June 26, 2008
Fresno State banded together to capture
By Phil Stanton
OMAHA, Neb. – Overachievers? Maybe.
Fresno State had a tough road ahead of it when
the regional pairings were announced on Memorial Day. The
Bulldogs would be the No. 4 seed in the Long Beach Regional with
the top-seeded Dirtbags, No. 2 San Diego and No. 3 California.
The Bulldogs started the surprising run with a
7-3 victory over Long Beach State.
“I knew this was a good baseball team when we
beat Long Beach in Long Beach and the Big West Pitcher of the
Year in Liebel,” said Fresno State skipper Mike Batesole. “I
didn’t know we were going to do what we were going to do, but,
for me, that was satisfaction enough. That was pretty good right
there. I could have ended the season right there, when I knew
that was the type of baseball team we had become. That was good
But it was not enough for the players or the
team. The Bulldogs banded together, taking it one game at a
time, winning two of three from San Diego to claim the regional
crown and winning the Tempe Super Regional before taking care of
business in Omaha.
“I saw a quote at Arizona State’s field when we
had their side,” said senior closer Brandon Burke, “coming out
of their dugout. It said, ‘It’s amazing what a group of guys can
accomplish when no one cares who gets the credit.’ I think that
was an amazing quote and it pretty much sums up our team this
Even though Georgia had two first-round draft
picks on its roster, it was Fresno State which prevailed.
“It goes to show that you don’t need that
first-round draft pick on your team to win a National
Championship,” said senior outfielder Steve Susdorf, “all you
need is 25 guys, all committed to the team. No one was about
themselves. It just goes to show that you don’t need that
amazing player to get a National Championship. It’s everyone
Burke was on the mound when the final out was
recorded, and was soon joined by his teammates.
“However, shortly after, my glee was met with
pain,” Burke said. “I might never be able to throw a ball again.
People were just crushing the arm. After like two seconds of
dogpile, I was freaking out. I thought I was going to die for
sure. I started ‘Get off me! I know we won, but this hurts!’ An
amazing feeling how far we’ve come this season and it’s just