You can never count out Fresno State. The preseason #18 seed went 8-12 to start the season, only to come back to win the WAC, losing ace Tanner Scheppers in the process to a shoulder stress fracture. The Bulldogs were counted out in the postseason, given a #4 seed in the Long Beach Regional. After advancing out of a regoinal that consisted of Long Beach State, San Diego and Cal, the Bulldogs continued to surprise with an improbable Super Regional victory in Tempe over the #3 national seed Arizona State Sun Devils. Fresno State, led by NCBWA Coach of the Year Mike Batesole, looks to continue to surprise in Omaha, taking on the #6 national seed Rice Owls in their opening game Sunday at 2 EST.
Fresno State is led on offense by hometown hero 1B Alan Ahmady, who is hitting .384 on the season with 12 HR and ranks 2nd in the nation in RBI behind Buster Posey with 84 driven in on the year. Steve Susdorf produces just as well as Ahmady, hitting .345 on the year with 29 doubles and 81 RBI’s. Erik Wetzel, Danny Muno, and Gavin Hedstrom are all hitting over .300 on the season as well.
The pitching staff has held it together without their ace Scheppers, but they have their bats to thank. The Bulldogs have given up 65 runs in their 7 post season games. Sunday’s starter LHP Justin Wilson (7-5) gave up 8 runs on 9 hits in 6 2/3 innings in the game 1 loss to Arizona State last Saturday. Fresno is lucky to be facing the weakest hitting team in their first game, because if they end up in the loser’s bracket after Game 1, they mots likely won’t have the pitching staff to get by the loser of LSU-UNC.