A year removed from a disappointing elimination from the 2010 Western Athletic Conference Tournament, the revamped Bulldogs made an emphatic statement in this year’s championship game, routing top-seeded Hawaii to take home the crown.
The 15-4 win gave head coach Mike Batesole’s squad its fifth tournament title in the last six years. The Bulldogs had a huge day at the plate, tallying 17 hits as five Fresno State pitchers split duties on the mound. Freshman Tyler Linehan got the starting nod, tossing five-and-a-third innings and scattering eight hits with three runs. Cody Kendall, Will Anderson, Derek Benny and Taylor Garrison also saw limited time on the mound as the five Fresno State pitchers held Hawaii to just four runs off 12 hits.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning set up by Brennan Gowens’ double and WAC Player of the Year Dusty Robinson’s triple. Hawaii kept things close through three innings with the score knotted at 3-3, but the ‘Dogs would race out to score 12 unanswered runs in the next three innings to take a commanding lead.
Robinson added another trophy to his case after being named the WAC Tournament Most Valuable Player. The junior was 6-for-14 through the tournament with eight RBI. Also on the All-Tournament team were Austin Wynns, Danny Muno, WAC Freshman of the Year Aaron Judge, Gowens and WAC Pitcher of the Year Greg Gonzalez.
With the WAC Tournament title, the Bulldogs receive the automatic bid to advance to the NCAA Tournament, a feat Batesole and company narrowly missed out on a year ago. The Bulldogs will find out who, when and where they play in NCAA competition tomorrow (Monday, May 30) at 9:30 a.m.
2011 All Tournament Team
• Austin Wynns, C, Fresno State
• Kolten Wong, INF, Hawaii
• Danny Muno, INF, Fresno State
• Pi’ikea Kitamura, INF, Hawaii
• Ryan Gebhard, INF, Louisiana Tech
• Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno State
• Brennan Gowens, OF, Fresno State
• Greg Gonzalez, P, Fresno State
• Matt Sisto, P, Hawaii
• Will Alvis, DH, Louisiana Tech
MVP Dusty Robinson, OF, Fresno State