June 23, 2008
Dogs vs. Dawgs for Best in Show
Fresno State to face Georgia in CWS
By Phil Stanton
OMAHA, Neb. – CWS might now stand for
Canine World Series.
It will be Bulldogs vs. Bulldogs in the
Championship Series of the 2008 College World Series as Fresno
State eliminated No. 2 North Carolina 6-1 Sunday in front of
15,125 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium to earn a date with No. 8
Georgia for the national title.
Fresno State (45-30) will face Georgia (44-23-1)
on Monday at 7 p.m. ET in Game 1 of the best-of-three
Championship Series. The Tar Heels end their season at 54-14.
(left) (4-5) went six innings for the
Bulldogs with six hits, one run, three walks and six strikeouts.
Holden Sprague pitched a scoreless seventh and Brandon Burke
finished with two shutout innings to give Fresno State its first
shot at a national championship.
“It was another must-win we had today,” Allison
said, “like we had in Tempe, Arizona. We came out with our backs
against the wall. I knew I had to make some pitches. Our defense
played awesome. Ryan Overland blocked a bunch of splits in the
dirt, none of them scored. The whole defense was solid.
This was Allison’s first action since June 8 in
the Tempe Super Regional at Arizona State. He did not pitch
earlier in the College World Series due to tendonitis in his
“That was a gutsy performance when we needed one
the most,” said Fresno State head coach Mike Batesole. “What
Allison did today was really, really special. That was a mental
win, didn’t have much to do with what he had physically. That
was a mental battle and he won it. All three guys that pitched
today were real special with their location. Their stuff wasn’t
as good as I’ve seen them have it but mentally they were locked
in and they located exceptionally well. I think that was the big
The Bulldogs had base-runners in ever inning and
scored in four of their first six at-bats. FS scored two in the
third, single runs in the fourth and fifth and two more in the
sixth for its total of six. UNC got its lone run in the fourth.
Starter Adam Warren, one of seven pitchers used
by UNC, faced just nine batters in 1.2 innings. He did not allow
a hit, but walked four, including the bases loaded in the
second. Lefty Brian Moran took over and got leadoff hitter Danny
Muno to hit a grounder up the middle. Shortstop Ryan Graepel
made a diving stop and executed a backhand flip while still
lying on the ground to second baseman Kyle Seager just ahead of
the runner to end the threat.
Fresno State broke the ice with a pair in the
bottom of the third. With one out, Erik Wetzel singled and moved
to third on a double to right center by Steve Susdorf. Alan
Ahmady was intentionally walked and was later picked off first
for the second out. Tommy Mendonca capped a nine-pitch at-bat
with a single to left that scored both base-runners and gave the
Bulldogs a 2-0 advantage.
The Tar Heels got a run in the fourth as Tim
Fedroff had a leadoff single, moved to second on a base hit by
Chad Flack, moved to third on a one-out walk to Tim Federowicz
and scored on a walk to Kyle Shelton. Allison got a strikeout
and a fielder’s choice to stop the rally.
The Bulldogs got that run back in the bottom of
the frame. Jordan Ribera had a one-out single and moved to third
when Colin Bates’ pickoff attempt went into foul territory down
the right field line. Muno’s base hit brought in Ribera to make
it a 3-1 contest. Gavin Hedstrom had an infield single to keep
the rally going. After a strikeout, Susdorf hit a ball foul down
the left field line. Left fielder Shelton made a sliding catch
just before going into the wall face first to end the inning.
Fresno State scored again in the fifth. Ahmady
walked and scored on a double by Mendonca to make it 4-1. After
a hit batsman, a fielder’s choice and a walk loaded the bases,
Alex White came on to pitch for the third consecutive day and
the fourth time in the CWS. He enticed Muno to hit into a double
play to finish the inning.
The Bulldogs got to White in the sixth. Wetzel
had a one-out single and moved to third on a double by Susdorf.
Ahmady hit a ball to third and Wetzel beat the throw home.
Mendonca had a base hit just over the glove of first baseman
Dustin Ackley as Fresno State pushed the lead to 6-1.
Mendonca went 3 for 4 with four RBI. Wetzel and
Susdorf each had two hits and two runs.
Fresno State played outstanding defense, not
committing an error in the contest. The infield combined for 13
assists. Wetzel at second and Muno at short each had tremendous
plays on ground balls in the eighth. Mendonca at third had
several terrific plays, including starting a double play in the
ninth to end the contest.
“Our defense was very smart,” Batesole said.
“They did a good job of thinking ahead. Offensively we gave some
at-bats away. That could have come back to hurt us. But
defensively we were good enough where it didn’t.”
UNC had base-runners in all but the second
inning. The Tar Heels had 10 hits, but grounded into two double
plays and stranded 10. Ackley and Fedroff each had three hits
for North Carolina.
“We didn’t have a lot of things go right for us
tonight,” said UNC head coach Mike Fox, “and Fresno State had a
lot to do with that. I congratulate them for moving on to play
in the Championship Series. They made every play defensively
against us all three games. The shortstop and third baseman were
sensational. We looked back at the stats and they made some
errors during the year, but they played terrific.”
North Carolina was trying to get to the
Championship Series for the third consecutive year, looking for
its first national title.