Diamond ‘Dogs start season this Friday


Blake Wolf/The Collegian

Senior Nikoh Mitchell gets a hit during the baseball alumni game on Feb. 4, at Pete Beiden Field in Bob Bennett Stadium.

By Robert Rivera, Contributor

The addition of interim head coach Ryan Overland gives the Diamond ‘Dogs a ‘fresh start’ going into the upcoming 2023 season.

Fresno State’s baseball team is coming off a neutral season after going 15-15 in conference play and a total win-loss record of 27-28. 

Since then, the team has gained 18 newcomers and lost nine players due to graduating or being drafted in the 2022 MLB draft. 

Two of the nine players lost were starters, Zach Morgan and Ivan Luna, who both had batting averages over .340 with 200-plus at-bats last season for the Diamond ‘Dogs.

Despite key names leaving, the Diamond ‘Dogs’ infield stays intact with three returning starters. 

Returning Bulldog junior Ben Newton, infielder, had a .306 batting average last season and scored 26 runs in 163 at-bats. 

Ixan Henderson, Bulldog junior and left-hand pitcher (LHP), was named as a preseason All-Mountain West selection.

Henderson pitched a 4.69 earned-run average (ERA) last season with a record of 7-4. He also led in strikeouts with 98 K’s in 78.2 innings pitched. 

Bulldog LHP Jake Dixon followed with a 4.56 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 49 innings pitched last season. 

Coach Overland has been on the ‘Dogs’ staff for 11 seasons and was a member of the 2008 National Championship-winning Bulldogs team. 

Alongside Overland, three new faces have been added to the ‘Dogs dugout with assistant coaches Troy Buckley (Santa Clara, ‘89), Ritchie Price (Kansas,’06) and volunteer assistant Jack Karraker (Oregon, ‘16).

The Diamond ‘Dogs will begin their season playing in the MLB4 tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona, against big names like Michigan, Arizona and Michigan State. 

The season will also include regularly scheduled matchups against Mountain West Conference teams like San Jose State, New Mexico State, Air Force and University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Thirty of the 54 games scheduled will be played in Fresno. 

The Diamond ‘Dogs will take the field in Arizona on Friday, Feb. 17, against Michigan with first pitch being scheduled at 10 a.m.