THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE BULLDOG FOUNDATION DUGOUT CLUB
FRESN O STATE BULLDOGS
2008 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!
MIKE BATESOLE HEAD COACH
Your support can be measured in more ways than just wins and losses. Our players realize they represent not just themselves and the athletic department, but also all of the Alumni and Dugout Club members in the classroom as well. Their efforts produced not only a National Championship, but also produced a senior class that witnessed all nine seniors earning a degree in the spring of 2008 or positioning themselves for a fall 2009 graduation date. This is a testament to the commitment to the classroom made by this program. Once again, this commitment could not be fulfilled without the support of the Dugout Club. These successes should be celebrated throughout our entire
community. The off season has been a time of reflection on team accomplishments as well as bolstering recruiting efforts. We were very fortunate to have played throughout the entire month of June in pursuit of our National Championship. That also meant that we squeezed two months of recruiting into a single month. Coach Curtis, Coach Waer, and I spent the month of July and the first part of August on the road evaluating players so we could begin assembling our 2009 signing class. From Long Beach to Seattle , the coaching staff worked diligently to find the most qualified student-athletes to fit the needs of our program. There have been countless opportunities to speak to different groups throughout the community, sharing stories of the post season and celebrating the achievements of Bulldog Baseball. Fresno and the State of California have been extremely complimentary of our players, our program, and our university.
NATIONAL CHAMPS TEAM AWARDS FEATURED AT 2008 WALL OF FAME DINNER The NCAA College World Series National Champion Fresno State Bulldogs will present their annual team awards at this year’s Wall of Fame Dinner. This will be the first formal recognition of the National Champions since the post-victory celebration in June and promises to be a special night for Bulldog baseball fans. Four former Bulldogs and one legendary team will be inducted into the Wall of Fame on Thursday, October 23, 2008 at Pardini’s in Fresno. Heading up the list of this year’s inductees is:
1991 Team Led by National Pitcher of the year Bobby Jones and All-Big West players Todd Johnson and Jason Wood the 1991 Bulldogs were Big West co-champions with 42 wins and advanced to the College World Series by winning a thrilling Fresno regional. At Omaha behind Jones they shocked #1 Florida State 6-3 in the CWS opener. The 1991 team will always be remembered as a group of hard-nosed players with heart and intensity who hated to lose.
Warren Brusstar 1973-74, pitcher Hard-throwing pitcher Brusstar credits Bob Bennett with teaching him the necessary skills to compete in pro ball. Brusstar pitched nine years in the majors for Philadelphia, Baltimore, the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs and was with the Phillies in 1980 when they won their only World Series championship in the teams history.
led the team in home runs. After college he went on to a teaching and coaching career that spanned over 30 years.
Ben Fritz 2000-2002, pitcher-DH In three seasons at Fresno State Ben Fritz terrorized opponents with his arm and his bat.. By his junior year he achieved All American status with a record of 9-5 with a 3.42 ERA and 90 strikeouts. He also batted .283 and led the team with 10 home runs and 52 runs batted in. In 2002 he was drafted in the first round by the Oakland A’s and is currently playing in the Detroit Tiger organization.
Dennis Springer 1986-87, Pitcher Springer calls his two seasons on the mound for Fresno State a great learning experience that helped prepare him for 16 years in professional baseball. After college he signed with the Dodger organization and learned his trademark knuckleball pitch from Charley Hough. He pitched in eight major league seasons with the Dodgers, Devil Rays, Phillies, Marlins, Mets and Angels, and has the distinction of surrendering Barry Bonds’ record 73rd home run in 2001.
The 2008 Wall of Fame Dinner will be held on Thursday, October 23 at Pardini’s in Fresno. Social hour is from 5:00 to 6:25 PM. The dinner and program will be from 6:30 to 9:30 PM. Tickets are $50 (12 and under $25), space is limited and demand is expected to be high. Invitations will be in the mail soon. The dinner will include a raffle of baseball memorabilia from the Wall of Famers and 1991 and 2008 Stan Busch teams. Former Bulldog Ray O’Canto is 1959-61, outfielder producing a video presentation of all inductees Busch started for three seasons in the Fresno and the 2008 World Series Champions. This State outfield and was with the 1959 team that will be an outstanding event for all Bulldog reached the College World Series. He Baseball fans to enjoy so plan on joining us on batted .310 in 1960 and .333 in 1961 and also this special night.
