Tuesday’s prep marquee: Buchanan @ Clovis boys volleyball; Fresno @ Hoover baseball; Clovis @ Buchanan baseball

Tuesday’s hottest prep tickets:

Buchanan at Clovis boys volleyball, 6:30 p.m.: Clovis is 8-0 atop the Tri-River Athletic Conference and 30-5 overall. Buchanan, two-year reigning Central Section champion, is 7-1 and 21-9. Cougars, who last won a section title in 2006, defeated the Bears 3-2 three weeks ago. Clovis had gone 0-11 against Buchanan the past four years. Each team will close TRAC play Thursday. Section playoffs begin next week.

Fresno at Hoover baseball, 3:30 p.m.: Fresno can clinch a tie for the North Yosemite League title with a win today. Warriors are 10-1 in the league and 16-8 overall; Patriots are 8-3 and 14-12-1. Fresno beat Hoover 5-1 on April 3. Each team has three league games remaining after Tuesday, including a rematch Friday at Fresno. Playoffs begin in two weeks.

Buchanan’s Jack Wheeless is 10-0 with an 0.78 ERA entering tonight’s start at home against Clovis. He’s already beaten the Cougars 1-0.

Clovis at Buchanan baseball, 6:30 p.m.: Top-ranked Buchanan is 10-1 atop the TRAC and 23-2-1 overall. No. 3 Clovis is in third at 7-4 and 19-7. No. 2 Clovis North is in second at 8-3 and 21-5. Buchanan defeated Clovis 1-0 behind Jack Wheeless four weeks ago. The junior left-hander is 10-0 with an 0.78 ERA entering Tuesday’s s start. Each team will have three TRAC games left after Tuesday, including another against each other Friday at Clovis.

The TRAC has positioned itself to land the top three teams (Buchanan, Clovis North and Clovis) for the D-I playoffs. Section seedings will be May 11 in commissioner Jim Crichlow’s office in Porterville.



Fresno State/NFL catch-up: Thomas drafted, five others to rookie mini-camps

Robbie Rouse, the Fresno State record-holder for career rushing yards with 4,647, has been invited to the Minnesota Vikings’ rookie mini-camp in May.

Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas was the only Bulldogs player selected in the NFL Draft, going to the Washington Redskins in the fourth round. But five other players have been invited to mini-camps, which will be held May 3-5 or May 10-12.

Running back Robbie Rouse, the Bulldogs’ all-time rushing leader, will be in camp with the Minnesota Vikings.

Wide out Rashad Evans and linebacker/safety Shawn Plummer will be going to camp with the Atlanta Falcons.

Outside linebacker Tristan Okpalaugo will be in camp with the Miami Dolphins and punter Andrew Shapiro with the Houston Texas.




Mountain West football: With spring practices over, here’s a look at what’s coming back

Every program in the Mountain West Conference has now completed its spring practices – New Mexico and Wyoming finished up over the weekend.

Here is a quick look at what the teams have returning in 2013 …

Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr returns off a junior season in which he completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 4,104 yards and 37 TDs

Returning starters:

UNLV – 19 (nine on offense, nine on defense, one specialist)

Colorado State – 18 (10 on offense, six on defense, two specialists)

Hawaii – 18 (nine on offense, eight on defense, one specialist)

Utah State – 18 (eight on offense, seven on defense, three specialists)

San Diego State – 17 (seven on offense, nine on defense, one specialist)

Fresno State – 15 (seven on offense, eight on defense)

San Jose State – 15 (seven on offense, six on defense, two specialists)

Wyoming – 15 (seven on offense, seven on defense, two specialists)

Nevada – 14 (seven on offense, five on defense, two specialists)

Boise State – 11 (five on offense, five on defense, one specialist)

New Mexico – 10 (five on offense, three on defense, two specialists)

Air Force – 9 (three on offense, five on defense, one specialist)

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Football: Fresno State-San Jose State game added to TV lineup

Receiver Davante Adams and the Bulldogs will wrap up the 2013 regular season with a nationally televised game against San Jose State on Nov. 29.

A second Fresno State football game has been added to the national television schedule, with the Bulldogs’ matchup at San Jose State on Nov. 29 scheduled to air on the CBS Sports Network.

