I'm just beginning my introduction to the MWC and its baseball as I follow San Jose State, the WAC, and the WCC. The Spartans are a new member of the MWC and will be hard pressed to compete in this conference in baseball as well as basketball. Both programs have new coaches and optimism is high, especially in basketball. Anyway, I hope you will be seeing my name a little more often on this site.
The MWC received two bids to the NCAA Tournament and one was no surprise. New Mexico has been a power all season long and deserved this. They get the honor of going to the Fullerton, Calif., Regional to face Arizona State as a number three seed. The top seed is the host team, Fullerton, with ASU No. 2 and Columbia rounding out the regional as the No. 4 seed.
That's about right I'd guess. New Mexico could win new converts by beating the Pac-12's Sun Devils but that will take a huge effort. ASU has been considered one of the elite programs for quite a while but had only a "good" year this season as they ended up 35-20 and fourth in the Pac 12 with a 16-14 record. The Pac 12 is very good and it's hard to argue that point. ASU will be a formidable opponent to start things off. They hit a good .296 as a team and had a power-hitting lineup with 46 homeruns (allowing only 11 I might add).
The team boasts six .300 hitters, so pitching will be paramount, but When isn't it? The starting pitching is ok with their two top starters being Trevor Williams (5-6 4.17) and Ryan Kellogg (11-0 3.26). Uh, did you see that 11-0 record? Will the Lobos see him ﬁrst? Probably. He's a freshman and will probably garner some post-season awards.
The Lobos answer with a team batting average of .336 (Holy cow! as Harry Caray would say) and they can hit the long ball also as they plopped 52 over the fence. The leading hitter is DJ Peterson at .411 with 18 homeruns. Tell me fans, does the altitude have anything to do with that? Here's where it gets ugly. The pitching is not particularly awesome as the team ERA is 5.03 as the team won by overwhelming the opposition not by shutting them down. Leading starter Sam Wolff (7-3 3.05) will probably lead off and be followed by, who knows. Anyway, as good as they are, the Lobos are in for a tough time but the hitting could do it.
The San Diego St. Aztecs hop on a bus and head up to Los Angeles to play the third place team in the Pac-12, and host, UCLA. The Aztecs have decent, but not outstanding, hitting with little power (.274 and 17) and ok pitching (4.07). An ok and an ok in both pitching and hitting does not bode well for success on the road to Omaha. They were also only two games over .500 but there are no 40 win teams in this regional so they have more than a little chance. I'd like to see a San Diego - San Diego State ﬁnal.