It started in the College World Series, and continued in last year's WAC tournament. Glimpses of promise, that Bulldog First Baseman Jordan Ribera has turned into a red-hot junior campaign.

"Definitely the WAC Tournament made my mind right," said Ribera. "And then this whole fall I'd stand in on pitchers and try to get myself into better hitting counts and not try to do too much."

Not trying to do too much has resulted in 22 blasts in just 46 games, giving the Clovis West product the national lead in home runs.

"It's trust and patience," said Bulldog Head Coach Mike Batesole. "And that breeds success and confidence. He's very confident right now because he's being very patient. He trusts himself. He trusts the system. And every pitch is just a pitch."

Batesole stresses Ribera's monster season didn't just come out of nowhere. A team leader by example, Ribera's tireless work ethic and improved mental approach to the game have produced tangible results.

"Does he throw fastballs on what counts?" Ribera said. "I'll get up there and depending on the situation, with runners in scoring position a lot of off-speed is usually thrown to 3-4-5 hitters. Maybe my last at bat I railed a fastball so maybe first pitch I can sit breaker or sit change up. Just little things like that have really come along this year and helped me out in a lot of ways."

"When we come out for early work he's always working the other way," said Batesole. "He's working the ball hard through the infield. And that's just smart. I've coached a lot of guys over the years that can hit 10-12 home runs a day in BP but you look up at the end of the year and they've got three on game day. And he's working just the opposite."

Ribera will look to build on his national leading home run total this weekend starting Friday night at New Mexico State. The Bulldogs enter the four-game series four games back of the Aggies. It should be a good one.

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fresno state baseball, fresno state bulldogs, sports, david bataller
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