Monday, May 25, 2009

Road trip to Irvine anyone?

After a whirlwind Sunday that rekindled those magical 2008 Fresno State baseball feelings, the NCAA regional brackets were announced this morning on ESPN.

Once again, Fresno State drew a fourth seed -- and rightfully so with a record just a smidgen above .500. The Diamond 'Dogs open with host, and No. 1 ranked, UC Irvine. The Anteaters will likely trot out ace Daniel Bibona (11-1, 2.65 ERA, 95 strikeouts in 98.1 innings). But last season, on its way to the national championship, Fresno State essentially knocked off most of the top 10 teams in the country.

The Bulldogs will be far from intimidated. UC Irvine has a plethora of guys hitting more than .300, but its home run leader, Francis Larson, has just 9. Comparatively, Fresno State's home run leader is All-America third baseman Tommy Mendonca, with 27. Bulldogs freshman Dusty Robinson has 14.

As far as comparisons to last season go, UC Irvine might be most similar to Rice. Very good pitching and guys who get hits and can play a bit of small ball. The biggest question for the Bulldogs is how good the pitching staff can be? One thing's for sure, the starters will have to work deep to make sure someone has gas left in the tank in case of a decisive Game 4 on Sunday.

1. UC Irvine
2. Virginia
3. San Diego State
4. Fresno State

Let's hear it Red Wave...what are your predictions for the regional?

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