The 2008 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament was held from May 30 through June 25, 2008, and was part of the 2008 NCAA Division I baseball season. The 64 NCAA Division I college baseball teams was selected out of an eligible 286 teams on May 26, 2008. Thirty teams were awarded an automatic bid as champions of their conference, and 34 teams were selected at-large by the NCAA Division I Baseball Committee. Thirty-eight of the 64 selected teams participated in the 2007 tournament.
The 2008 tournament culminated with 8 teams advancing to the College World Series at historic Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska on June 14.
The Fresno State Bulldogs beat the Georgia Bulldogs in the best-of-three championship series to win the NCAA Men’s Division I Baseball Championship. Fresno State became the lowest-seeded team (4th in the Regionals) to win the National Championship in NCAA history, and the fifth consecutive baseball team to win the title that was not one of the eight national seeds. They were considered a “Cinderella” team throughout the tournament. This was only the third national championship of any kind in school history, following the 1968 NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament and the 1998 NCAA Division I Softball National Champions.
Fresno State sophomore third baseman Tommy Mendonca won the Most Outstanding Player Award. Tommy hit four home runs and had 11 RBIs and also made a number of spectacular plays in the field.
George played two years at California State University, Fresno, more commonly known as Fresno State. In his first game with the Bulldogs, he scored 14 points in a winning effort against Sacramento State. In the following game, George recorded 25 points and 10 rebounds in a losing effort against Saint Mary’s. Despite the loss, he made an impression with his one-handed slam dunk over Mickey McConnell that earned him SportsCenter‘s number 1 “Play of the Day” for November 18, 2008. On February 9, 2009, he scored a then career-high 29 points to lead the Bulldogs to an 88-82 victory over Boise State. In the 2009 WAC Tournament, the Bulldogs were matched up against Hawaii and advanced to the quarterfinal against the top-seeded Utah State Aggies. During the game, he forced a career-high 5 steals and finished with a team-high 16 points; however, despite his effort, the Bulldogs lost, 85–68. With a 13–21 record, the team failed to qualify for the 2009 NCAA Tournament. He led the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in minutes played (1,176) and finished second in 3-point shooting (44.7%), steals (59), and steals per game (1.74). His 3-point field goal percentage was the third-best in the Fresno State Bulldogs men’s basketball program. He started all 34 games and finished the season averaging 14.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.7 steals per game on 47.0% from the field.
Entering his sophomore season, he was named the most entertaining player in the West region and the eighth-most entertaining player in college basketball by Sports Illustrated in their list of the “Top 16 Most Entertaining Players in College Basketball”. On January 21, 2010, he sprained his right ankle against Utah State and missed the next four games. He made his return on February 11, scoring a career-high 30 points in a winning effort over eventual WAC Tournament champion New Mexico State. During the 2010 WAC Tournament, he recorded 22 points and 11 rebounds, but his team lost to Louisiana Tech in the quarterfinals. The team finished the season 15–18, with George averaging 16.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.2 steals while shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 90.9 percent from the line. He was named All-WAC Second-Team and ranked second in the WAC in free throw percentage (90.9%), steals (64), and steals per game (2.2).
On November 10, 2019, George’s number 24 was retired by Fresno State.
Red & Blue: When Fresno State was choosing the school colors, the women’s teams wanted blue and white while the men’s teams wanted red and white; the school decided to choose red and blue (officially, cardinal and navy blue) as a compromise.
Victor E. Bulldog: The bulldog mascot was chosen when, in 1921, a white bulldog appeared on campus and immediately took to the student body president and his friends. His name is Victor E. The current mascot of Fresno State has the name Victor E. Bulldog III. He was born on March 14, 2015.
V is for Valley: The green “V” featured on Fresno State uniforms is a tribute to the agricultural community of the San Joaquin Valley, the world’s richest agricultural area in export dollars in which Fresno is located. The tribute began in 1997 when new football head coach Pat Hill instituted the green V on the back of the helmets (a tradition later adopted by the other programs) as a means of integrating the school and the community.
College Sports Established
California State University, Fresno
1973 – Present / NCAA Division 1
1939 – 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
2012 – Present / Mountain West Conference
1992 – 2012 / Western Athletic Conference
1969 – 1992 / Big West Conference
1939 – 1969 / California Collegiate Athletic Association
Bulldogs – Late in their initial 1921 season, student body president Warren Moody and friends were continually greeted outside the main campus building by a white bulldog. The dog adopted the group and they decided to make him the mascot. Arids Walker made the motion to adopt “Bulldogs” as the official nickname in a student body meeting. It was on November 21, 1921, that the Morning Republican first referred to Fresno State as the “Bulldogs.”
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