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The Top Teams Remain Close in MWC Baseball

UNLV takes two of three games at home against SDSU. The best starting rotation in the Mountain West put a clamp on the Aztecs' big bats. All of this was about what most figured would happen. One team or the other would take two in a close battle of the weekend. New Mexico also won two of three to remain within biting distance. Nevada put a serious hurt on Air Force to continue their losing streak. Fresno State froze to death in Omaha.

Fedde delivers against SDSU
Fedde delivers against SDSU
R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Photo Services

Mountain West Starting to Spread Out

The MWC has UNLV winning a big series with SDSU and placing itself squarely in the lead by a game and a half. Air Force is struggling mightily at 1-8 and solidly in the basement. Four of the other teams are on the hunt for the Rebels spot and San Jose State is closer to last than first. There is still a lot of baseball left but UNLV's starting pitching is still very strong. They quieted San Diego State's hot bats in winning two of the three games.

San Diego State (5-4) at UNLV (9-3)
The Aztecs went into Vegas and almost lost all the games. Losing two of three for either team is about what I figured. The Rebels won game one 5-4 in an obviously even game. Erick Fedde (4-1) went the distance striking out 12 as he keeps rolling. It appears the three runs scored in the bottom of the sixth were the winners and were scored mostly due to a lot of walks. Do I have to say what killers those are? Game two was won by the Aztecs 5-2 as Bubba Derby (4-0) gets the win. John Richy (4-1) suffered his first loss as he couldn't duplicate the dominating performance he had against San Jose State. Just another close game. The rubber match was all UNLV as they win 9-1. Bryan Bonnell (3-1) went the distance in workman-like fashion; 7 hits, 1 earned run, no walks, and 1 strikeout. Just doin' my job. A 4 run first inning was all it took to salt this one away. I don't think you can say goodbye to the Aztecs even though they lost the series. The two things that I DID notice are that the Rebels' pitching calmed down the hot Aztec bats and they had two complete games from the starters. We'll see how that plays out down the line.

San Jose State (4-8) at New Mexico (6-3)
The Spartans headed into Albuquerque to face the pretty strong Lobos with high hopes. They had played UNLV fairly even (save for one game trouncing) so they had to have some confidence coming in. Not so fast. They lose game one 10-1 as they make 5 errors leading to 5 unearned runs. Starter Jonathan Hernandez (0-3) deserved better. The game was never in doubt, really, even though it was only 3-1 at the end of 6 1/2 innings. Two late inning explosions made the game a rout. New Mexico catcher Alex Real led the hit parade going 4-5 with 4 RBIs. Game two was a turn-around of sorts for the Spartans as they win 8-5. They get 16 hits and freshman shortstop Alec De Watteville goes 3 for 5 with a home run. Another freshman, Logan Handzlik (2-0) goes 7 innings for the win. New Mexico wins the getaway game 9-4 and the Spartans only score their runs in the ninth inning to make it seem a reasonable game. It wasn't. Chase Harris had a good series and went 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs and a home run for the winners. Josh Walker (3-1) went 8 innings and kept the game in control when it counted. He walked two and heard on the streaming video that those were the first of the year for him. That's close to incredible. That's how you win.

Air Force (1-8) at Nevada (6-6)
The Falcons are in the midst of a 12 game skid and things don't look very good for them; at all. They lose all three in Reno and score only 4 runs. The pitching was not much better as it gave up 17 runs. Ouch. They had a measly 19 hits in the three games and that is the tale of their woes. At some point they need to get better. I can't believe I just said that. Both hitting and pitching need to improve for them to get better and some home cooking might help, too. They've played only three games at home (against Fresno State) and twice those games were pushed to a different day due to weather. Home games really help. Nevada feasted on the helpless and I'll leave it at that.

Fresno State (15-9) at Creighton (11-6)
The Bulldogs lost the last game 6-2. I'm surprised it was played. Think about it. Game conditions were clear and 32 degrees. That's freezing. No spitballs because you can be hurt by flying ice. I told you about Nebraska and weather in March. I've been there. The Bulldogs lost two of the games played and one was cancelled because it was too cold. Compared to what? There were also 550 fans there. They should be given some award. Any of you out there who are old Giants fans remember the Croix de Candlestick? Maybe they should have an award called the Croix of the Big Tiddy. I won't go into the games. It's too cold.