Kickoff for the Friday after Thanksgiving game has been set for 12:30 p.m. at Spartan Stadium. Fresno State leads the all-time series against San Jose State 39-34-3.

Earlier this week , the Fresno State-Boise State game at Bulldog Stadium on Sept. 20 was picked up by ESPN. That’s also a Friday game, scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m.

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Football: Fresno State QB Derek Carr named to Heisman Pundit Watch List

Derek Carr, passing against Oregon last year, and the Bulldogs open the 2013 season Aug. 29 against Rutgers at Bulldog Stadium.

Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr has been named to the 2013 Heisman Pundit/CBSSports.com Heisman Trophy Watch List.

Carr last season as a junior was the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year and was named an honorable mention All-American by Sports Illustrated after passing for a conference-record 4,104 yards to go with 37 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

Carr is one of 29 players on the list and one of 18 quarterbacks, including two more from the Mountain West — Nevada junior Cody Fajardo and San Jose State senior David Fales.

For his career, Carr has thrown for 7,760 yards — on a school-best .652 completion percentage — with 63 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He enters his senior season needing 3,049 passing yards to break Kevin Sweeney’s school passing record that has stood since 1986.

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Football: Fresno State’s Patrick Kim has career ended by injury

Fresno State center Patrick Kim, the JC transfer who was expected to at best start and at worst provide depth this season, has had his college football career ended by injury.

The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Kim hurt his neck in a non-contact period during spring practices and results of further evaluation and testing found an increased risk of injury should he continue to play football. The decision was made to retire, and Kim will remain on a medical hardship scholarship, which does not count against the NCAA maximum of 85 for football.

“To continue playing would put him in too high a risk for re-injury,’’ coach Tim DeRuyter said. “It’s tough on Patrick. It’s kind of a rare thing, but unfortunately it happened. The good news is that we caught it before something traumatic happened and we’re going to do everything we can to keep Patrick involved in our football program either as a student coach or some type of other role because he’s a great kid. It just hurts when those type of things happen.”

Kim came to Fresno State from Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, playing center and guard for a team that went 11-1 and averaged 421.5 yards and 34.6 points per game. He started his career as a non-scholarship walk-on at USC in 2010 and did not play for the Trojans as a redshirt freshman in 2011.

He was off to a solid start in the spring, working at center with the Bulldogs’ No. 2 offensive line but sat out the last week of practices because of the injury. The line remained unsettled throughout with only the left tackle and right guard spots set with returning starters Austin Wentworth and Cody Wichmann.

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Iconic long-distance presence at Friday’s Reedley Invitational

Former Reedley High long-distance running great Pete Romero will “pass the torch” to Stockdale junior Blake Haney Friday in a special introduction at the Reedley Invitational.

It will be a Hall of Fame moment regarding Central Section long distance running at Friday’s 70th Reedley Invitational.

At about 5:30 p.m., at Reedley High, section track and field historian Ron Blackwood will introduce the leading 3,200-meter runners in Valley history — Stockdale’s Blake Haney and Reedley’s Pete Romero.

Haney, a junior, clocked 8 minutes and 48.58 seconds three weeks ago at the Arcadia Invitational to break Romero’s 46-year section record of 8:49.4.

Romero’s mark was a 2-mile time converted to 3,200 meters. Metric distances were implemented in the section in 1980.

“It will be Pete passing the torch, so to speak, to Blake,” says Aggie Contreras, Reedley’s coach and director of one of the state’s longest-running meets. “We thought it was a good idea.”

Also competing at Reedley in a meet that will begin at 3:30 p.m. will be Buchanan’s Cody Brazeal, who has run the fastest true 1,600 in section history at 4:07.72. Romero ran a converted 4:06.4 in his senior season at Reedley in 1967.

And yet another all-time section great entered Friday will be Madera South’s Jose Herrera, the Division I cross country champion in the fall, who is ranked No. 2 in the section this season in both the 1,600 (4:12.03) and 3,200 (9:07.82). Haney is No. 1 this season in the 1,600 (4:10.39).

Haney is top-ranked in the state for the season in both the 1,600 and 3,200. Herrera is No. 6 in the 1,600 and No. 9 in the 3,200.

Haney, Herrera and Brazeal are expected to represent the section well in the CIF State Track and Field Championships May 31 and June 1 at Buchanan’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.