NATIONAL CHAMPIONS! WAC THREE-PEAT! Welcome to Bulldog Baseball 2009 Those words tell it all. I am still in awe of what the 2008 Team accomplished. Fortunately, like many of you, I was able to see the playoff games in person and then travel to Omaha for the first two wins. Yes, it was more than I could have ever imagined it would be. For all of the “fans” I say thanks to the players and coaches for making our dreams come true. Congratulations, National Champions! A new season of exciting Fresno State Baseball is approaching. Once again we look forward to a “championship” performance from our team. We also say thanks for your continuing support. The 2008 season will begin February 20, 2009 with a home series against the University of Washington Huskies. The Coaches have worked extremely hard after returning from Omaha. Recruiting for the 2010 season has continued at a hectic pace with student athletes on campus for visits the past four weeks. The new and returning players have been practicing on a limited basis and are excited about the upcoming season. Improvements at Beiden Field continue with the remodeling of the clubhouse to aid the coaches and players in their quest for another championship. Coach Batesole has expressed sincere thanks for what the Dugout Club has done for the players and coaches. We must continue our legacy of leadership through action in our participation in the baseball program. We will be asking for your support monetarily as we move forward with more projects in the coming year. The Dugout Club, through the support of its many fans, has contributed more than $250,000 to baseball program improvement projects in 2008. THANK YOU ALL. As we begin a new year I would ask for you to renew your membership in the Dugout Club and then participate in the program by attending the games at Beiden Field this spring. You can purchase season tickets and also attend many of the events we will host in 2008 and 2009. I look forward to seeing you at Beiden Field.
ORLD SERIES Underdogs to Wonderdogs:
Fresno Stateâ€™s Road to Omaha and the College World Series Championship The rollercoaster ride that produced one of the most improbable championships in college sports history is captured in remarkable detail in this new release. Featuring over 100 full-color photos, riveting radio play-by-play excerpts, and telling comments from the "Wonderdogs" themselves, this book takes you inside Fresno State's unprecedented string of upsets that ended with the school's first NCAA baseball championship. Eavesdrop in the dugout as the team stares elimination in the face six times on its way to the title. Go beyond the big swings, diving catches, and knee-buckling curveballs to discover the deeper meaning in the six-week journey from 89th in the country to the top of that College World Series dogpile. From their stoic skipper to his team full of "sixth graders at recess," you'll get to know the key figures who turned adversity into triumph on a scale usually only found in fantasy. Written in the unique storytelling style of the team's radio announcer, Underdogs to Wonderdogs spins an exhilarating, heartwarming, and inspirational tale that just so happens to be true. Lending additional
LOCK IN YOUR PLACE IN THE HOME FOR CHAMPIONS YES, I WOULD LIKE TO LOCK IN MY NAME IN THE BULLDOG BASEBALL LOCKER ROOM.
Author: Paul Loeffler Linden Publishing $33.95 On shelves December 2008 Pre-order at gobulldogs.com or by calling (800) 345-4447 or (559) 233-6633. perspective to the significance of Fresno State's win is a chapter packed with exclusive comments from opposing coaches, local and national media, and luminaries long associated with the program. This book makes a great gift for the baseball lover in your life, and even non-sports fans will be drawn to the human side of one team's magical metamorphosis.
SAVE THE DATES WALL OF FAME DINNER Thursday October 23, 2008 - Pardini's Induction Ceremony plus 2008 National Champs Team Awards Presentations For ticket info contact Ron Schiller (559) 297-8189 GOLF TOURNAMENT Friday February 13 - Brighton Crest For Tournament & Tee Sponsorship information contact Wes DeBusk @ (559) 439-3683 or Stan Busch @ (559) 346-0320 22nd ANNUAL DOUBLE PLAY DINNER Friday February 13, 2009 Honoring the 2008 National Champions For information contact Sharlene Gomes @ (559) 924-3361 or email firstname.lastname@example.org LIVE & SILENT AUCTIONS Items are now being accepted for the 2009 Double Play Dinner Auctions. For your convenience we can arrange to pick up your items. For further information contact: Kristi Lozano @ (559) 638-5529; email@example.com Joyce Buss @ (559) 434- 5714
As a Fresno State baseball fan, you have an opportunity to put your name on one of the new lockers that will be installed in the Bulldogs' locker room. As the Bulldogs prepare to take the field before every game and practice, your name plaque will show your support and recognize your dedication to Fresno State baseball. It also will serve as a reminder to current and future Bulldogs of the great tradition and support of Fresno State baseball fans. Donors can request a specific locker number, but naming rights will be confirmed on a firstpayment basis. Your gift of $2,500 can be paid over four years. Locker Sponsor Benefits: - Your name, team, teammate, or business plaque on an individual locker - On field Recognition during a Fresno State Baseball Home Game - Public Address Announcement at a - Fresno State Baseball Home Game - Recognition on Wall of Fame Program - Recognition on GoBulldogs.com Gifts to the Bulldog Foundation for the locker room project qualify as a charitable contribution. Please consult your tax adviser. For more information call The Bulldog Foundation at 559.278.7160.
