Dogs Play Georgia Tough in Game 1
June 24, 2008
OMAHA- - In a classic college baseball game fitting for a national championship, the Fresno State Bulldogs and Georgia Bulldogs went to the wire at the College World Series. Georgia scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning after Fresno State scored three in the top half of the same inning to win 7-6 in front of 19,559 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium.
Among the dignitaries at the College World Series championship series included Omaha native and business mogul Warren Buffett and Major League Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.
Georgia has a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series that continues Tuesday at 4 p.m. on ESPN. For the fifth time in the NCAA tournament and the second time in three days, Fresno State faces an elimination game. The Dogs are 4-0 in those games. The Dogs were in a similar situation after dropping the opener of a three-game series against No. 3 Arizona State in the Super Regional round.
Fresno State is competing for its first national championship in baseball.
The Bulldogs are the first No. 4 seed to reach the finals of an NCAA championship in any sport, and their path has seen them earn eight wins over teams ranking in the Top 20. That included two over No. 2 North Carolina, two over No. 3 Arizona State, beat No. 5 Rice, two wins over No. 6 San Diego and tournament opening win at No. 11 Long Beach State.
Both of Fresno State's losses in the College World Series were by one run each. Fresno State's other loss was to No. 2 North Carolina 4-3.
"That was a good college baseball game there," said Fresno State head coach Mike Batesole. "I think if you told me we'd hold that offense to seven with the arms we had, I'd take it. Give them a lot of credit. I knew with the arms we had, we wouldn't strike out many, but I thought we'd have more strikeouts than one. Give them credit. They did a good job."
Batesole's dilemma heading into the game was determining his pitching rotation stemmed from his depleted starting pitching, as neither Justin Wilson, Justin Miller, nor Sunday's starter Clayton Allison were not available.
He called on sophomore Sean Bonesteele (2-2, 6.75 ERA) was called on to start for the first time since May 6 at No. 9 Long Beach State. Entering Monday's game, his longest appearance of the season was four innings. Bonesteele closed out No. 5 Rice in Fresno State's first game of the CWS, a 17-5 win, pitching the final two innings against the Owls.
Georgia pitcher Trevor Holder (8-4, 4.45 ERA) and had 64 strikeouts in 104 innings pitched this season started the game.
Georgia scored first with one run in the first inning, on two hits a double and single to take a 1-0 lead.
All-WAC first baseman Alan Ahmady reached to open the second inning on an infield single, his seventh of the College World Series, second-most on the team. He was stranded on second base, the second Bulldog left in scoring position in the first two innings.
After Bonesteele set Georgia down in order in the bottom of the second inning, designated hitter Jordan Ribera, a freshman from Clovis West High School, drilled the first pitch of the third inning into the left field bleachers for his second homerun of the College World Series and fifth of the season. That tied the game 1-1.
The next batter, WAC Freshman of the Year Danny Muno hit a hard line shot back off Holder's leg. While he recovered to throw Muno out at first base, he took seven minutes to recover. He got the next two Dogs out.
In the bottom of the third, Tommy Mendonca made his second "web gem" play of the game, diving to snag a hard line drive near third base that would have likely been a double for Georgia.
Bonesteele set Georgia down in order for the second straight inning. He finished the game allowing two hits and one run in three innings, setting down last seven Georgia batters he faced.
Freshman Jake Floethe (1-1, 8.51 ERA) started the fourth inning for the Bulldogs, making his CWS debut.
Georgia added one run with two outs in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. Kris Tomlinson (2-1, 6.75 ERA) made his second CWS appearance with runners on first and third base. He has a 1-0 record and 0.00 ERA in the NCAA tournament. He got left fielder Lyle Allen on a ground out to Wetzel on his first pitch and stop the Georgia threat.
Fresno State took the field for the first time in the fifth on a big blast by an unsung hero in the tournament.
Catcher Ryan Overland walked to start the fifth inning. Overland has played well in the CWS with a .333 batting averaging and one homerun coming into game and has played exceptional defense.
Right fielder Steve Detwiler, who has really been hampered during the CWS with an injured hand, followed Overland and hit one of the longest homeruns of the 2008 CWS. The ball landed in the left field stands, just below the scoreboard to give the Bulldogs the lead for the first time at 3-2.