FCC men’s tennis look to repeat as state champions

Sam Bertram

Top-ranked and undefeated Fresno City College had its way with California’s other JC men’s tennis teams during the season. Now the Rams will look to finish with back-to-back championships.

Fresno City faces host Ventura in the title match at 1 p.m. today at Pierpont Racquet Club, with the state team and individual championships being played out as part of the Ojai Tournament.

“We definitely have to play well,” coach Steve Loop said. “They’re very good and playing on their court will present a challenge for us.”

The Rams (18-0) won the NorCal title with a 5-0 weekend sweep of region No. 2-seeded American River. The SoCal No. 1 Pirates (18-2) edged No. 3 San Diego Mesa 5-3. Fresno City beat Ventura 6-3 earlier this year.

Fresno City entered the season loaded, with four players back from a 2012 undefeated campaign capped by a 5-4 state-championship victory over Mt. San Jacinto.

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Fresno State game against Boise State to be televised by ESPN

The Mountain West Conference released a portion of its national television schedule on Tuesday and, as expected, it includes the Sept. 20 Fresno State matchup against Boise State at Bulldog Stadium.

The Friday night game will kick off at 6 p.m. and be televised by ESPN. It will be the 12th time over the past 13 seasons that ESPN has carried the Fresno State-Boise State game.

Also included on the ESPN schedule: Air Force at Boise State (Sept. 13, ESPN), Utah State at San Jose State (Sept. 27, ESPN), Nevada at San Diego State (Oct. 4, ESPN), Air Force at New Mexico (Nov. 8, ESPNU), UNLV at Air Force (Nov. 21, ESPNU) and Navy at San Jose State (Nov. 22, ESPN2).

ESPN is the second MW television right-holder for conference-controlled football games. CBS Sports Network remains the primary right-holder for the conference.

Between the two networks, up to 44 football games will be televised this season on their various platforms. The remainder of the schedule will be announced at a later date.

Boise State will be on a normal schedule when it comes to Bulldog Stadium, playing at home against the Air Force on Friday, Sept. 13 and at Fresno State on Friday, Sept. 20. The Bulldogs play at Colorado on Saturday, Sept. 14, the week before playing the Broncos.

Prep baseball: Buchanan’s Wheeless in spotlight, but don’t ignore Clovis West’s Marco Pierce

Buchanan’s Jack Wheeless has pitched consecutive no-hitters against Clovis East and Central entering his Tuesday night start at Clovis West.

The buzz, naturally, surrounds Buchanan High’s Jack Wheeless as he opposes Clovis West Tuesday night after throwing consecutive no-hitters against Central and Clovis East.

The junior left-hander will arrive for the 6:30 p.m. Tri-River Athletic Conference game at Stan Bledsoe Field with a 9-0 record, 0.37 earned-run average and having pitched 15 2/3 innings without giving up a hit.

A one-out, sixth-inning single to Clovis’ McCarthy Tatum on April 3 was the last hit Wheeless has surrendered.

Fine, but don’t forget about the other guy.

It was almost a year ago to the day — April 24, 2012 — that Clovis West’s Marco Pierce exploded onto the scene by delivering four innings of perfect relief in a 4-3 win at Buchanan.

Pierce, who had pitched only seven innings before that game, struck out nine, including the last eight batters he faced.

Seven months later, he was signed a substantial scholarship to play for the University of Oregon.

And, Tuesday night, the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder will take the ball in what promises to be a pitch-for-pitch duel with Wheeless.

Clovis West pitcher Marco Pierce, who will oppose Wheeless, has signed with the University of Oregon.

Pierce is 7-2 with a 2.40 ERA, and is 9-2 in two seasons, having struck out 91 with only 23 walks and 53 hits allowed in 72 1/3 innings.

The Golden Eagles’ cleanup batter is also hitting .338 this season with seven doubles, two home runs and 13 RBIs

“Marco’s having a great year,” Clovis West coach Kevin Patrick says, “and everytime he goes out, it’s been in pressure situations. I know he’ll focus on what he can control (against Buchanan). Maybe the pressure will be on (Wheeless).

“Obviously, Buchanan is a great rival, and rightfully so. Our kids are excited. They are starting to play at a higher level and with more confidence.”

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