WORLD SERIES MY VIEW
by Bruce Farris
Fresno State coach Pete Beiden was my seatmate in 1959 as the 4-motor DC-4 airplane flew to Omaha, Neb. and the first-ever Bulldog appearance in the College World Series. Flying was a new experience for most of the Fresno players. The week previously they had flown to Seattle, Wash. for the regional finals with the University of Washington and it was first time air trip for nearly the entire team. Fresno earned the trip to Omaha by downing the Huskies in a best of three series. Prior to that the Bulldogs had hammered Santa Clara twice in the regional semis. It was Beiden's 10th season and he had
brought Fresno from a losing program to the pinnacle of college baseball success. When we reached Omaha the pilot circled the field and we could see a big banner "Welcome Fresno State." I looked at Pete, a normally non-emotional person, and there were tears in his eyes. "Oh Bruce," Beiden said. "I didn't even know if anyone knew Fresno was coming. This is wonderful." It was old hat to USC coach Rod Dedeaux, the Western WS representative, in the seat in front of us, but not to Beiden. There were a number of Omaha families assigned to greet and care for each of the eight teams. Fresno had a 38-11 record going into
the series which featured two favorites, Arizona and Oklahoma State. Beiden, not used to outside media attention, found out a frank answer was not always what some people wanted to hear. He was asked who he thought would be the likely winner of the Series? He picked Arizona as the front runner. The next morning he was accosted by the Oklahoma State coach who had read the quote in the Omaha paper, asked Beiden, "how do you know so much about the winner, are you an expert?" The Omaha lineup was Clemson, Connecticut, Penn St., Northern Colorado, Arizona, Western Michigan and Oklahoma State. Fresno opened with a 6-5 win over Northern Colorado who was making its sixth straight Omaha appearance. The next day Fresno lost 5 -1 to Arizona dropping the Bulldogs into a must win against Western Michigan. Fresno won that one easily 7-2. Now it was another must win, this time against 2-0 Arizona. Fresno's ace left-hander Leroy Gregory was equal to the task, shutting out the Wildcats 2-0. With Fresno, Oklahoma State and Arizona were the survivors all 3-1. There was a coin flip and Arizona won. Fresno and Oklahoma State met with the Aggies winning 4-0.
CHAMPIONS Had Fresno won the coin flip it is my opinion that Gregory could have come back and the pitcher Oklahoma State used against Fresno would have faced Arizona. In those days our sports editor Ed Orman wasn't really into college baseball and the coverage was not big. Third place didn't mean much but it was obvious it did since no other Fresno team got that far until tthis year. Fresno finished 41-13 and were ranked No. 9 in the nation. Now we fast forward to 2008. A different coach - Mike Batesole - and a different format. There was a time two-thirds through the season when a number of Dugout Club members, me included were asking: "What's going on with this team? They were see-sawing between good and bad. With the 2008 WAC championship in doubt the Bulldogs finally found their rhythm. Even with the loss of ace pitcher Tanner Scheppers, Fresno won the WAC and steam-rolled through the WAC tournament. So where were they going in the NCAA Regional’s? How about arguably the toughest regional in the country at Long Beach State? Since I didn't have cable television I listened to the radio accounts and it was obvious the Under Dogs were in the beginning process of becoming "Wonder Dogs." The pitching staff, under the direction of
coach Mike Batesole and pitching coach Mike Mayne rose to the challenge. Justin Wilson beat Long Beach in the opener, Clayton Allison stopped San Diego University and Holden Sprague and super reliever Brandon Burke took care of San Diego in the final game of the double elimination tournament. Right then I determined to make the trip to Tempe, Ariz. for the Super Regional’s. It was a great decision. Bulldog color announcer Ray O'Canto and I caught the same plane on Saturday and play-by-play announcer Paul Loeffler picked us up at the Phoenix Airport, We reached Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark (what a mouthful). Actually Arizona State, with 63,000 students, the largest university in the country shortens it to Packard Stadium. The park is cozy, ideal for the Sun Devils power lineup. The press box is something else. I was given a pass to sit with Paul and Ray in the KMJ corner. Problem was the location. On the roof of the press box and to get there was an iron ladder straight up about 15 feet. It was a challenge for this 81-year-olds’ legs but I made it up and down three times. For younger guys like the Bee writers, and radio announcers Paul and Ray, it was no problem. After looking at that Arizona lineup Ray commented, "we have to win the first one. There is no way we are going to sweep two from these guys." The park was standing room only
