Wolf Pack Opens Baseball Season in Texas
Weather always plays a big part in the Wolf Pack's schedule. The early part is almost always on the road due to snow or inclement weather in general. Other than a tour of Texas and three games in Omaha against Creighton most of the games are a bus ride away to the Central Valley or the SF Bay Area.They don't play at home until February 20th and then it's a three game set with league foe Fresno State.
2/13/15 - 2/15/15 at Abilene Christian
I don't really like saying overly critical things about college baseball teams so I'll be calm when I say the following. The Wildcats were 18-36 last year and six of those wins (and three losses) came against teams in lower categories. As I've said before, I think it's a great idea to play an NAIA team for a few games but that's IT! It gives opportunity to those who seldom play and the opponent the opportunity to play up and maybe win. Nuff said. The Wildcats are a member of the Southland Conference which puts out a pretty fair team or two each year; this ain't one of ‘em. The team hit .270 which ain't bad but they lose their two best hitters in Seth Spivey and Kyle Giusti. Returning is Brandon Grudzielanek who hit .323 as a freshman. He's got good blood lines as his uncle is Mark Grudzielanek who played 15 seasons in the bigs. He should improve. Pitching was not so good as a 5.52 ERA hints. The best starter was Garrett deMeyere at 4.36 and 16 starts. The rest did worse. They have a long way to go. Thumbs down.
2/17/15 at Texas Tech
The Red Raiders were a CWS participant last season so little has to be said about this team which Nevada faces on their tour of Texas. They can hit (.285) and pitch (3.11). They lose one good hitter with pop in Adam Kirsch but return Eric Gutierrez who hit .302 with 12 home runs. Geez, home runs are so rare in college baseball. I miss Kris Bryant. The Cubs got sumpin' in him. You watch. The rotation's ace, Dylan Dusek returns after a magnificent season (8-0 and 1.94). The number two starter (Chris Sadberry) is gone as is his 17 starts. They appear to have a deep staff (all the big boys do) so they will be ready. Probably won't see Dusek as he should pitch the weekend but this one game is a thumbs up for sure.
2/24/15 at Stanford
The Cardinal is always in the hunt. They made it to a super regionals last year before being ousted by Vanderbilt. No shame there. Both hitting and pitching were ok but you gotta remember that the Pac 12 is very competitive. Put this team in a lesser conference and they'd kill. Two of the top three hitters have departed but don't cry for the Cardinal as they always have good ones returning and a good recruiting class. Pitching should be much better this year as the two top starters from last year return. This will be a tough game. Thumbs up.
2/27/15 - 3/1/15 Pacific
The Tigers were a .500 team last year which is better than the last few years. Hitting was ok and so was the pitching which is about what you'd expect from a .500 team. Top hitter Brett Sullivan returns to wreak havoc on opposing pitching. The weekend rotation comes back intact so expect big things from the pitching. This could be the Tigers' year to make some noise. Thumbs up.
3/3/15 - 3/10/15 UC Davis (home and home)
I keep hoping Davis will improve and they don't. Of their top four hitters only one returns. That's always hard unless you have some good ones waiting in the wings. I'm thinking coach has some development blues going on. The top three in the rotation are also gone and that's a lot of starts that have to be found somewhere. A veteran staff produced an under .500 season. Thumbs down.
3/17/15 - 3/24/15 Sacramento State
The Hornets are one of the best programs in the west and the tops in the WAC. They are getting better each year and I expect they could be big news in the central valley this year. They had both hitting and pitching (albeit in a lesser conference) but they compete outside the WAC just fine, thank you. They hit (.282) and pitched well (3.27) and that got them into a regional where they won one game in a tough regional. Eh, they're all tough at that stage. They lose one of the premier hitters in the west in Rhys Hoskins but return two top sticks in Nathan Lukes and Kyle Moses. Pitching has really been their game, though, and they have one of the game's best closers coming back in Sutter McLoughlin (9 saves and 1.81). I still think he should start but coach looks like a genius with the kid on the mound. Top starter Brennan Leitao returns for his senior year and he could play at the next level. Thumbs up.
