June 26, 2008


Team Spirit

Fresno State banded together to capture crown


By Phil Stanton

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


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 enough.”


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 year.”


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 working together.”


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 been phenomenal.”