Baseball Preview: vs. No. 25 UNLV [April 4-6]
Head Coach Mike Batesole eyes 400th career victory at Fresno State at home vs. UNLV
April 3, 2014
By: Matt Burkholder
Games 30-32: No. 25 UNLV (20-8, 9-3 MW) at Fresno State Bulldogs (16-13, 6-6 MW)
Fresno State Game Notes
UNLV Game Notes
First Pitch: Fri: 6:35pm, Sat: 6:35pm, Sun: 1:05pm
Stadium: Beiden Field
Dimensions: 330 (LF), 400 (CF), 330 (RF)
All-Time Series: Fresno State leads 38-28
Last Meeting: FS defeated UNLV, 9-4 (2013)
Radio: AM 940 ESPN
Play-by-play: Paul Swearengin (Fri. & Sat.)/ Paul Loeffler (Sun.)
Analysts: Rick Lembo (Fri.)/ Steve Housey (Sat.)/ Bryan Marsoobian (Sun.)
Video: Mountain West Network
Live Stats: GoBulldogs.com
Fresno State and UNLV will square off for one three-game regular season series in 2014, starting this Friday at Beiden Field.
Projected pitching matchups -
Friday, RHP Jordan Brink (2-1, 1.67 ERA) vs. RHP Erick Fedde (5-1, 1.98 ERA)
Saturday, RHP Tim Borst (1-1, 3.49 ERA) vs. RHP John Richy (5-1, 2.98 ERA)
Sunday, RHP Jimmy Lambert (1-3, 3.76 ERA) vs. RHP Bryan Bonnell (3-2, 1.88 ERA)
Head Coach Mike Batesole seeks his 400th career victory at Fresno State this weekend, he sits at 399 just one win shy.
Friday night pits the Top 2 MW Prospects as stated by Perfect Game (Brink vs. Fedde).
Jordan Luplow hit his MW leading fifth home run last time out vs. Pacific.
UNLV is No. 1 in the MW standings and ranked No. 25 in the Baseball America poll; the last ranked team to come to Fresno, No. 18 Texas A&M, the 'Dogs swept 3-0.
Fresno State vs. UNLV - The Series
The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 38-28 against the Rebels with the first ever meeting dating back to 1977. In the Bulldogs inaugural season in the Mountain West last year, the two paired to play six games with Lobos taking four of the six. Both Fresno State wins came on Sunday in the home and away series. Prior to last season the two had not met since 1999 when the Bulldogs and Lobos shared conference affiliation in the WAC. UNM joined the MW for the conference's inaugural season in 1999-2000.
The Rebels are led by fourth-year head coach Tim Chambers. He has a career record of 116-84 with UNLV and became the quickest coach in program history to reach the 100-win mark. Chambers has his 2014 club No. 13 in this week's RPI and No. 25 in the Baseball America poll. The Rebels are receiving votes in both the USA Today Coaches' Poll and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Poll.
Las Vegas native T.J. White leads UNLV offensively. The junior has a .327 batting average and a team-leading 36 hits. Patrick Armstrong leads the team in home runs (3) and RBI (23). His 12 extra base hits lead the team and have helped him to a .477 slugging percentage. On the mound is where the Rebels have excelled this season. They have a MW-best team earned run average of 2.30 and have five pitchers with at least 13 innings of work under a 2.00 ERA. Friday night starter Erick Fedde, who was a Baseball America Preseason Second Team All-American, has a 5-1 record and a 1.98 ERA. In 50 innings of work the junior has allowed just 33 hits and has struck out 50. Opponents are hitting just .190 against the hard-throwing right hander.
Last Time Out
Fresno State surrendered four runs in the top of the ninth to allow the Pacific Tigers to bolt town with a 7-3 win at Beiden Field on April 1. With the game knotted at 3-3 in the ninth, Bulldogs' closer Jake Shull took the mound. Shull surrendered four runs (three earned) off of four hits while the defense posted two errors in a disastrous final inning. Fresno State had opportunities in the middle innings to add to its run total, but could not plate runners in scoring position. In all, the Bulldogs stranded runners on third base in four different innings. Jordan Luplow took advantage of two wild pitches in the first after being walked to score the game's first run. Pacific responded in the third with two, but the Bulldogs countered with two of their own in the home half of the third to regain the lead, 3-2. The Tigers tied the game 3-3 in the fifth with the aid of two Bulldog errors in the inning. In total, the Bulldogs matched two season-high figures that assisted Pacific to the midweek win - five errors and 14 left on base.
Perfect Game's Midseason College Top 50 prospects
Fresno State junior right-hander Jordan Brink was named to the Perfect Game midseason Top 50 prospect list on Wednesday, April 2. Brink was listed at No. 30 among all DI NCAA baseball student-athletes. Brink is No. 2 among Mountain West products as Erick Fedde was No. 14. The two aces will square-off Friday night at Beiden Field. Brink was named to the initial preseason prospect list earlier this year by Perfect Game.
