Dogs Pound Georgia 19-10
June 24, 2008
OMAHA - Just when things looked bleak, being down 5-0 early in an elimination game against a team that hadn't lost in the College World Series, the never-say-die Fresno State Bulldogs answer for 15 runs over three innings and cruised to a 19-10 win over Georgia.
The teams will meet again Wednesday at 4 p.m. PT for the NCAA baseball championship, each team winning one game in the best of three series at historic Rosenblatt Stadium.
As has been their trademark during the entire NCAA tournament, the Dogs saved their best for elimination games. Fresno State won its fifth elimination game after putting up 19 runs against a Georgia team that won the Southeastern Conference, the most run it has allowed all season.
The Bulldogs got some gutty pitching performances, especially from Jake Hower who made his first appearance in the post season. He earned his first save of the year and allowed just one hit in three innings for work. He struck out three Georgia batters.
A crowd of 17,223 attended the championship series games and now more than 300,000 fans have attended the 2008 College World Series.
Fresno State, which hadn't been to the CWS since 1991, got there by taking a tough path that included winning the Long Beach Regional and Tempe Super Regional, with wins along the way over No. 3 Arizona State, No. 6 San Diego and No. 11 Long Beach State.
The Dogs' NCAA tournament victims include conference champions from the Big West (Long Beach State), Conference USA (Rice), Pac-10 (Arizona State), SEC (Georgia) and West Coast Conference (San Diego).
"It wasn't the first time this club has answered the bell when it had to," said head coach Mike Batesole. "I thought they worked hard for every out we got today. It was one win. Today puts us in a place where we have a chance to win tomorrow. This club has a lot of heart. I keep saying that because it is true. They've been going, going, going and we're going to go for another nine innings tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day that is important. So far tomorrow we haven't had any. It's another game tomorrow. Win. Lose. We have another game tomorrow."
The Bulldogs opened the College World series with a victory over No. 5 Rice and had two wins over No. 2 national seed North Carolina to advance to the championship series.
The Dogs were 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.
Fresno State stands just nine innings from winning its first national baseball championship.
Along the way came unprecedented national media attention for the program, as the underdog "WonderDogs" earned fans from all across the nation. Nearly 1,000 media members covered the College World Series this season and each Bulldog game of the Super Regionals and College World Series were on national TV.
Because of Fresno State's amazing late season run in the postseason, head coach Mike Batesole was named the 2008 National Coach of the Year, the second time in 10 years he's won the award.
Rain peppered Omaha for much of the day and a severe thunderstorm with lightning rolled over Rosenblatt Stadium approximately three hours before the game that delayed the start of the game by nearly 30 minutes. The field crew at the College World Series did a terrific job of handling several games affected by the severe weather.
CWS game-two starter Justin Miller (6-4, 5.10 ERA) started for the Bulldogs on the mound. Miller, a 15th round draft pick of the Texas Rangers, has 78 strikeouts on the season and was made his third appearance in the College World Series.
Georgia starting pitcher Nick Montgomery (8-4, 4.45 ERA) was starting for the fifth time this season. He beat North Carolina State in the Super Regional.
Georgia jumped on Fresno State with three runs in the top of the first inning on four sharp singles. The damage could have been worse as Georgia left the bases loaded.
Things look good for Fresno State in the bottom of the first when Bulldog shortstop Danny Muno drew his sixth walk of the College World Series. Gavin Hedstrom hit a ground ball to the shortstop who threw to second base to force Muno out, but the second baseman didn't field it cleanly. The umpire called Muno out on the play, as ESPN replays clearly showed the second basemen never had the ball. While Bulldog coach Mike Batesole argued the call, nevertheless, the play stood. Erik Wetzel then closed the inning by grounding into a double play.
Georgia added one more in the second and third innings to take a 5-0 lead over Fresno State.
That's when the Bulldogs exploded for 15 runs over the next three innings (six runs on four hits in the third inning, five runs in the fourth and four more in the fifth) to take a large lead over their SEC foe.
"The biggest thing was there was no sense of panic," said left fielder Steve Susdorf. "To put it all together, it is definitely a pretty special feeling. It's hard to explain."
Junior Holden Sprague (5-2, 3.42 ERA) replaced Miller. Sprague made his fourth CWS appearance and entered the game without allowing an earned run in Omaha.
Montgomery threw a wild pitch to Erik Wetzel allowing Detwiler to score easily from third base and moving both other runners to third and second, respectively. Wetzel battled for a walk after a 3-2 count to load the bases.
WAC Player of the Year Susdorf then drilled a 3-1 pitch into right field to bring in two Dogs - Ribera and Muno - to bring the Dogs to within two runs at 5-3.
Two batters later, Mendonca continued to take the College World Series by storm taking the first pitch into the right field bleachers for a three-run home run and giving the Bulldogs a 6-5 lead. He has 11 RBIs in the College World Series.
It was his fourth homerun in Omaha, tying a College World Series record, and Fresno State's 11th of the series, most of any team.
Georgia answered with one run in the fourth inning to tie the score 6-6.
Detwiler singled for the second straight at bat to start the fourth inning, followed by a Ribera who singled up the middle and moved to Detwiler to third base.
Detwiler has been plagued this series by an injured hand, but has been spanking the ball against Georgia, including a homerun Monday night.
Muno tripled to the gap in right center field to clear the bases and give the Bulldogs an 8-6 lead. It was the second triple of the season for Muno and his eighth RBI of the College World Series.