Detwiler entered the game with a .118 batting average in the CWS with two hits, one of those a double in Sunday's win over No. 2 North Carolina.
Tomlinson set Georgia down in order in the bottom of the fifth inning. He finished the game throwing just 11 pitches, eight of those for strikes.
With one out in the sixth inning, Susdorf drilled a ball to the right center gap and raced all the way to third base for a triple, his third of the season and seventh of his career. Ahmady, the next batter, drew a walk, but the Bulldogs couldn't get either home.
Senior Jason Breckley (3-2, 7.54) made his 21st appearance of the season and second of the CWS when he entered in the sixth inning. He earned the win over No. 2 North Carolina in a relief role last Tuesday.
Mendonca continued to wow the Rosenblatt crowd with excellent his amazing glove, scooping two hard ground balls and make easy throws to get Georgia players out in the sixth inning.
Georgia tied the game 3-3 with a pair of hits in the sixth inning.
Breckley set down Georgia on order in the seventh inning serving up a couple ground balls and finishing the job with a strikeout.
A big eighth inning by the Bulldogs in which they scored three runs on a homerun and two doubles opened the game up in Fresno State's favor.
Left handed pitcher Alex McCree (8-5, 4.24 ERA) replaced Holder in the eighth inning and proceeded to walk the first Bulldog he faced, Wetzel.
On the first pitch to Susdorf, the Bulldogs executed a perfect hit-and-run play as Susdorf hammered the ball into right center field for a double and Wetzel, running on the play, scored from first base to give Fresno State a 4-3 lead. It was the 214th RBI of his career and the 84th of the season.
After Georgia All-America shortstop Gordan Beckman made a great double play off a line drive by Ahmady to get Susdorf out at second, Mendonca jacked his third homerun of the College World Series, providing a souvenir in the left centerfield stands and adding to the Bulldog lead at 5-3. Mendonca leads the Bulldogs with 18 homeruns, sixth most in Bulldog single season history. His 28 career homeruns are tied for seventh all-time.
Fresno State leads the CWS with 10 team homeruns.
Overland was hit by a pitch which prompted another pitching change by Georgia as Justin Earls (2-1, 6.14 ERA) entered the game to face Detwiler. Detwiler drilled a double to left center field and Overland scored to give the Dogs a 6-3 lead.
Wil Harvil (1-1, 3.68 ERA) came in to get Georgia out of the inning.
Georgia answered in a big way by scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 7-6 lead.
After a lead-off single by Georgia in the bottom of the ninth, Fresno State's career saves leader Brandon Burke (4-5, 3.00 ERA) was handed the ball by Batesole.
Beckham took an 0-1 pitch over the left field wall for his 27th homerun of the season, which is tied for the NCAA lead and pulled Georgia to within one run at 6-5. Two batters later, Georgia tied the game on a double to left field on a hit and run play by Cerione. He moved to third base on the throw to the plate.
An RBI double by Lewis gave Georgia the lead at 7-6.
Georgia brought in All-American and National Stopper of the Year Joshua Fields in the ninth inning, who closed out the game.
"That was just a great college baseball game," said Georgia head coach Dave Perno. "It's what you'd expect in a national championship series. Fortunately, we have Beckham and Fields in our dugout because in big games great players step up."
Fresno State will play Georgia in the second game of the series Tuesday at 4 p.m. PT. The game will be shown live on ESPN.
Detwiler expects his team mates to be ready for Tuesday's elimination game.
"It was like this at Arizona State," he said. "We've been here before. I know we'll do everything we can to come back tomorrow. It'll be a dogfight."
2008 College World Series Results and Schedule
Sunday, June 15
Monday, June 16
Tuesday, June 17
Wednesday, June 18
Friday, June 20
Saturday, June 21
Sunday, June 22
Monday, June 23 (Championship Series-Game One)
Tuesday, June 24 (Championship Series-Game Two)
Wednesday, June 25 (Championship Series-Game Three if necessary)
Bulldog Shop Has CWS Gear
Join the State - Fresno State! The Bulldog baseball will compete for the 2008 NCAA baseball championship against Georgia in the College World Series championship series. The two schools will play a best of three series at Rosenblatt Stadium. All Fresno State games from the CWS can be heard in the Valley on KMJ Radio and seen nationally on ESPN.