Bulldogs Ready to Face No. 3 Arizona State
June 6, 2008
TEMPE, Ariz. - Making history is just a bonus for the Bulldog baseball team as they prepare for the Super Regional Round against No. 3 Arizona State. The Bulldogs and Sun Devils will play a best two-of-three series with the winner earning a trip to the College World Series in Omaha in 10 days.
Fresno State is the only No. 4 seed still alive in the 2008 NCAA Championship Tournament, having advanced after winning the Long Beach Regional. The Dogs had a decisive win over No. 11 Long Beach State at Blair Field and beat No. 6 San Diego twice in three days.
The Bulldogs are just the second No. 4 seed to ever reach the Super Regional round. Missouri advanced through the Malibu Regional in 2006 as a No. 4 seed and coincidently had to play Cal State Fullerton, which beat the Bulldogs in the Fullerton Regional finals that year.
"I feel like we have a good ball club and that there is good baseball on the west coast," said All-WAC first baseman Alan Ahmady. "Arizona State is a great team and this will be a great series. We played well last weekend and we know what's at stake. Our goal all along had been to get to the World Series. We are one step closer, two wins away."
The Sun Devils have been one of the nation's best offensive teams in the nation all season with a team batting average of .340 and scoring nine runs per game.
Fresno State will counter with its excellent pitching staff and defense, a trademark of Mike Batesole-coached teams. Junior Justin Wilson, who was drafted in the fifth round by the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday in the Major League Draft, will take the mound for the Bulldogs.
"Playing the WAC, we are used to playing in a lot of different ball parks," said Batesole. "We've had success in pitchers parks and hitter's parks. Last week at Blair Field, we won in a pitchers ball park. Packard Stadium is a hitter's park. Arizona State can put up a lot or runs, but the WAC has a lot of hitter friendly parks. Nevada and New Mexico State are two of them. "
All three of Super Regional Games will be televised by the ESPN family of networks. Saturday's game will be on ESPNU and Sunday's and Monday's "if necessary" game will be on ESPN2.
2008 Super Regional Schedule
Sunday, June 8
Monday, June 9 (if necessary)
Susdorf Sweeps WAC Honors Senior outfielder Steve Susdorf swept the majority of the biggest WAC awards this season. He was tabbed was the preseason WAC Player of the Year back in January, followed that with the 2008 WAC Player of the Year Award in voting by the league's coaches and was selected the MVP of the WAC Tournament last weekend in Ruston, La.. During the season he set the all-time RBI record at Fresno State, the first player in Bulldog history with more than 200. On May 8 he was named to the ESPN the Magazine First Team Academic All-District 8 First Team. It is the second time in his career that he has been honored, and on May 26 he was selected second-team Academic All-America by CoSIDA. He added to his trophy case by being named to the Long Beach All-Regional team, the second straight year he was selected to the NCAA All-Region squad.
Bulldogs in the NCAAs Fresno State is 57-63 all-time in NCAA tournament action. In three seasons under Mike Batesole the Bulldogs are 7-5 in the NCAA tournament. Fresno State has beaten No. 1 seeds in the first round of the tournament for two years in a row (No. 4 ranked San Diego in 2007 and No. 11 Long Beach State in 2008). Batesole is 3-0 all-time in NCAA first round games. Fresno State is 19-12 all-time in the first round of the NCAA tournament. While heading top the Super Regional round is new territory for the Dogs, it's also rare that Fresno State is leaving California for NCAA tournament action. Fresno State has hosted NCAA action 12 times through the years, last serving a host in 1995. The last time Fresno State played outside its state borders was in 1996 at the Lubbock, Texas Regional. The Dogs have played in Tempe twice before, 1981 and 1983. Fresno State has a 3-4 record in those games, 0-1 vs. the Sun Devils (1983).
About the Sun Devils Arizona State (48-11) is the No. 3 seed of the NCAA tournament and went a perfect 3-0 in the Tempe Regional. The two-time Pac-10 champions are coached by Pat Murphy in his 14th season. The Sun Devils were the preseason No. 1 ranked team and have been ranked in the top three all season long. ASU has three Baseball America All-Americans, junior 1B/LHP Ike Davis was named a first team All-America while Pac-10 Player of the Year Brett Wallace and Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year Mike Leake were named second team. Arizona State leads the all-time series against the Bulldogs 11-5 and the teams have not played since 1998. Fresno State owns a three-game win streak in the series. The Sun Devils won the only meeting between the two teams in the NCAA tournament, 7-2, in Tempe in 1983. Arizona State had two players selected among the top 17 picks of the first round of the Major League Draft, third baseball Brett Wallace and first baseman Ike Davis.
On A Roll Fresno State enters the Super Regional against Arizona State having won nine of its last 10 games. The only loss during that time was to No. 6 San Diego. Fresno State's hot streak helped them clinch the WAC regular season championship, win the WAC tournament with a perfect 4-0 record and the Long Beach Regional (3-1).
Six Dogs Get Drafted Five Bulldog players were taken in the Major League Draft that began Thursday. Junior pitchers Tanner Scheppers and Justin Wilson were both taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates on the first day. Scheppers was the second pick of the second round while Wilson was the second pick of the fifth round. Four other Bulldogs were drafted on Friday before the 30th round.
"Join the State - Fresno State!" -The Fresno State baseball team continues play at the 2008 NCAA tournament at the Super Regional in Tempe, Ariz., against No. 3 Arizona State. The Fresno State games will be broadcast live in the Valley on KMJ Radio 580 AM. Follow gobulldogs.com for further updates.