May 20, 2011
FRESNO, Calif. - Winning WAC championships is becoming a routine for the Bulldog baseball program.
On Friday, with all of their conference games under their belt, the Bulldogs earned a share of the 2011 WAC regular season championship. It marked the sixth consecutive year the Dogs will need to order championship rings.
Winning the title was somewhat bittersweet, as the Dogs got the news of their championship at Beiden Field in the midst of a 6-0 non-conference loss to Cal State Bakersfield in the first game of a three-game series. The final two games of the series will be played at Hardt Field in Bakersfield, Calif., Saturday and Sunday as the Dogs conclude the regular season.
No. 19 Fresno State (37-12, 17-7) earned at least a share of the WAC crown when Hawai'i (31-23, 16-7) suffered a mercy rule loss at New Mexico State 18-8. The Aggies and Rainbows conclude the WAC regular season Saturday in Las Cruces, N.M. A Hawai'i loss will give the Bulldogs the WAC title alone and the No. 1 seed in next week's WAC Tournament in Mesa, Ariz.
The conference title streak was historic for Mike Batesole, a two-time national coach of the year in his ninth season at Fresno State. Winning as many consecutive championships in a league only happened once before in Bulldog history. The Dogs won six straight Northern California Baseball Association titles from 1979-84.
"This is a great day for Bulldog Baseball," said Batesole. "Six years in a row with a ring is great for our program. Add to that it was very important for our Senior class to keep the streak moving forward and to have a 3rd WAC Championship ring to go along with their National Championship ring. This 2011 club has worked very hard and they have earned it."
"It's exciting," said four-time WAC champion Jordan Ribera. "Obviously, we were hoping New Mexico State would do something and they came up big for us. Now we get a ring and continue the legacy here. Tonight was fun to get my last at-bats at Beiden. It's been a fun four years, but now we look forward to two more games against Bakersfield and then the WAC Tournament."
The Roadrunners jumped ahead early scoring two runs right away in the first inning taking a 2-0 lead on four hits and a Bulldog error.
Ribera recorded the first hit of the night for the Dogs. The first baseman hit single into right field in the second inning. The Bulldogs ended the night with four hits and Pat Hutcheson going 2-for-2 at the plate.
Starter Josh Poytress sat the batters down in order 1-2-3 in the third inning with a strikeout, a ground out and a fly out. He struck out four batters on the night and allowed two earned runs in six and two-thirds innings.
The Roadrunners tacked on four late inning run to shutout the Dogs 6-0.
"We Are Your Team!" The Bulldogs continue the three-game series against the Roadrunners on Saturday, May 21 in Bakersfield. The Dogs head to Mesa, Ariz. for the WAC Tournament May 24-29. For tickets log on to wacsports.com.
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