Fresno State's Taylor Ward Invited to USA Baseball Training Camp

courtesy of Fresno State Athletics

FRESNO, Calif. - USA Baseball announced on Wednesday that they have extended an invitation to Fresno State catcher Taylor Ward to join the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team training camp in North Carolina. Beginning June 19, Ward will be competing for the opportunity to be named to the final 24-man roster on June 29.

“We are very excited that USA Baseball has selected Taylor Ward for their June tryout," said head coach Mike Batesole. “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 sophomore, Ward was one of three Bulldogs to start in 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 on 70 hits, including eight doubles and six home runs. Ward also accounted for 41 RBIs.

“I am really excited about this huge honor and opportunity to be invited to tryout for Team USA," said Ward. “I’d like to thank my parents, Coach Batesole and the Bulldog community for all the support that made this possible.”

The Indio, Calif. native was named All-Mountain West Second-Team in his first season as the Bulldogs’ primary starting catcher in 2014. His conference batting average was .345, which ranked No. 10 in the conference. He had a.479 slugging percentage and .410 on base percentage to go with 25 RBIs, four home runs and 57 total bases - all marks that placed in the top-12 in the league. He was also a two-time MW Player of the Week consecutive weeks running from Feb. 17 - March 2.

“USA Baseball is thrilled with the talent that will be at the Collegiate National Team’s training camp in June,“ said USA Baseball General Manager Eric Campbell. “Taylor is a great player and we are looking forward to having him compete for the opportunity to represent his country both domestically and abroad.”

The 2014 Collegiate National Team will be coached by Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn. The team's assistant coaches include Rob Childress (head coach at Texas A&M), Ray Birmingham (head coach at New Mexico) and Steve Rodriguez (head coach at Pepperdine).

The Collegiate National Team will play games against Chinese Taipei and Japan on U.S. soil while also making trips to The Netherlands for the Honkbal - Haarlem Baseball Week and to Havana, Cuba for a Friendship Series against Cuba. The Collegiate National Baseball team begins play on June 21 with the Red, White and Blue Tour in various cities across the United States.