March 27, 2014
By: Matt Burkholder
Games 26-28: Fresno State Bulldogs (15-10, 5-4 MW) at San Diego State Aztecs (19-6, 5-4 MW)
First Pitch: Fri: 6pm, Sat: 6pm, Sun: 1pm
Stadium: Tony Gwynn Stadium
Dimensions: 340 (LF), 412 (CF), 340 (RF)
All-Time Series: Fresno State leads 60-57
Last Meeting: SDSU defeated FS, 4-0 (2013)
• Fresno State returns to conference play Friday at San Diego State for a three-game conference series. The 'Dogs (5-4 MW) last played a conference game on March 16.
• William Munro was named the Mountain West Pitcher of the Week on Monday
• Jordan Luplow's 18-game hitting streak was broke last weekend at Creighton, which tied for the fourth-best streak in the NCAA in the 2014 season
• Projected pitching matchups -
Friday, RHP Jordan Brink (2-1, 2.00 ERA) vs. RHP Bubba Derby (4-0, 2.60 ERA)
Saturday, RHP Tim Borst (1-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. LHP Mike RoBards (2-3, 5.03 ERA)
Sunday, RHP Jimmy Lambert (1-2, 4.82 ERA) vs. RHP Mark Seyler (4-2, 3.18 ERA)
• Brink returns to the role of Friday starter after surrendering spot to Velazquez last week
• The Bulldogs and Aztecs each own a 5-4 MW record. They are tied for third in the MW standings, behind UNLV (9-3) and New Mexico (6-3).
Fresno State vs. San Diego State - The Series
The Bulldogs and Aztecs will pair for the 118th meeting on Friday night at Tony Gwynn Stadium. Fresno State holds a slim all-time series lead, 60-57. The two played seven times in 2013 as Mountain West foe after just three meetings since the turn of the century. San Diego State edged the Bulldogs 4-3 in those games last season with the most important win coming in the Mountain West Tournament, the Aztecs defeated Fresno State 4-0 on May 24, 2013 to end the Bulldogs season. SDSU and Fresno State have shared conference affiliation in the California Collegiate Athletics Association (1939-69), the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (1969-78) and the Western Athletic Conference (1992-1999) prior to being reunited in the MW for the 2012-13 season.
Scouting San Diego State
San Diego State is led by MLB Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. Gwynn enters his 12th season as the skipper of the Aztecs. Gwynn, the fourth head baseball coach in Aztec history and owns 340-348 career mark. Gwynn guided SDSU to it first conference tournament championship since 2000 at the inaugural MW tournament held in Fresno last season. In 2004, Gwynn led his squad to the Mountain West Conference regular-season championship and was named the MW coach of the year. SDSU is off to its best start in the Tony Gwynn era and the programs best start since 1984 at 19-6.
Offensively, the SDSU is led by sophomore Ty France. He leads his team and the MW conference in batting average (.409), doubles (12) and total bases (62). France is in a four-way tie for most home runs in the conference with four along with Bulldogs' Jordan Luplow and Taylor Ward. Michael Cederoth, the Aztecs closer has a MW-lead nine saves and ranks in the NCAA Top-5 in that category.
Last Time Out
On Tuesday, March 25, No. 15 UC Santa Barbara posted single runs in the ninth and tenth innings to come from behind and defeat Fresno State 5-4 at Beiden Field. The Gauchos tied it in the ninth and plated the go-ahead run in the extra frame. The Bulldogs trailed 3-2 in the eighth until Chris Mariscal lifted a 0-2 offering to deep left field that carried to left field wall, the ball skimmed off the glove of the left fielder and went over the fence to put FS in front 4-3. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the lead was gone as quick as they owned it as UCSB answered back in the next frame. Robby Nesovic led off the ninth with a double down the left field line, a bunt single by Jackson Morrow on an 0-2 count followed by a wild pitch tied the game at four a piece to send the game to extras. Connor Chase, the eighth pitcher of the game for the Bulldogs, entered in the 10th and surrendered the leadoff single up the middle that led to the game winner.
