Previewing the Tempe Super Regional

At first glance, it looks as if Arizona State got a break, but don't tell Fresno State that. Long Beach State, San Diego and Cal all were considered favorites to advance out of the Long Beach Regional, yet Fresno State came away victorious. The fourth-seeded Bulldogs were just the second fourth seed ever to advance to the Super Regional, thus the Sun Devils won't be taking them lightly.

The Bulldogs had high expectations coming into the season, but the loss of ace Tanner Scheppers to an injury set back Fresno State. However, now they are looking to further shock the NCAA Baseball world, with an upset of the Sun Devils in Tempe.

#1 Arizona State Sun Devils (3rd National Seed)

Record: 48-11, 16-8 Pacific-10 (Champions)

Top Hitters: Brett Wallace 3B .414 21 HR 81 RBI
Ike Davis 1B .394 16 HR 73 RBI
Jason Kipnis CF .363 14 HR 69 RBI

Starting Pitchers: Mike Leake 10-2 3.12 ERA
Josh Satow 9-3 4.58 ERA
Seth Blair 4-2 7.00 ERA
Top Reliever: Tommy Rafferty 12-0 3.65 ERA

About the Sun Devils: ASU couldn't have made their regional run look any easier. Head Coach Pat Murphy took a gamble by starting freshman Matt Newman in the opener against Stony Brook, but it ultimately paid off as the Devils survived and won 9-7. That left Mike Leake and Josh Satow fresh and ready to go for Saturday and Sunday against Oklahoma.

Leake dominated the Sooners on Saturday en route to a 15-3 win and Satow took advantage of a tired Oklahoma team while the bats tore apart a well-used Oklahoma pitching staff in a 12-0 win. ASU has become the only school in the nation this year to host the Softball Regional and Super Regional, as well as the Baseball Regional and Super Regional.

Playing at home bodes well for the maroon and gold as they will take their 40-3 home record into play this weekend. Brett Wallace and Ike Davis were selected in the first round of Thursday's MLB Draft, and teammate Petey Paramore was drafted in the third round.

#4 Fresno State Bulldogs

Record: 40-28, 21-11 WAC (Champions)

Top Hitters: Alan Ahmady 1B .382 12 HR 81 RBI
Erik Wetzel 2B .361 6 HR 33 RBI 10 SBs
Steve Susdorf LF .342 10 HR 77 RBI
Tommy Mendonca 3B .278 14 HR 55 RBI

Starting Pitchers: Justin Wilson 7-4 4.17 ERA
Clayton Allison 3-5 3.74 ERA
Justin Miller 6-3 4.72

Top Reliever: Brandon Burke 4-5 3.08 ERA 11 Saves

About the Bulldogs: The Bulldogs shocked the NCAA Baseball world by advancing to the Super Regional. Missouri back in 1999 was the only fourth seed to accomplish the same feet that Fresno State achieved this year by winning the Long Beach Regional. Pitching was strong for Fresno in every game except one in the Regional upset.

Justin Wilson started things by striking out 11 in a 7-3 victory over #11 Long Beach St. Senior Clayton Allison followed with his best outing of his career, throwing a five-hit complete game shutout against San Diego the next night. It isn't a complete shock that the Bulldogs are in Tempe for the right to go to Omaha. Fresno State entered the season ranked in the Top 25 with high expectations. Injuries and adversity hampered this Bulldog team and nothing hurt more than when ace Tanner Scheppers was lost for the season about six weeks ago.

The junior right hander was expected a Top 10 selection in Thursday's draft before a stress fracture in his shoulder ended the WAC Pitcher of the Year's season. Offensively, the Dogs are led by WAC Player of the Year Steve Susdorf and All-WAC selection Alan Ahmady.

Tempe Super Regional Schedule:

Game 1: Saturday, 6 P.M. ESPNU
Game 2: Sunday, 7 P.M. ESPN2
Game 3: Monday, 4 P.M. ESPN2 (If Necessary)

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