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FSU Tournament Preview

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We're just a day away from the First Pitch of the 2011 NCAA Baseball Season, and the Beavers open up in Fresno. Below is a quick preview of the four game tournament. Go Beavers!

The Games

Day Date Opponent Time (Pacific)
Saturday Febuary 19th Gonzaga 2:00 PM
Sunday Febuary 20th Gonzaga 1:00 PM
Sunday Febuary 20th Fresno State 6:05 PM
Monday Febuary 21st Fresno State 1:05 PM

You can listen to the first game on KKAD 1550, both Sunday games on KPAM 860, and Monday's game back on KKAD 1550. You can also view the final two games on BSNet TV, for a fee.

The Venue

The park is named after former FSU Baseball Coach Pete Beiden. It has hosted eight NCAA Regionals since 1979. The Bulldogs averaged a home attendance of 1,795 last season. Fresno State went 18-17 at home last season, while Gonzaga went 4-5 at neutral sites. The Field Dimensions are below.

Left Field-330 Feet
Power Alleys-370 Feet
Center Field-400 Feet
Right Field-330 Feet

Gonzaga

I think the Beavers sweep the Zags, whose only main threat is pitcher Cody Martin. Martin was selected in the 20th Round by the Minnesota Twins last season, but decided to return to Gonzaga instead. However, the Zags will likely start Martin on Friday night against Fresno State, so the Beavers will probably not have to face him.

The Bulldogs return 6 starters from lat season, along with two weekend starting pitchers. Left-hander Ryan Carpenter is Gonzaga's second best pitcher, and he is Saturday's probable starter against the Beavers. He went 4-4 last season with a 5.67 ERA.

Gonzaga's leader at the plate is 1B Andy Hunter. Hunter had a .290 batting average with 40 RBI's and six home runs in 2010. The infield looks to be steadier with three of the four starters from last season returning, including 2B Clayton Eslick (.269) and SS/3B Steven Halcomb (.248).

Gonzaga went 20-36 last season. They finished 7th in the WCC last year.

This season, the Bulldogs were picked to finish 6th in the Preseason WCC Coaches Poll. Ryan Carpenter was named to the Preseason All-WCC Team. College Baseball Today picked Gonzaga to finish 7th in the WCC this year, and has Gonzaga ranked 187th in their pre-season power rankings.

The Zags also received votes in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper pre-season poll.

Rest of the preview after the break

Fresno State

This is when the weekend gets tough. Fresno State returns all four weekend starters along with seven fielders that include Jordan Ribera and Dusty Robinson, who hit 27 and 16 home runs last year, respectively. The Beavers should be able to get the Monday game against FSU, but I can't see them sweeping the Diamond Dogs.

Fresno State's infield is just ridiculous, with 1B Ribera, SS Garrett Weber, and 3B Danny Muno all on Perfect Game USA's All-WAC Team. Greg Gonzalez is the Bulldogs best pitcher, and he is Friday's probable starter against Gonzaga. He went 8-2 last season with a 6.54 ERA.

Fresno State's leader at the plate is Outfield Bobby Coyle. Coyle had a .360 batting average with 69 RBI's and eleven home runs in 2010. The next best hitter is SS Garrett Weber, who hit .387 with 94 hits, 38 RBI's, and one home run.

Fresno State went 38-25 last season. They finished 1st in the WAC last year.

This season, the Bulldogs were picked to finish 1st in the Preseason WAC Coaches Poll. SIX Fresno State players were named to the Preseason All-WAC Team. Perfect Game USA picked Fresno State to finish 1st in the WAC this year, and College Baseball Today has them ranked 25th in their pre-season power rankings.

The Bulldogs are ranked 29th in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper pre-season poll.

Prediction

Saturday (Gonzaga)-Win
Sunday (Gonzaga)-Win
Sunday (Fresno State)-Loss
Monday (Fresno State)-Win

I wouldn't be shocked if we go 2-2, but I think 3-1 is pretty likely. We should be able to handle the Zags, espeically because we won't see their ace pitcher. But Fresno State is loaded and will have home field advantage. But whatever happens, it's College Baseball, and I'm just thankful it's back.