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Fresno State sets up unlikely final

OMAHA, Neb. — Fresno State's improbable postseason run, which has spawned "Underdog to Wonderdog" T-shirts among its baseball fans, now heads toward a meeting with Georgia for a national title.

Tommy Mendonca drove in four runs, Clayton Allison came back from a shoulder ailment to allow one run in six innings, and Fresno State beat North Carolina 6-1 on Sunday to win its bracket of the College World Series.

"If you look where we started out," Fresno State closer Brandon Burke said, "where we're at now is inconceivable."

Fresno State (45-30), the first No. 4 regional seed to make the CWS, plays Georgia (44-23-1) in the best-of-three championship starting tonight (7, ESPN2). North Carolina (54-14) was the No. 2 national seed and CWS runnerup the past two years.

Georgia, 22-33 a year ago, is the first team to bounce back from a losing season to reach the CWS final the next year.

"Fresno, they've got to put the underdog card down," Georgia coach David Perno said. "It isn't going to fly with us. They're a real good baseball team."

Fresno State's journey has been anything but smooth. Late Saturday, Chad Flack's two-run homer in the eighth gave North Carolina a 4-3 win that forced Sunday's rematch.

In the regional, Fresno State lost 15-1 to San Diego but beat the host Toreros 5-1 the next day for the title. In the Super Regional, the Bulldogs lost the first game 12-4 to Arizona State then won two straight to reach Omaha.

On Sunday, Fresno State scored at least a run in each inning between the third and sixth.

Allison, out since the second game of the Super Regional because of tendinitis in his right shoulder, allowed a double and five singles. The run came on a bases-loaded walk.

The Tar Heels' loss means the ACC will go another year without a title. Miami and FSU also reached the CWS, but Wake Forest's 1955 title remains the only one for the conference.

Fresno State sets up unlikely final 06/22/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 1:10pm]
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