3/18/15 - 3/21/15 Cincinnati
The Bearcats had a sub .500 year as a member of the American Conference. They did poorly in conference (6-18) and the poor hitting (.258) and mediocre pitching (4.69) didn't help as you might figure. The two top hitters are gone but a good portion of the pitching staff returns as does their closer. This is a tough call as the pitching could be good so I'll go thumbs sideways.
3/30/15 at Santa Clara
The Broncos appear to have the aimless boat turned around and heading in the right direction. They had a fair year and were a position or two out of the cellar in the WCC. Way to go, coach. They return the three top hitters and it looks like they get the three weekend starters in the rotation back, too. Things could be good this year for the Broncos. Thumbs up.
4/6/15 - 4/13/15 San Francisco
The Dons come off, for them, a poor year. I expected them to compete for the WCC title and that sure didn't happen. By the time these two programs play we should have a good idea where they are headed. They were four games under .500 overall last year and weren't in the running in the WCC. They lose one of the best in the WCC in Bradley Zimmer but two other good hitters return in Derek Atkinson and Justin McCullough. The team hit .272 which was ok but not frightening to opposing pitchers. Zimmer was the primary threat. They retain two of the top starters in Christian Cecilio and Grant Goodman which means a bit of stability but the overall ERA for the staff was not good at 4.67. Thumbs sideways.
4/7/15 at Reno Aces
I can remember attending a game between San Jose State and the SF Giants many moons ago. I don't think the Giants were all that thrilled but I remember the look on the face of one of the Spartan pitchers after he struck out somebody and was going back to the bench. San Jose State got clobbered, Bob Brenly hit a big home run, but that kid had a grin from ear to ear. I've always thought it should happen more often. Well, here it is. The Aces are the Arizona Diamondbacks triple A affiliate and will play this game as a pre-season warm-up for the pro team as their season starts on April 9. You folks need to go see this game. They're fun.
4/20/15 at San Diego
The Toreros are always good. They get some of the best recruiting classes and turn out the pros. The most recent being Kris Bryant who could be one of the emerging stars for the Cubs. Anyway, they will be competitive. Last year the team did not live up to expectations. In fact, many thought they might be the number one team in the nation. That didn't last as they finished 34-20 and didn't make the cut for a regional. They underachieved. However, they could hit, as .315 attests, and the pitching was good at 3.41. Wha hoppen? That is a good question to which I have no answer. Maybe some of you Torero fans know. Most of the starting lineup hit over .300 and most of them got drafted. They have plenty to take over but only the season will tell if they are rebounding from last year. Pitching? They had some good ones and the pros drafted a few. Two of the starters and a few relievers are now gone. I have no sympathy as I suspect they have some very good arms to take over. This team is always loaded. Thumbs up.
4/28/15 - 4/29/15 Saint Mary's
They also play on May 4th at Saint Mary's. That adds up to a three game series broken up. The Gaels had a tough time last season. They won only 16 games and that's hard to take. Neither the hitting (only one full time .300 hitter) nor the pitching (only one starter in the threes) stood out. Much will have to happen for improvement to show itself. Only one hitter in the top three returns (Ian McLoughlin). Pitching is in a bit better shape as one of the top starters returns as do a few others with numerous starts to give the coach some experience on the mound. Thumbs down.
5/8/15 - 5/10/15 at Creighton
The Blue Jays had a pretty good season last year but no tournament play. That's always a bummer for players and fans alike. That's life as a mid-major. That's crap. The team didn't have much of an offense as they hit only .264 as a team. Pitching was only ok at best also. Still, they won 32 games. C'mon, share the secret. Leading hitter, and only .300 hitter, Reagen Fowler is back for more and there's your offense. Matt Warren was outstanding last season (10-1 and 2.03) as he accounted for just about a third of the wins. He'll be back. Taylor Elman had 17 starts but a poor ERA at 6.62. Seventeen starts; coach liked him. Number three starter (most of the time) is back as Jeff Albrecht completes the weekend trio. That should be the coach's ace to be played out most of the year; experienced pitching. Thumbs up.