Wetzel hit a hard ball of the glove of Georgia All-American Gordan Beckham for a single into shallow left field that brought Muno home for the third run of the inning that gave Fresno State a 9-6 lead.
Ahmady ripped a double down the left field line, moving Wetzel to third base. It was his 17th double of the season.
Mendonca was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Catcher Ryan Overland made Georgia pay with a single to shallow left field to drive in two more Bulldog runs as Wetzel and Ahmady scored and Mendonca hustled into third base.
Overland, who has three RBIs and a homerun in the CWS, was injured on the play and had to leave the game. Senior Danny Grubb entered the line-up in his place.
Fresno State led 11-6 after four innings.
Sprague took care of Georgia in the top of the fifth inning.
Ribera drew a full-count walk to start the bottom of the fifth inning. Muno hammered a single to left field and Ribera ran to third base.
Hedstrom took the first pitch and drilled a stand-up double to left field, allowing Ribera to score and moved Muno to third base to make the scored 12-6. Hedstrom finished the game with two hits and two runs.
Wetzel grounded out to shortstop that drove in Muno and Fresno State took a 13-6 lead.
Susdorf then blasted a two-run homerun on a 1-1 pitch to right field for two more RBIs in the game and giving Fresno State a 15-6 lead. It was his second homerun of the College World Series, 39th in his career and which tied him for second in Fresno State history with Lance Shebelut (1987-88).
Susdorf's RBI numbers totals jumped to 218 for his career, adding to his all-time record, and 88 for the season, third-most all-time behind team mate Alan Ahmady, who ranks second in the NCAA in 2008 with 90, and Shebelut (1988), 94.
Muno displayed his glove skills in the top of the sixth with a brilliant back-handed grab of a ground ball behind second base that started an inning-ending double play.
Georgia scored four runs in the seventh inning and left with two on base.
Sophomore Jake Hower (2-1, 6.50 ERA) replaced Sprague and made his first appearance in the College World Series and first since May 17 against Sacramento State.
Hower struck out the first Georgia batter and the next hit an easy ground ball to first base, where Alan Ahmady, one of the nation's best defensive first basemen, made a rare error that allowed a second run to score, making the score 15-8 in favor of Fresno State. Hower walked the next batter for a 15-9 score and after a sacrifice fly scored the 10th run of the game for Georgia. Hower then served up a grounder that Muno took care of to get the Bulldogs out of the inning.
The Bulldog answered with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to score their 18th run of the game. It marked the second time in the CWS Fresno State scored 17 or more runs. The Dogs beat No. 5 Rice 17-5 in the opening game.
Hedtrom got hit in the hand to get on base to lead off the seventh inning. Wetzel then walked on a 3-1 count and Susdorf on a 3-0 count to load the bases with no outs.
Ahmady chopped a single to right with two strikes to drive in two runs, Hedstrom and Wetzel scoring on the hit and Susdorf went to third. That gave Ahmady 92 RBIs on the second, two behind NCAA leader Buster Posey from Florida State and two shy of the Bulldog single season record. Fresno State extended its lead to 17-10.
With one out, Grubb hit a fly ball to deep center field for a sac fly to score Susdorf and extend the lead to 18-10. It was the second RBI for Grubb in the NCAA tournament, who entered the College World Series hitting over .400 in postseason play.
Hower pitched well setting down Georgia in order in the top of the eighth.
Freshman catcher Jake Johnson came in as a pinch hitter and singled to right field. Trent Soares as pinch runner for Johnson moved to second when Muno added his third hit of the game a single to center field.
After Georgia made its sixth pitching change of the game, Hedstrom grounded into a fielder's choice that forced Soares out at third base and moved Muno to second.
Wetzel singled in Muno for Fresno State's 19th run of the game, most allowed by Georgia this season. It was the 112th base hit of the season for Wetzel, tying Shebelut and Tom Goodwin (1988) for most in a season in Bulldog history.
Hower closed out the game in the ninth by setting Georgia down in order and forcing a final game in the best of three series.
"It's pretty tough," said Georgia All-America shortstop Gordon Beckham. "They had a merry-go-ground going. They're a good team and anyone that thought they were out of it is crazy. We weren't caught off guard and we didn't let down. They just beat us. It'll be a battled of undefeated teams in elimination games. It's going to be a dog fight."
Fresno State and Georgia will conclude the three-game series at Rosenblatt Stadium at 4 p.m. The game will be televised live on ESPN.
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)
Bulldog Celebration Planned for Beiden Field
The public is welcome to come out to the ballpark and congratulate National Coach of the Year Mike Batesole and the 2008 Bulldogs - champions of the WAC Tournament, the NCAA Long Beach Regional and the NCAA Tempe Super Regional - for the team's remarkable run in the postseason that landed them in the College World Series championship series for the first time in school history.
Admission and parking will be free. First and third base gates open at 6 p.m.
Parking will be available in the Blue Lot on Bulldog Lane and the Red Lot on Cedar and Barstow (access from Cedar only). The parking lots open at 6 p.m.
Additional parking is available in Lot Q (Barstow east of Cedar, across from the North Gym).
The program will include university President John D. Welty, Mayor Alan Autry, Athletics Director Thomas Boeh and ASI President Mackee Mason. An autograph session will be held on the concourse immediately following presentations.
Concession stands will be open for purchase of bottled water. Tailgating will not be allowed in the parking lots.
Join the State - Fresno State! The Bulldog baseball will conclude its season at 2008 College World Series when it plays SEC Champion Georgia for the national championship Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Rosenblatt Stadium. The game can he heard live in the Valley on KMJ Radio and seen nationally on ESPN.