(around 4,500) with the small, but vocal Fresno State rooters packed on the first base side. It was a close game until a bad hop on a potential double play ball to Erik Wetzel opened the flood gates for a 124 Sun Devils win. As the Bulldogs were to prove when their backs were to the wall the opponents were in trouble. The following day Arizona State built a 5-3 lead and Sun Devil fans were salivating. Then came one of the defining moments of the Super Regional’s. The bases were loaded with Gavin Hedstrom at bat with two strikes and two outs. O'Canto accurately said: "this could be the biggest pitch of the game." It was. Hedstrom launched a grand slam into a drove of shocked Sun Devil rooters in left center. Now it was 7-5 Bulldogs and they never trailed again in this or the next game. Steve Detwiler, playing with a serious hand injury, also hit a two-run homer for a sneak preview of what was ahead in Omaha. Brandon Burke closed it out in typical fashion for him and Fresno evened the series 8-6. Fresno third baseman Tommy Mendonca, playing with two taped dislocated fingers on his throwing hand was as O'Canto put it "Brooks Robinson in a Bulldog uniform. We slept better after that one. The third game could have been a snoozer if Burke hadn't had one of his rare poor ninth innings. But the Sun Devil pitchers were little more than batting practice for the Dogs. Arizona State still kept it close 65 until the Fresno seventh when Erik Wetzel's three-run double into the right field corner sealed it. Stunned Sun Devil fans, many of whom already had purchased tickets to Omaha, left for home. Senior Steve Susdorf, the most prolific RBI man in Bulldog history put another nail in the coffin following Wetzel with a two-run homer to the furthest corner of the park. Even though the Sun Devils loaded
the bases in the ninth with four runs in I still had confidence Burke would get the job done which he did on a harmless fly ball to Susdorf. Then came the dog pile and the Sun Devil players looked like the deer in the headlights. O'Canto pounded me on the back and nearly fell out of the press box. He and Loeffler had done a superb job of painting the picture for their radio listeners. I even made a cameo appearance on the radio while waiting for the coach and players. My assessment was that Fresno had faced the best pitching in Long Beach and the best hitting in Arizona and they could not be counted out in Omaha. Susdorf came into our booth and I asked him what he felt on that last fly ball? His eyes were still as big as it showed in the Bee picture the next day. He smiled. "I knew one thing for darn sure, I wasn't going to drop it." It was an end to a perfect weekend. The only thing I thought was an oversight in not putting Wetzel on the all-tournament team. Why didn't I go to Omaha? It was going to be too long and too expensive and besides I could watch it all on television (turn down the TV and listen to the radio) and enjoy every minute as I did. Rice was high on the list of Omaha favorites in a field stacked with top 10 ranked teams. Fresno pummeled the Owls 17-4. It was 11-0 after four innings and 16-2 after six.
After a day's rest Fresno beat North Carolina 5-3. Justin Miller was a little wild but pitched seven solid innings. "Bulldog mania" was beginning. It was a let down when North Carolina's Chad Flack clubbed a two-run homer in the eighth-inning for a 4-3 Tar Heel win. I never lost hope with this team that was playing hard and making spectacular defensive plays. The great thing to me they were having fun. One ill advised scribe asked Fresno players if they were "devastated" after losing a game it looked like they would win. Wetzel said "we don't have anything to be demoralized about. That's a real good team in the other dugout." From that time on it was a total team effort. Everyone contributed. It was interesting that Fresno eliminated North Carolina 6-1, identical to the 6-1 finale against Georgia. I admit I thought it was in the bag when Fresno led Georgia in the opener of the best of three 6-3 going into the ninth but Burke again had a lapse and Georgia Bulldogs rallied for a 7-6. I told a good friend only half joking "Fresno has them right where they want them." After the next night when Fresno clubbed Georgia into submission 19-10, even after Georgia had led 5-0 I was fully convinced they were going to win. Fres no was playing with a flair that captivated the nation and infuriated the
opponents. When I watched Justin Wilson throw strike after strike I was convinced they would win. They were loose. Three errors by the usually sure handed Muno. No problem. When crunch time came Muno started the double play that ended any hope for a Georgia rally. One of the funniest moments of the final game came after Georgia's Matt Ceione lost control of his bat and it slammed against the back wall of the Fresno dugout, narrowly missing a player. As Wilson threw the next pitch the entire line of players in the Fresno dugout ducked like a well rehearsed chorus line. Here is in the final game of the World Series and they were clowning. It was great. They had done the same thing the night before when Matt Olson lost the handle. Wilson actually toyed with the potent Georgia lineup. He never faltered. Meanwhile, Detwiler, bad hand and all, was having the game of his life. He hit two home runs, a double and a single to drive in all six runs. Mendonca was deservedly the MVP of the series but a case could be made for Detwiler. Not only did he hit but made a stellar catch bouncing off the right field wall. He also caught the last out of the championship and quickly stuffed the ball into his pocket while running to join the dog pile. This from a player with a thumb so sore Batesole wondered if he could go in the last game. "This was for a whole lot of Bulldogs who never made it to Omaha and even for those that did," said O'Canto. "This is one for the ages." It certainly was for this old long-time Fresno State baseball follower and my brother Don who played on the 1954 team that lost to Oregon 1-0 in a game to go to Omaha called by rain after five innings. My congratulations to all the coaches and players who made a dream come true.
