June 14, 2008 - June 25, 2008 • Rosenblatt Stadium, Omaha • Attendance: 330,099
REBECCA S. GRATZ
Struggling to put Fresno State's unlikely run to the college baseball championship in perspective? Was it on the level of the NCAA basketball tournament triumphs scored by North Carolina State in 1983 and Villanova in 1985? Or was it just a matter of a bunch of talented guys who had underachieved for the majority of the season finally kicking it in gear?
Fresno State was 31-27 after losing the first game of a doubleheader to Sacramento State on May 17. From that point, the Bulldogs won 16 of 20 games. Although a No. 4 regional seed, they went 10-4 in the NCAA tournament. Six of the wins came in elimination games.
Fresno State's 78-game season included 31 losses, the most ever by a championship team. The Bulldogs opened the season by losing 12 of their first 20 games. They hit another bump when they lost seven of nine at the end of April and the start of May.
Batesole deserves credit for re-establishing Fresno State as a player on the national scene. The Bulldogs had played in the NCAA tournament 18 times from 1980 through 2001. After they missed four straight tournaments, Batesole got them back to regional play in 2006. They made it to the regional championship game in 2007, then broke through this season to get back to Omaha for the first time since 1991.
Fresno State's championship is the third straight and fourth in five seasons for a team from the West Coast. Cal State Fullerton won its fourth national championship in 2004, while Oregon State claimed the title in 2006 and 2007.
Jason Castro, Stanford, c, Jr.
Dustin Ackley, North Carolina, 1b, So.
Erik Wetzel, Fresno St., 2b, Jr.
Tommy Mendonca, Fresno St., 3b, So.
Gordon Beckham, Georgia, ss, Jr.
Tim Fedroff, North Carolina, of, So.
Steve Susdorf, Fresno St., of, Sr.
Steve Detwiler, Fresno St., of, So.
Ryan Peisel, Georgia, dh, Sr.
Alex White, North Carolina, p, So.
Justin Wilson, Fresno St., p, Jr.