Fresno State catcher Taylor Ward has been invited to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team training camp in North Carolina beginning June 19, hoping to land one of 24 spots on a final roster that will compete against other national teams both at home and abroad.
The roster is to be set June 29, with the U.S. hosting Chinese Taipei and Japan on U.S. soil and visiting The Netherlands and Havana, Cuba.
"We are very excited that USA Baseball has selected Taylor Ward for their June tryout," Bulldogs coach Mike Batesole said. "This is a great opportunity and will be a lifelong memory for Taylor. He was not prepared to sign out of high school and he has grown so much. He is now prepared to play with the best D-I baseball has to offer. He will represent Fresno State and our community like a champion."
As a 6-foot-2, 185-pound sophomore, Ward was one of three Bulldogs to start all 57 games in 2014. He made 38 starts at catcher and 19 as the designated hitter. For the season, he hit .320, scored 29 runs and had eight doubles and six home runs among his 70 hits. Ward also had 41 RBIs and walked 28 times compared to 29 strikeouts in 219 at-bats.
"I am really excited about this huge honor and opportunity to be invited to tryout for Team USA," Ward said. "I'd like to thank my parents, Coach Batesole and the Bulldog community for all the support that made this possible."
The Indio native, who prepped at Shadow Hills High, was named to the All-Mountain West second team this season. His conference batting average of.345 ranked 10th in the league.
The 2014 Collegiate National Team will be led by Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. Assistants include Rob Childress (Texas A&M), Ray Birmingham (New Mexico) and Steve Rodriguez (Pepperdine).