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Commentary: Don’t count them out yet

By | May 08, 2013 | Sports

Bulldogs baseball team has history of tournament success

It has been a frustrating season for Fresno State baseball fans.

The Bulldogs are just 17-29 overall and 10-14 in the Mountain West Conference.

But now is not the time to be discouraged.

This is the time Fresno State fans should start to get excited.

The Bulldogs have six regular season games left and then they host the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

The Bulldogs will host the May 22-26 tournament, with the champion earning an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

It is a long shot for Fresno State to win the conference tournament. The clear favorite is New Mexico, which has dominated the competition and clinched the regular season championship with six games still left to be played.

Fresno State is fifth in the Mountain West and leads only Air Force in the standings.

But with six games left in the regular season, this seems like the perfect time for the Bulldogs to turn their season around.

A long shot you say?

Fresno State’s baseball team has made it a habit to take those odds and turn them into tournament success.

The ultimate example was in 2008 when the Bulldogs shocked the world and captured the College World Series.

But that is not the only time Fresno State has shown it knows what it takes to win come tournament time.

Just last season, Fresno State struggled to an 8-10 Western Athletic Conference record only to win the WAC Tournament and earn a berth to the NCAA Tournament.

They did that in typical Bulldog fashion, losing to Sacramento State in the third round of the tournament and bouncing back to beat Louisiana Tech and Sacramento State twice.

They also did it in 2009. They went just 12-13 during the WAC season and lost the opening game of the tournament to New Mexico State. The Bulldogs turned things around with four straight wins, including two over the Aggies.

This year’s roster is definitely not the same as any of those past teams, but there is one constant – coach Mike Batesole.

In 11 seasons with the Bulldogs, Batesole has won a national title, seven straight conference titles and six NCAA Tournament appearances.

If the Bulldogs wish to reach a seventh NCAA Tournament, they will have to win the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

With a superstar like Aaron Judge in the middle of the lineup, the Bulldogs have an ace who can win games with a couple big swings of the bat.

And Fresno State is not shy about using pitchers. Out of 12 pitchers in the rotation, 11 have thrown more than 10 innings. The majority of Fresno State’s pitchers have experience on the mound, which is what you want in a tournament – anybody can be thrown into any situation and not be affected by it.

The deck may be stacked against the Bulldogs, but that’s when Fresno State teams of the past have proven to play at their best.

Fans may be frustrated by Fresno State’s erratic play this season, but they should not miss out on the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

It may be a long shot, but history has proven that the Bulldogs cannot be counted out until the very end.

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