of attitude and teamwork," said Garrido, who has the most coaching victories in major college baseball history. "You saw a bunch of kids with bloody noses and broken fingers, sweaty brows and torn-up uniforms. It just is the magic that belongs to college baseball."
There was more at work than magic.
Fresno got a sensational performance from third baseman Tommy Mendonca, the sophomore who set an NCAA record with 97 strikeouts but morphed into an Omaha superstar, stopping everything with his glove and homering four times in the CWS.
Steve Detwiler, another sophomore, hit two homers and doubled in the title game. Many pitchers stepped up when Tanner Scheppers went down.
All of it carries significance for the teams hoping to follow the Bulldogs' path.
"I thought it was remarkable," Kansas coach Ritch Price said. "We all can look back to that and to Oregon State, and it just goes a long way for the growth of the sport. It's mind-boggling to think where college baseball has come in the past 10 years."
In a poll released Tuesday, Big 12 coaches picked the Jayhawks to finish last in the conference.
But preseason polls are nothing to sweat, especially after the past few June displays, according to Texas A&M coach Rob Childress. Baseball America ranks his Aggies at No. 1 this preseason.
"It gives baseball fans something to talk about for three or four weeks," Childress said. "But our team, just like everybody else, hasn't done anything."
Kansas won the Big 12 tournament as recently as 2006. Do it again and even the Jayhawks would have reason to believe - and supporting evidence - they could advance much further.
"I think (Fresno State) definitely shows that if a team gets hot and is playing its best baseball at the right part of the season, you can be really dangerous," Price said. "We feel like we could have accomplished that same thing and got to Omaha."
The 2009 season is a little over 48 hours away. I think I speak for the entire baseball team when I say we are really excited for Friday's game. The guys are ready to take the field again, and most of them have been ready since June. In honor of the first game of the 2009 season the Bulldogs share the hardest team they have faced thus far.
Sean Bonesteele: Arizona State, they had the best lineup in the world.
Jace Brown: Riverside JC, they had all the positions and experienced coaching. They also had five players get drafted or sign with a D-I team.
Danny Grubb: Arizona State because they had the best lineup I have seen in four years and North Carolina because they had the best overall team when it comes to offense and defense.
Gavin Hedstrom: Arizona State. They had the strongest lineup one through nine.
Nick Hom: North Carolina. They had everything, good pitching and good hitting.
Jake Johnson: Arizona State because they were just flat out good.
Cody Kendall: Clovis West because they had a good lineup all around.
Dane McLaughlin: Cypress College. They had good coaches and found a way to win no matter what.
Josh Poytress: The "A" team, which is all the starters from last year's team.
Charlie Robertson: The south team from the North-South showcase. The south team was loaded with talented players.
Trent Soares: Georgia because they had great coaches and players.
Don't miss the opening weekend of Bulldog baseball as the `Dogs take on Washington for a three-game series.
A Field of Memories
I grew up across the street from a sports complex in Vancouver, Wash. In the fall and winter you could hear the screams of soccer fans and as the rain dried out and the days grew longer you could hear the chants of baseball fans. Some of the best memories of my childhood took place on those fields.
Field six was the home of my first season of softball, where I played catcher because I didn't want to run. No, I am not lazy, I played soccer almost year round and when my parents made me play another sport I wanted to sit behind home plate. Needless to say my softball career only lasted that first season. I still came back to the baseball fields to watch though. We would make t-shirts to support the Cascade All-Stars each May and hope that maybe this was the year that they would make it to the Little League World Series. As much as I loved watching the games, I thought it was more entertaining to watch the little kids fight over the foul balls for a piece of laffy taffy.
These fields were also home to my soccer career. I remember the tournaments in the summer when my team (First the Heartbreakers and four or five teams later the Mystique) would hang out all day eating snow cones and learning the dance from Men in Black. There was the time it started snowing and we kept on playing or sliding in the mud after winning a game. Winning our first league championship and having my best friend on the team move away. Those soccer fields were more than just fields. The field was where I met some of my best friends and learned what it meant to be on a team. I could go on and on about the great times I had either on the soccer field or baseball field.
As the opening day of Bulldog baseball at Beiden Field fast approaches, I would like to hear from you, Bulldog fans. What are some of your favorite memories at Beiden Field or any other field you have spent many hours watching baseball? Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) your memories and I will post them on here!
The spring season is just around the corner, which means long days at Pete Beiden Field. Last weekend was my first day out on the field. Camp was going on and I thought I would stop by. Let me tell you baseball is a dangerous sport! I give the student-athletes tons of credit if a ball was coming at me 95 MPH, I would run. Within the first 10 minutes at the field I almost got nailed in the face with ball. Since I was on my phone and talking to freshman Ryan Allgrove I missed the "heads up" warning. A few minutes later I caught the "heads up" warning only to look back and find Coach Waer laughing as I hid from nothing. So, I decided to help out my fellow field rookies and here are some ways to avoid getting nailed by a foul ball.
