Feb. 10, 2014
By Geoff Thurner
FRESNO, Calif. - Looking ahead to its home-opening softball tournament this weekend, Fresno State athletics has used social media outlets to invite President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to throw out the first pitch at its afternoon home opener vs. Sacramento State this Friday, February 14 at 4:15 p.m.
The 44th president of the United States is already scheduled to speak in the Central Valley that day concerning the area's record-breaking drought and accompanying federal aid efforts.
A visit to Bulldog Diamond would be a relaxing finale for the couple and their first glimpse of one the nation's most historic athletic programs. The `Dogs have racked up a national-leading 30 softball NCAA tourney appearances to go along with one national title, four runner-up finishes and three more third-place efforts among their 12 Women's College World Series trips.
"Where else would you rather be on Valentine's Day but at a ballgame at one of the most storied softball stadiums in the country," Fresno State head coach Trisha Ford said. "The history of collegiate softball in Fresno is one that is very deep and something that everyone needs to experience once in their lives. Whether it's the President or First Lady, the passion and spirit of the Red Wave is contagious, so come join and see what we are all about."
Fans are encouraged to Tweet their support using the #Obama1stPitch Twitter hashtag and to invite him personally.
Friday's softball schedule includes a pair of back-to-back Fresno State games vs. Sacramento State and UC Riverside at 4:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., while three earlier games among other area collegiate teams are scheduled immediately before at 9:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Friday, February 14th also marks Valentine's Day and offers a host of special promotions to the Obama's and any other couple on hand.
A special 2-for-1 ticket deal is available for all fans at the door, and couples can get their photos taken for free at a special `Sweetheart Photo Booth'. After the game, fans can meet the Fresno State players at a special autograph session.
Among other promotions slated later in the weekend, Saturday's 6:30 p.m. game vs. Southern Utah is Camper Reunion Night.
Staff and Faculty Appreciation Day follows for Sunday's games vs. CSU Bakersfield and UC Santa Barbara at 1:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m., and all Fresno State employees with a valid staff ID will get in for free.
Before the CSUB game, University President Joseph I. Castro will throw out the first pitch - an appropriate selection for the President's Day Weekend.
Later Sunday afternoon, kids can also join in the fun and run the bases after the tourney finale vs. UC Santa Barbara.
Tournament tickets can be bought in advance online or by calling the Bulldog Ticket Office during normal weekday hours (559.278.DOGS (3647)) or online at the www.GoBulldogs.com website, and prices for this weekend follow: All-Tourney Pass (3-day) Daily Pass Adult Lower Box $30 $15 Adult Upper Reserved $20 $10 Adult G.A. (Outfield Berm) $14 $7 *Senior/Youth Upper Reserved $14 $7 *Senior/Youth G.A. (Outfield Berm) $10 $5
*Youth is ages 5-18; Seniors are ages 65 and older; ^Fresno State students get free admission with a current FS student ID for seating in section D.
A complete tournament schedule is available at the http://www.gobulldogs.com/sports/w-softbl/spec-rel/14-kickoff.html URL address.
Last weekend, the `Dogs (3-2) opened their season in the Kajikawa Classic and enjoyed a 1-0 win over NCAA Tournament returnee and ACC Tournament champion N.C. State and 11-3 victory over returning Southern Conference Champion Appalachian State.
Picked to finish second in the MW this year, Fresno State returns five all-conference players and starters at seven of the eight field positions, not to mention its top three pitchers from last year. The `Dogs are under the direction of Ford who led the team to a 30-24 mark last year and MW runner-up finish in her first season at the helm.
"Catch the Wave!" - Follow Fresno State softball on Twitter at the *NEW* @FresnoStateSB address.
- www.GoBulldogs.com -
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