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Will 4 Be the Bulldogs Lucky Baseball Number Again in the NCAAs?
GV-Wire-1
By gvwire
Published 4 weeks ago on
May 31, 2024

The 2024 Mountain West champion Fresno State baseball team opens the NCAA regionals against host UC Santa Barbara at 6 p.m. on Friday. (gobulldogs.com)

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Fresno State opens play in the NCAA baseball regionals with hopes of four being their lucky number.

The Bulldogs (33-27) are seeded fourth in the team’s regional game against UC Santa Barbara. Above the Bulldogs are No. 1 Gauchos (42-12), No. 2 San Diego (40-13), and No. 3 Oregon (37-18).

Red Wavers, of course, are reflecting on 2008 when the Bulldogs traveled to the Long Beach regional as the fourth seed — with a 33-27 record, no less. Not only did the Bulldogs advance out of Long Beach, they also claimed their only NCAA baseball championship, under then-coach Mike Batesole.

In addition, coach Ryan Overland was a catcher on that College World Series-winning Bulldogs team.

Last weekend, the Bulldogs stormed back from a first-game loss to win the Mountain West tournament as the No. 4 seed.

UC Santa Barbara Undefeated at Home This Season

The Bulldogs face a formidable obstacle in Friday’s 6 p.m. game against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.

The Gauchos have not lost in 25 games on the new surface at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. In those 25 wins, Santa Barbara is outscoring opponents, 206-78. This season at home, the Gaucho offense is hitting .311/.410/.517 as a team with 39 home runs, while the pitching staff is holding opponents to a line of just .216/.284/.311 with just 14 home runs.

Six Gaucho batters are hitting .300 or better at home, with catcher Aaron Parker’s .409 leading the bunch. On the mound, all three weekend starters have ERAs under 3.00, with Tyler Bremmer’s 1.42 the best of the group.

The Gauchos own a 39-33 all-time record against the Bulldogs.

Hopfe, Morgan, Gray Lead the Bulldogs

Fresno State is led by All-Mountain West first-teamers Tommy Hopfe and Grady Morgan.

Hopfe, a two-way player for the Bulldogs, hit .357 with seven home runs and 45 RBI while playing first base and left field. On the mound, he is the Bulldogs’ closer, earning eight saves while striking out 21 batters in just 15 2/3 innings.

Morgan is hitting .303 with 13 home runs, including two in a game against Air Force in their final series, part of a 5-RBI day. Fresno State’s middle infield of Ben Newton and Eddie Saldivar both took home All-Mountain West Second Team honors. Newton leads the squad with 25 doubles, while Saldivar is the team’s second-best hitter behind Hopfe.

Murf Gray was the Mountain West tournament MVP. He hit .524, with five doubles, two HRs, and seven RBIs in the five games.

The 6 p.m. game will air on ESPN +. The tournament is double elimination.

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