OMAHA, Neb. Georgia coach David Perno has personal links to each of the Bulldogs' previous five College World Series teams, and said this year's squad borrows strengths from each of them.
He was coach for the teams in 2004 and 2006, and was an assistant on the 1991 squad. The year before, he was a utility infielder on the team that won a national championship. And in 1987, his brother was on the roster.
"What I told the team is they have a little bit of all those teams," Perno said Monday. "They have the first-round picks. From the '87 team (Derek) Lilliquist and (Cris) Carpenter. We had similarities there.
"The camaraderie, the hard-nosed tough guy approach from the '90 team. We had pitching depth in '01 and this team has it, and the experienced lineup. The '04 team, the grit and overachieve. The '06 team we showed we can swing it. All those teams are probably a lot of the reason we're in the position we're in," Perno said.
ROAD WARRIORS: Fresno State's road to the CWS championship series has been gutsy, surprising to many, and just downright long.
"This group has been on the road for 38 days," coach Mike Batesole said after the Bulldogs (45-30) locked up a spot in the best-of-three championship finals.
"Tomorrow will be the 39th day on the road and still to be locked in mentally and having the at-bats they did and the focus they did on the mound, that's what I'm most proud of, win or lose."
Fresno State's 75 games this year are most in the nation.
SUPER SOPHS: North Carolina's run to within a victory of playing in the championship series for a third straight year was due in part to the hitting of sophomores Dustin Ackley and Tim Fedroff.
Ackley finished the year hitting .417 and had 116 hits, second nationally to Buster Posey of Florida State. Fedroff hit .404 for the year and had 115 hits.
In the CWS, Ackley was 12-for-23 (.522) and Fedroff 10-of-21 (.476).
They left the CWS after five games as No. 1 and 2 in hits and tied with two others for total bases with 13. Fedroff also was in a tie for first in runs scored with six.
SHORT HOPS: CWS pitchers have thrown a record 22 wild pitches. The old record of 21 was set four times, most recently in 2004 ... Fresno State is the first team to reach the CWS finals with 30 losses. The most losses by a national champion is 23 by Stanford in 1998. Series finalist Georgia has 23 losses ... North Carolina's final 54-14 record ties with Florida State for most wins in the country this season ... North Carolina finishes the year leading the country in ERA (2.92), strikeouts per nine innings (10) and hits per nine innings (7.56) ... The one run scored by the Tar Heels in a 6-1 loss to Fresno State is only the third time this year that North Carolina was held to one run or less ... The Georgia-Fresno State finals is the first meeting ever between the schools.