1. Stay off your phone if you're in an area prone to foul balls. (I made this mistake and nearly had a black eye.) I don't care if Brad Pitt is calling if you don't want to get hit go to the concourse.
2. Watch the field at all times. If you have your back to the field you have a better chance of getting hit, since you can't see the ball coming. (This was also another mistake I made.)
3. If you are going to carry out conversations with people at the ballpark pay attention to the conversation, but also the batter.
4. If you are watching the game and face-to-face with the batter I'd hide behind a fence. When a righty is up the first base side is more prone to a foul ball, but if a lefty is up the third base side is more prone to foul balls. To be on the safe side I like to sit right behind home plate.
5. Avoid sitting behind any signs. The signs block your view of the ball and they seem to always be a target for the ball throughout the nine innings.
As spring nears and the baseball season fast approaches, keep these tips in mind when heading to the ballpark.
Holden Sprague: I gave up a hit to Trent Diedrich of Pepperdine, who was my sister's boyfriend at the time.
Daniel Moultrie: In high school, I lost a ball in the sun when I was warming up and it hit me in the chest.
Derek Benny: I tripped over first base.
Jake Showers: My dog ran onto the field during a game and took the baseball in front of me.
Zac Bischoff: I fell into the dugout after a league championship game.
Kenny Wise: In my first varsity game, I slid for a ball near the fence and my foot got caught. I couldn't get myself out.
Steven Haynes: I tripped between first and second base on a pop-up.
Nick Hom: In middle school, I was going for a lay-up and I threw the ball off the bottom of the rim.
Matt Morse: I slipped in the mud while attempting to field a bunt.
Ryan Allgrove: In a basketball game, I shot a full court shot with three minutes left in the half because someone was counting down.
Trent Soares: I got a rebound and tried to score on the other team's basket.
Tom Mendonca: Not knowing what to say when Erin Andrews was interviewing me.
Charlie Robertson: I got hit by a line drive while running the bases and I fell.
Trent Garrison: I slipped at home plate and played it off like a slide.
Stephen Susdorf has quite an impressive resume for a guy weeks away from graduating college. He has excelled both academically and athletically at Fresno State. Susdorf was drafted at the end of his junior year, but decided he would rather pass up the opportunity to go pro for one last season with the Bulldogs and to earn his degree in Civil Engineering.
"It is hard to quantify what Susdorf has meant to our program over the last four years. He has represented Fresno State with class since the first day he stepped on to our campus," said Coach Mike Batesole.
The decision to return was proven to be a good one for Susdorf. He and his teammates won the National Championship and he is graduating Magna cum Laude with a degree in Civil Engineering.
"It definitely was the right decision to come back for my senior year and it has paid off and the College World Series experience was amazing," said Susdorf. "If I had signed as a junior it would have taken a lot longer to finish my degree and graduate."
Susdorf can add public speaker to the long list of accomplishments. He has been asked to speak at the engineering graduation.
"It is really cool and an honor to be the speaker," said Susdorf. "It is something that I have never done before, hopefully it goes well."
Susdorf stated that he plans to talk about his experiences of team work with the baseball team and relate it to the field of engineering.
"He has been outstanding on the field and is the program's career leader in RBIs (217), doubles (70), and runs scored (207). He is also in the top five in career games played, homeruns and hits," said Batesole. "Most importantly, he will graduate in Engineering with close to a 4.0 GPA. Susdorf was a tremendous leader in the clubhouse. He is a four-time Academic All-WAC selection and this year he earned Academic All-American honors. He is the major reason we have won three straight WAC Championships and the 2008 National Championship."
Once he has graduated, Susdorf plans to spend a couple of months at home and training before heads to spring training in March.
The book is in... well kind of. The official book, Underdogs to Wonderdogs, recapturing the Bulldogs 2008 season is in author Paul Loeffler's hands. Loeffler received five copies early and today brought it into the office for all to take a glimpse at months of hard work. He was more than happy with the outcome. It was more than anyone could imagine and there were a lot people working on this project. It is full of over 200 color photos of the magical journey. You can pre-order the book online at wonderdogsbook.com and let me tell you it is worth every penny. I got a chance to read through the book and I had every intention to just peak and glimpse through, but the book grabbed my attention and pulled me in. I watched the baseball team play against San Jose State and then the post season run. I saw the behind the scenes action and I couldn't put the book the down. It truly captures the magic of Bulldog baseball. Many thanks go to all that helped make this possible and contributed to the book. Paul Loeffler for loving the game of baseball, the Bulldogs and telling the story from inside the program. Fresno State athletics for their help, media relations, Steve Schaack, Steve Weakland, and especially Paul Ladwig, and Clarence Chiong. KMJ radio, Bill Woodward and Ray O'Canto. Kent Sorsky and everyone at Linden Craven Street Books/Linden Publishing. A big thanks to Minorwhite Studios and the Dugout club for all the pictures and making the book as colorful as it is. Finally, we would like to also thank the Collegiate Licensing Company and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. To pre-order your copy today visit wonderdogbook.com!