Fresno State Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #35
Conference Rank: #1 WAC
Fresno State Team Page
Fresno State enters 2012 going for a seventh straight WAC Championship in their final season in the WAC Conference as they move on to the Mountain West Conference next season. The Bulldogs lost ten players to the MLB Draft, but bring in a top 20 recruiting class that should keep the Bullodgs right there as a lead contender for the conference crown.
2011: 40-16, 17-7
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Batesole
Dusty Robinson, an outfielder, looks to be a triple crown threat in leading the Fresno State offense. He led the team in homeruns (16), RBI’s (55) and was pretty consistent at the plate hitting .310. Aaron Judge, another outfielder, had a huge freshman season as he hit .358 and was a big base stealing threat stealing 11 bases. If he cuts the strikeouts down to match his walk total from last season, a run at hitting .400 is not out of the realm of possibility. Also, Austin Wynns, a first team all WAC catcher from 2011 returns. His leadership behind the plate in helping a young pitching staff along is very valuable. And his consistency hitting for average should help the Bulldogs be their usual high octane offensive squad.
Tom Harlan, a senior right handed pitcher, is the most experienced starter to return to Fresno from last season. He went 5-3 with a 3.84 earned run average. He is not a dominant strikeout pitcher so the defense will have to pick him up during the season. Tyler Linehan looks to fill another weekend rotation spot. As a freshman he displayed pretty good control, only walking 20 and striking out 42 in eight starts. The third spot should be wide open. As a wild card Charlie Robertson, who was the closer last year, could step into a starting role on occasion. If Coach Batesole needs that pitching depth come NCAA tournament time, that is one option.
Who to Watch:
A loaded 11 player incoming freshmen class comes to Fresno led by the local trio of Jordan Brink, Jordan Luplow, and Chris Mariscal of Clovis. Brink is a dual threat in the field and on the mound. He hit .434 and struckout 78 batters in 51 innings leading his high school team to the CIF SEMIFINALS. Luplow comes off an injury riddled senior season, but as a junior hit eight homeruns and drove in 30, so he projects to be a strong power threat at the collegiate level. Mariscal, a shortstop, brings some power and strong contact hitting to the table as he hit .418 and had four homeruns as a high school senior and was drafted in the 41st round of the 2011 MLB Draft.
A typical loaded nonconference schedule awaits the Bulldogs in 2012. Stanford and Kent State come to Beiden Field, along with games against 2011 CWS participant Cal, which should bring huge crowds to Fresno State. The Bulldog baseball fans have earned a reputation as one of the most strong, enthusiastic and supportive fan bases in the country. The biggest enduring benefit of winning the 2008 National Championship for Coach Batesole and the Bulldog program is the ability to attract top flight players in California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. With the understanding that you can compete nationally and make runs to Omaha, recruits flock to Fresno. If the pitching can produce an ERA or around 3.00, the hitting should be plentiful and the Bulldogs will be in another NCAA Regional come June.
Projected Postseason: NCAA
At Bats: Brennan Gowens, OF, 211
Hits: Aaron Judge, P/OF, 67
Home Runs: Dusty Robinson, OF, 16
RBIs: Dusty Robinson, OF, 55
Runs: Dusty Robinson, OF, 44
Stolen Bases: Aaron Judge, P/OF, 11
Wins: Tom Harlan, P, 7
Innings Pitched: Tom Harlan, P, 63.1
Strikeouts: Tom Harlan, P, 45
Saves: Charlie Robertson, P, 12