Fresno State gears up for ‘Dog fight

Sophomore pitcher Tyler Linehan finished 5-2 with a
4.27 ERA in his eight starts during his freshman season.
Esteban Cortez / The Collegian

The 2012 Fresno State baseball season will open tonight at 6 p.m. when the Bulldogs host Butler. The Diamond ‘Dogs will look to start the season with a win as they go for their sixth consecutive WAC title in seven years, as well as their sixth tournament title in the same span.

Fresno State’s first series of the season will continue with a Saturday doubleheader with the first game at 2 p.m. The series will wrap up on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

Fresno State will need to replace tremendous talent this season, losing eight players to the MLB draft. Of the 10 Bulldogs drafted, twin brothers Taylor and Trent Garrison decided to return to Beiden Field. This will be Taylor’s senior season while Trent is a redshirt junior, after sitting out last season due to injury.

The ‘Dogs, they will have the majority of last year’s bullpen carry over to this season.  Seniors Cody Kendall and Taylor Garrison, who pitched much of the Bulldogs’ late innings, are both back this season.

While Fresno State lost some of its mainstays from last season in Danny Muno, Jordan Ribera, Garrett Weber, Brennan Gowens and Dusty Robinson, who left early for the minor leagues, it still possesses offensive weapons this season.

Sophomore Aaron Judge is the projected three-hole hitter after a breakout freshman campaign. Judge collected numerous awards while starting in 49 games at center field. He was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, WAC Freshman of the Year and was named to the Alaska Baseball League’s top prospect list for his play with the Glacier Pilots this past summer.

Fresno State finished last season with a 40-16 overall record while going 26-5 at home.

Butler enters the season having gone 23-28-1 in the 2011 season. Starting third-baseman Patrick Guinane is a player to look out for having claimed his starting spot as a freshman last season. He was named Newcomer of the Year, an award voted on by his teammates, while also named to the Horizon League’s all-newcomer squad.

Butler will have 10 returning pitchers from last year’s squad. Senior Mike Hernandez will take the mound for Butler tonight with Kevin Lenkman and Billy Laing expected to start during Saturday’s double-header.

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