Batesole on the Cusp of Milestone Win
Head Coach Mike Batesole enters the weekend series against UNLV just one win shy of reaching Fresno State career win 400. Coach Batesole owns a 399-310 record in his 12th year at the helm of Bulldog Baseball and a 655-468-1 overall mark. As just the third Fresno State head baseball coach since 1948, he will become the third head coach to ever reach the 400-win plateau - Pete Beiden (601) and Bob Bennett (1,302).
NCAA Releases First RPI Rankings
The initial RPI rankings of the 2014 season were released Tuesday, April 1 and it tabbed Fresno State at No. 52 out of 302 teams. The ranking placed the 'Dogs in third-place in the Mountain West behind UNLV (No. 13) and San Diego State (No. 29). Rounding out the MW conference is New Mexico (No. 98), Nevada (No. 161), San Jose State (No. 179) and Air Force (No. 243).
Best Arms in the West
Not only does Friday night feature the top two Mountain West prospects going head-to-head, as stated by Perfect Game, but it showcases the top two team earned run averages in the Mountain West. UNLV owns the top team ERA in the conference at 2.30 while Fresno State boasts a 2.97 team ERA. The two teams also feature the No. 1 and No .2 lowest individual ERAs. Kenny Oakley, the Rebels primary midweek starter, owns the top ERA (1.37) in the MW while Jordan Brink comes in right behind with a 1.67 ERA.
Going, Going, Going, Gone
Fresno State leads the Mountain West in the home run category, going yard 14 times. UNLV and SDSU each have 12 and trail the Bulldogs. The 'Dogs have benefited the greatest in its own park, belting 12 of the 14 at Beiden Field. Individually, Jordan Luplow leads the conference with five homers, with the latest coming last time out against Pacific. Taylor Ward is tied with Aztecs' Brad Haynal and Ty France with four a piece for the No .2 spot. For the rest of the Bulldogs, 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.
Ranked Opponents at Beiden Field
The last time a ranked opponent walked onto Beiden Field, then-ranked No. 18 Texas A&M, they were swept three games to zero on Feb.28-March 2 and shutout the Aggies twice. Following the weekend sweep the Fresno State baseball team garnered national attention March 3 by receiving Top 25 votes in three different polls, with the highest distinction in the Baseball America poll at No. 24. The last time the Bulldogs were ranked in any one of the major collegiate baseball polls was in 2011. The Bulldogs were 13-4 at the time of being ranked, since that time the 'Dogs have gone 3-9, sending them out of the polls.
William Munro Named Fourth Recipient of a MW Weekly Award this Season
On March 24 the Mountain West selected William Munro as its MW Baseball Pitcher of the Week, the fourth Bulldog to be honored with a MW pitcher or player of the week honor this season. Behind a complete game shutout, Munro led the Bulldogs with his longest career outing vs. Cal. He surrendered just three hits and walked one in 9.0 innings. To close the game he retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced and did not allow a base runner past first base through the final seven innings. Prior to Munro, Tim Borst struck out 11 on March 2 en route to his first career weekly honor. Taylor Ward received the accolade in back-to-back weeks, Feb. 24 and March 2. In that two week period, the sophomore batted .400 and posted 10 RBIs, five runs, two doubles and a home run.
Schedule Change for Season Finale against SDSU
Fresno State announced on Monday, March 31, that the May 17 (Saturday) season finale vs. San Diego State will be moved to a 2:05 p.m. start. The original first pitch time was scheduled for 6:35 p.m. The 2014 season closes with an unusual Thursday-Saturday three-game series against the Aztecs.
Saturday at Beiden to be Under the Lights for the First Time this Season
The Bulldogs vs. Lobos game this Saturday marks the first 6:35 p.m. start at Beiden Field this season. There will be just two Saturday games at home remaining following this weekend against UNM - vs. Air Force (4/26, 6:35 p.m) and vs. SDSU (5/17, 2:05 p.m).
Bulldogs on Opening Day Rosters
Five former Diamond 'Dogs were on Opening Day rosters when the Major League Baseball season began this week. Tanner Scheppers got the opening day start for the Texas Rangers. Matt Garza is with the Milwaukee Brewers. Casey McGehee is in his first season with the Miami Marlins. Justin Wilson returns to the bullpen as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Doug Fister opens the season on the disabled list for the Washington Nationals.
Bulldog Baseball Promotions
Fresno State and First Five of Fresno will be teaming up for the weekend series vs. UNLV ... Fans are encouraged to donate children's book to First Five throughout the series, in return on Friday night only, donations will admit one fan per book into the game for FREE.
The series opener is also Facial Hair Friday. Any male with facial hair will receive FREE admission to the game, the rest of the Bulldog loyal are encouraged to paint or wear a mustache or beard for FREE admission.
Salute to Services Sunday - all active military and veterans will receive FREE admission to Sunday's game.
"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.