Mountain West Baseball Nearing Half Way Point
The good, the bad, and the ugly. Here's the good. There are four teams in the Mountain West that have good to great pitching. I'm not used to that as I'm a long time follower of the WAC. Good pitching can carry you much further than can good hitting. The bad? If a team can't hit or pitch they usually end up where they deserve. Air Force and San Jose State show that with Nevada to a lesser extent. Ugly? I ain't goin' there. The signature series this weekend will be UNLV at Fresno State. Too close to call but then there's that pitching. Oh, they both have it.
UNLV (9-3) at Fresno State (6-6)
In my estimation the Rebels are the class of the MWC due to their great starting pitching. I'll stop now as I've gone over that ad nauseum. I don't know if I have said that it seems to me that the MWC overall has some pretty decent pitching which could pay dividends come NCAA time. With that said you gotta remember that the Rebels have the best pitching in the MWC (2.30) by about a run. That's impressive. Fresno State? They aren't chopped liver either. They're second in the Mountain West at 2.97 so this could be a series where you wonder if anyone in this world can hit. They both can but pitching is the deal here. Fresno is getting a little close to desperate time.
Jacksonville State (18-10) at New Mexico (20-10)
The Gamecocks out of the Ohio Valley Conference are a bit more than decent even though they haven't played a heavy top ten laden OOC schedule. I see it as they've won the games played, for the most part, and the Lobos should be careful. Jacksonville can hit (.289) as they have five players over .300. The pitching is only so-so and the same goes for the starters. I don't know who the Lobos will see but their ace appears to be Zachary Fowler (4-1 and 2.89) as he has 6 starts and 30 IP. The others fall off a bit after that. They also have a good closer in Travis Stout (a great name - 1-0 and 0.55 with 8 saves in 16 IP). So, if they can stay close with the Lobos and maybe be a run or two up late in the game, expect to see him. The Lobos are coming off a dismantling of local rival New Mexico State by a score of 17-7. The Lobos are hitting a ton (.315) and pitching is becoming a strength (4.00). You get both going and nothing but good do I see. Should be an entertaining weekend with nothing really riding on these mid-year OOC games.
Air Force (2-10) at San Diego State (7-5)
The Falcons will have trouble getting on any kind of good steak in San Diego. They have the worst pitching (6.03) which will be going against one of the better hitting teams in the conference (.301). That's throwing gasoline on a fire if you ask me. The Aztecs are only two games behind leader UNLV so a lot of shifting could happen this weekend.
Nevada (6-6) at San Jose State (4-8)
Two teams in the lower half hope to play some games before it rains again. This set begins the second half of the Mountain West season for the two teams, sorta, as they played earlier in the season in Reno when the Wolf Pack took two of three from the Spartans. The Spartans are hoping to get a little pay back but their pitching has not been consistent at all. Both hit the same but the Pack's pitching is good as it's in the high threes. Anything below 4.00 is good. We'll be at this game if it doesn't rain.