Fresno State resembles a team willing its way through the NHL postseason, given its banged-up roster. The Bulldogs have battled many injuries; just 24 players on their 25-man postseason roster can take the field, and not all of those are able-bodied. Ace right-hander Tanner Scheppers was poised to be a first-round draft pick before a shoulder injury ended that dream and his season in mid-May. Right-hander Clayton Allison, the team’s No. 3 starter all year long, struggled through shoulder tendinitis in Omaha that pushed his first CWS start back to the clinching win against North Carolina. Mendonca has battled through a pulled back muscle and played five weeks with two dislocated fingers that hurt too much for him to even grip the bat. Still, Mendonca drove in four runs in the bracket-clincher against North Carolina and has played highlight-reel defense the entire tournament.

Outfielder Steve Detwiler has played through a torn thumb ligament. The heart of the order – second baseman Erik Wetzel (broken hamate bone) and left fielder Steve Susdorf (bruised hip) – shrugged off maladies to end up as first-team All-Western Athletic Conference performers before going on to key several postseason rallies. Reserve Nick Hom has a broken finger, and first baseman Alan Ahmady chipped a tooth in Omaha that will require dental work.

Those are just the reported injuries. Thankfully for Fresno State, none of the ouchies have included anything related to the heart or guts — two things the Bulldogs have constantly relied upon during their stunning postseason run.

– Will Kimmey, Special to, (6/23/08)