Bruce Farris covered Fresno State sports in the Fresno Bee for 52 years. He was inducted into the Fresno State Baseball Wall of Fame in 2003.
MENDONCA CAPS OFF AMAZING SUMMER WITH TEAM USA GOLD
Tommy Mendonca, MVP of the College World Series Champion Fresno State Bulldogs, continued an amazing summer with his selection to the 2008 National Collegiate Team. Mendonca was selected by Team USA on June 28, leaving just him just a few hours to savor the Bulldog's victory celebration in Fresno. Before leaving town to join the National Team, Mendonca was chosen to appear on the August cover of "Imagine Fresno" magazine Men's Edition. The Fresno Bee's VP of Custom Publications Valerie Bender stated in her editorial, "The Bulldog baseball team left an everlasting impression on Fresno of the merits and rewards of good solid teamwork. These young men put their hearts and souls into the game; they won against insurmountable odds (and) they are our hometown heroes." "Mendonca was a delightful, humble young man while undergoing our photo shoot. He shook hands with everyone he came across and was truly a good sport. He's genuinely a team player - and on top of that, he's the man - the man we wanted on the cover of our Men's Edition." With the Collegiate National Team Mendonca played in 21 games and was 12for-52 from the plate, scoring seven runs,
seven RBIs and two home runs. Team USA completed a perfect 24-0 run on August 2 by defeating Japan 1-0 in the Gold medal game. Tommy played a key role in the final, going 4-for-4 and was hit by a pitch. In an interview with his hometown paper, The Turlock Journal, Mendonca talked about his experience with Team USA. "I tried to soak everything in. I came off 78 college games, and my role on this team was defense. My defense was better than my hitting." Mendonca traveled to The Netherlands, Germany and the Czech Republic during his time with USA's National Collegiate Team. "It was different," said Tommy, "I sure appreciate America now. The English television... everybody that speaks English. Even the food. It's a lot better here than over there." "It opened my eyes to start appreciating everything we have." And Tommy, we appreciate everything that you and the entire Bulldog baseball team have given to Fresno.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS OCTOBER 3 Fri
Fall Practice Begins
Board Meeting 6:30 pm North Gym Annex-Conf
Scrimmage 1:00 pm Beiden Field Dugout Club members and friends welcome
Wall of Fame Dinner 5:30 pm Pardini’s – Shaw & West 2008 Team Awards
NOVEMBER 12 Tue Board Meeting 6:30 pm North Gym Annex – Conf 22 Sat
Fall Practice Ends
DECEMBER 10 Tue Board Meeting 6:30 pm North Gym Annex - Conf
RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED
2009 DUGOUT CLUB MEMBERSHIP FORM Help us Reach our Goal - 1000 Members - & Continue the Tradition Of Service to Bulldog Baseball The Dugout Club is a fan-based organization overseen by the Bulldog Foundation and established to increase enthusiasm for Fresno State baseball and enhance the student-athlete intercollegiate experience. Support for the Dugout Club is generated through memberships and fan-based activities. Though the Dugout Club is not primarily fund raising driven, we may provide resources for designated projects approved by the athletic department.
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□Check payable to: The Bulldog Foundation □Visa/MasterCard/Discover/Am. Express #_________________________ Exp __/__ 3-digit Security Code__ __ __(on back of card) Name on Card_________________________ Signature_____________________________ Contact Joyce Buss for information @ (559) 434-5714 Return Membership Form and Payment To: The Bulldog Foundation ● P.O. Box 26267 ● Fresno CA 93729-6267 ● (559) 244-5600