Beiden Field vs. the Cold Road
Fresno State has played 16 of its 25 games at home this season and earned 11 of its 15 wins in front of the home crowd. On the road the Bulldogs own a 4-5 record and most recently dropped two at Creighton last weekend. Out of nine road games, four games were played at 50 degrees or colder having two of the three road series played at Air Force and Creighton. The coldest was the most recent away game in Omaha that had a game-time temperature of 32 degrees. The Bulldogs have had games postponed due to snow at Air Force and cancelled at Creighton due to below freezing temps.
Statistically, the Bulldogs own a .257 team batting average and 3.07 team-ERA on the road through nine games. In 16 home games the 'Dogs own a .296 team batting average and 2.92 team-ERA.
Fresno State Against the Mountain West
In conference play the Bulldogs are 5-4, tied with the Aztecs for third in the MW standings behind UNLV (9-3) and New Mexico (6-3). Entering its series vs. San Diego State this weekend the Bulldogs have not faced a Mountain West opponent since being swept at home against New Mexico, March 14-16. Three of the Bulldogs five wins against the MW came on Feb. 21-23 with a three-game sweep of Nevada, the Bulldogs won its series at AFA two games to one on March 7-9. In nine MW games, six Bulldog hitters own a batting average better than .300 with Jordan Luplow leading the pack at .457 (16-for-35). As a team in MW play, Fresno State is batting .301 behind the dish while its opponents are hitting .279.
William Munro Named Fourth Recipient of a MW Weekly Award this Season
On Monday, March 3 the Mountain West selected junior William Munro as its MW Baseball Pitcher of the Week, the fourth Bulldog to be honored with a MW pitcher or players of the week honor this season. Behind a complete game shutout, Munro led the Bulldogs to their first win over the Cal Bears since 2004 and broke an eight-game skid against the Pac-12 foe. In the longest outing of his career, the San Marcos, Calif. native surrendered just three hits in 9.0 innings pitched. Additionally, Munro allowed only one walk against 30 batters faced, while striking out six. To close the game Munro retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced and did not allow a base runner past first base through the final seven innings of the game. It was Munro's first career MW weekly award.
Going, Going, Going, Gone
Fresno State leads the Mountain West with 13 home runs, 11 at home and two on the road. Individually, Jordan Luplow and Taylor Ward each have four homers, tied with two Aztecs, Brad Haynal and Ty France for the MW lead. Chris Mariscal and Trent Woodward each have two home runs while Kevin Viers owns one. Defensively, the Fresno State pitching staff has surrendered just two home runs on the season which ranks No. 1 in MW.
From the Rotation to the Bullpen
RHP Jordan Brink owned five Friday night starts before seeing work out of the bullpen in his last two appearances. In his first appearance out of the pen, he earned his first career save versus BYU on March 19. Brink leads the MW with a .181 opposing BA.
Talk a Walk
With 19 base on balls, Brody Russell leads the Mountain West in that category. Despite a .217 batting average, Brody Russell has a .432 on base percentage, the second-best percentage on the team behind Jordan Luplow (.438). Russell's on base percentage ranks as the fifth-best in the MW while Luplow's is the third-best in the conference.
TD Ameritrade Park Busts Luplow's Hitting Streak at 18
Jordan Luplow's hitting streak was snapped at 18 games last weekend (March 21) at TD Ameritrade Park. The 18-game hitting streak was the longest of Luplow's career, besting the previous mark of 11 he set as a freshman in 2012. The junior outfielder began the streak on Feb. 19 at home against Sacramento State before being broke a month later. In those 18 games Luplow owned a .394 batting average with a .488 on base percentage and .697 slugging percentage, all team bests. He scored 15 runs and had 17 RBIs and four home runs in that 18-game span too.
"Catch the Wave" - 2014 Fresno State baseball season tickets are now on sale and can be ordered online at gobulldogs.com or over the phone at 559-278-DOGS (3647). The official home of the Fresno State Bulldogs is 940 AM ESPN Radio.
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