FRESNO, Calif. — The Fresno State baseball team will open its 2020 season this weekend with a three-game series against UC Irvine at Beiden Field at Bennett Stadium.
Here’s some extra notes from Thursday’s media availability before practice.
New-Look Offense & Defense
The Bulldogs will return some strong pitching in 2020, but had five key position players taken in the MLB draft last year, who are now playing professional baseball.
So, they will need some fresh faces to step up both offensively and defensively this season.
Arias, Carvajal stepping into larger roles
The Bulldogs also lost some key pitchers off last year’s squad.
MLB first round selection (27th overall), and Mountain West Pitcher of the Year Ryan Jensen is now in the Cubs system, and another key starting pitcher off last year’s team, Davis Moore (15th round in 2019) is now a minor-leaguer for the Nationals.
There is some experienced talent coming back on the bump for the Bulldogs though.
Arias was a First-Team All-Mountain West selection as a sophomore, when he served as the Bulldogs closer. He converted 12 saves and posted a 3.28 ERA in 28 appearances on the mound in 2019.
Arias has transitioned back to a starting role this year, and will get the start for the Bulldogs in their Friday night opener against the Anteaters.
Carvajal was equally as dominant as Arias in 2019 as a redshirt sophomore. He posted a 4-0 record with a 2.68 ERA, in 40.1 innings of work. He was a 32nd round selection of the Houston Astros in the 2019 MLB Draft, but elected to return to school this season.
Here’s Arias, when asked Thursday about stepping into the role of the team’s Friday night ace.
Bulldogs facing big-time pitcher Friday
Arias and the Diamond ‘Dogs will square off against one of the toughest pitchers in college baseball on Friday, when they go head-to-head with UCI junior righty Trenton Denholm.
He was an All-American last year, and was also named Big West Pitcher of the Year.
He finished with a 1.81 ERA, and held opponents to a .178 batting average.
Momemtum from NCAA Regional Appearance
Although the Bulldogs as a whole, will be younger and more inexperienced this season as compared to a year ago, there are 19 returners who appeared in a game last season and four who are coming off redshirt seasons.
So, those 23 players got at least a taste of big-time college baseball success last season, when the Bulldogs won the Mountain West regular season and tournament titles, and then came close to advancing out of the 4-team Stanford Regional.
Batesole chasing Beiden on all-time wins list
Head coach Mike Batesole is on the verge of making a little program history.
Entering his 18th season at the helm of the Bulldogs, he has won 583 games at Fresno State and sits only 17 wins shy of 600.
He is also 18 wins away from passing legendary coach Pete Beiden for second on the all-time wins list at Fresno State.
Beiden won 600 games in his 21 seasons as a Bulldog.
Batesole said Thursday he was unaware of being so close to Beiden on the Fresno State wins list, but is honored to be mentioned in the same sentence as the legendary Bulldog skipper.