#42 Fresno State Baseball Preview

Fresno State Bulldogs

Overall Rank #42
Conference Rank#1 MWC
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The Fresno State Bulldogs ground their way through an up and down season in 2012  in their final in the WAC and made it back to the NCAA Tournament, falling short in the Palo Alto Regional. A talented squad returns in 2013 for veteran head coach Mike Batesole. The Bulldogs also now are making their maiden voyage into a Mountain West Conference and that should help them come postseason time in regards to tournament seeding.  

2012: 31-28, 8-10 WAC
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Batesole

Field Players:
Austin Wynns, a third team preseason All-American catcher from the Collegiate Baseball publication, is going to be counted on heavily to handle the pitching staff. Jordan Luplow looks to build on a stellar 2012 freshman campaign were he drove in 34 runs and stole 10 bases. Aaron Judge won the 2012 TD Ameritrade College Homerun Derby in July and had one of his four homeruns off of Stanford ace Mark Appel. These three will anchor the offensive attack for Fresno State. Preston Scott, a highly touted shortstop, could also end up adding to a balanced overall offensive attack for Fresno State.

Tyler Linehan will most likely anchor a weekend rotation spot for Fresno State. As a sophomore, Linehan went 4-5, with a solid 3.58 earned run average in the very hitter friendly WAC Conference. Linehan also did well with his control, walking just 30 in 83 innings while striking out 82. Look for Aaron Judge to spend some time on the mound this season to help bolster the starting rotation when he is not playing in the outfield. In addition, look for very talented freshman Tim Borst to compete for one of the weekend rotation spots as well, along with Blake Quinn. Another key question is finding someone to step up in the closer’s role and replace Taylor Garrison’s team leading 11 saves from 2012.

Who to Watch:
Another stellar top 20 class of freshmen will be headed to Fresno in 2013. The Fresno State staff has developed a strong reputation for being able to consistently recruit some of the nation’s top prospects. The move to the Mountain West Conference should enhance the Bulldog staff’s ability to recruit even higher profile prospects. For example, The Bulldogs were able to land right-handed pitcher Tim Borst from the likes of Cal State Fullerton and UCLA. Other top freshmen include Preston Scott, the son of former major leaguer Tim Scott, along with local Fresno product, right handed pitcher Blake Quinn, who Fresno State beat out UCLA and Cal for as well in the recruiting process.

Final Projection:
The non-conference schedule brings a diverse mix of tests for Coach Batesole’s squad.  The non-conference slate will be even more critical with the need to develop some depth in the pitching rotation, especially for the weekend series in Mountain West Conference play. The first road trip takes the Bulldogs back to Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto against an always difficult Stanford Cardinal squad. Another trip to probable NCAA Tourney team Cal in early March should be another matchup for Fresno State to take advantage of and build very valuable strength in its RPI come late May. If the pitching can evolve and keep the Bulldogs in games, they should be able to score enough runs to once again be in play for a postseason berth, even being in a brand new conference.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Jordan Luplow, OF/IF, 233
Hits: Jordan Luplow, OF/IF, 65; Trent Garrison, C, 65
Home Runs: Aaron Judge, P/OF, 4
RBIs: Trent Garrison, C, 39
Runs: Aaron Judge, P/OF, 47
Stolen Bases:  Aaron Judge, P/OF, 11

Wins: Tyler Linehan, P, 4
Innings Pitched: Tyler Linehan, P, 83
Strikeouts: Tyler Linehan, P, 82
Saves: None


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