Fresno State Athletics: Diamond ‘Dogs picked 2nd; softball building confidence; Dalena trying skeleton

Local Sports

FRESNO, Calif. — The Fresno State baseball season gets underway this weekend, when the Diamond ‘Dogs host UC Irvine for a 3-game series beginning on Friday.

The Mountain West coaches think pretty highly of this Bulldog squad. The conference preseason poll was released today and the ‘Dogs were picked to finish second, behind San Diego State. Fresno State is coming off of an NCAA Regional appearance last year and won the Mountain West regular season and tournament titles.

Fresno State baseball lost a lot of players from last year’s team, but does return some strong talent on the mound. Two of those pitchers are juniors Jaime Arias and Oscar Carvajal who were named to the Preseason All-Mountain West Team. Arias was a third-team All-American, out of the bullpen last year, while Carvajal was undefeated on the hill as a redshirt sophomore.

Meanwhile, the Fresno State softball team is coming off of an impressive weekend to open its season. The ‘Dogs went 3-2 at the South Florida Tournament, and both of the Bulldog losses were tight affairs against Top 25 teams… 7th-ranked Florida and 17th-ranked Michigan. However, all in all, it was a confidence-boosting weekend.

“It boosts it totally,” said Fresno State sophomore outfielder McKenzie Wilson. “It just shows that yes, we’ve been counted out, but we’re just not gonna sit at the bottom, we’re gonna work our way back up and we’re gonna do what it takes. I think we’ve shocked some people and it’s time to shock some more people.”

Senior infielder Schuylar Broussard agrees saying, “This team has never competed like we have during that [tournament], and it’s just awesome to see and it makes me excited for what’s to come.”

The Bulldogs home opener begins this Friday night during the Fresno State Kickoff Classic at Margie Wright Diamond. They’ll face Cal Poly at 5:00pm and then Fordham at 7:30pm. The ‘Dogs will have another doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 5pm and finishing with Cal at 7:30pm. They’ll wrap up the tournament on Sunday against St. Mary’s at 2:30pm.

Finally, former Fresno State wide receiver Frank Dalena has made quite a change. He now lives in Utah because he’s training to be a Skeleton athlete.

We spoke with Dalena on the phone and he says that his introduction to the sport came during a class that he took at Fresno State and then he became hooked.

“I’ve always been kind of a risk-taker, kind of an ‘out-there guy,” said Dalena. “But it’s definitely different just because we never really went to the snow as a kid.”

He said him and family didn’t go on many vacations growing up.

“I’ve been in the snow more times playing football games than I was recreationally,” Dalena added. “When I put my mind to something, I give 100%. Anybody can vouch for that. So I pretty much agree with my parents, I’m gonna give this an honest shot.”


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