April 26, 2006
Fresno, Calif. -
Fresno State makes their return home this week after playing two consecutive weeks in conference play on the road. Following the restructuring of WAC Baseball in 2006, with seven teams participating in the conference rather than six each team gets a week off from conference play, and the schedule has this as the Bulldogs' week off. With the break in league play, Fresno State welcomes back a familiar opponent for a four game set in Dallas Baptist. Being a school from the Bible Belt, the team does not play Sunday contests, so the series will start on Thursday night at 6:35 p.m., followed by another 6:35 p.m. start on Friday. The teams will then conclude the four-game set with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 2:05 p.m. KMJ 580 will be providing radio for all four games of the series, with Paul Loeffler calling the action and 1988 All-American Steve Hosey providing analysis. Gametracker will also be available for each game through www.gobulldogs.com.
In The Hole
Continuing another long homestand, Fresno State will host Nevada for three games in a conference matchup next weekend. The only meeting between the teams in the regular season, the Bulldogs will hope to continue the success WAC teams have had against the Wolfpack this season, as Nevada sits in sixth place in the conference heading into this weekend's games. Those contests will begin on Friday, May 5.
Scouting Dallas Baptist
Fast becoming a common opponent for the Bulldogs, the Patriots will make their way to Beiden Field for the third time in as many years. Fresno State will hope their series with the Patriots resembles the one from last year, where the `Dogs picked up a 13-5 win in the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic, rather than the series in 2004 where the team dropped three of four games, leading to the Dallas Baptist edge in the all-time series. Coaching the Patriots is a familiar face to the Red Wavers, as former Bulldog Eric Newman works the bench. Offense is the key to success for Dallas Baptist, as the team as a whole is hitting .316 to offset a 5.35 ERA on the way to a 27-15 record as an independent. Three hitters in particular lead the way in Drew Holder (.365), Cody Montgomery (.370) and Austin Krum (.395)
Postseason WAC Attack
For the first time in seven years the WAC will be hosting a postseason tournament in 2006. The change is mainly a result of the reshuffling of the WAC's participating teams that occured this year. Rice exits the conference in 2006, leaving for Conference USA, and the conference welcomes New Mexico State and affiliate member Sacramento State for baseball. With seven teams as opposed to six, the conference will be playing an unbalanced schedule as opposed to the home and home series that have been a staple of WAC play the last few years. In response, the top six teams will head to Fresno at the end of the year to play in the WAC tournament to determine the winner of the WAC's automatic bid for the NCAA tournament. Fresno State was the host of the WAC's tournament the last time it was held in 1999, and is proud to host again in 2006. The tournament will be held from May 26-28 at Fresno State's Beiden Field. Ticket information for the tournament can found from the Bulldog ticket office at (559) 278-DOGS.
The Bulldogs increased their WAC award total to six this season, sweeping the weekly awards last week as the team took their third road series of the year, wining two out of three games at San Jose State. Sophomore outfielder Steve Susdorf was named WAC Hitter of the Week for the week of April 17-23. Susdorf was 6-for-8 (.750) last week against the Spartans, going 2-for-3 on Friday, knocking pinch-hit RBI single on Saturday and batting 3-for-4 on Sunday, scoring three runs and driving in two over the course of the week. The third game of the series was won primarily behind junior hurler Andy Underwood, and the WAC took notice of that, awarding him the WAC Pitcher of the Week award. Throwing the team's first complete-game shutout of the season, Underwood went the distance on Sunday, scattering four hits and walking just one batter while striking out seven. In what was one of the top performances of the year, Underwood needed only 95 pitches to complete the game, facing 33 Spartan batters in his third complete game of the season, and second in a row.
Fresno State has several records categories that are under attack in 2006, most notably, the home run lists, which could be greatly shifted. Beau Mills moved up another spot in the home run standings, moving into a tie for fifth with Derek Feramisco with 30 home runs. Standing with him at the door is Christian Vitters, who currently 23, needing two more to tie Simon Tafoya with 25. The RBI list is also under attack, as three players are nearing the number of RBI to reach the career records. First up on the list for both players is someone well-known to them, as assistant coach Matt Curtis holds the 10th spot with 127 RBI over his career. Vitters ended the week with 123 RBI and Sakamoto has 100 as of this week. Also --Sakamoto should also reach the career leaders in games played over a career this season, and there is a chance that some players could reach the career lists in doubles by the end of 2006.
|Email this article||Printer-friendly format|