Mountain Gets Shook by Sweeps
The MWC had two series of some import this past weekend and both resulted in sweeps by the home teams over those trying to keep close in the race to the finish. Nevada surprised many (including me) by sweeping a very good (and rated) San Diego State. That moved the Pack up a notch or two in the standings and the Aztecs down to a team wondering what the hell just happened here. Fresno State had the same thing happen to them in Albuquerque. Ouch. The San Jose State Spartans went down to the desert to take on the Rebels of UNLV and most expected to see them get embarrassed by that pitching if nothing else. I'll agree that they barely were competitive by winning only one game of the three but let me say a few things about my beloved boys in blue. They are trying to rebuild a program and that is a slow process.
Here's the point I'm trying to make that I saw on a bulletin board. The Spartans' strength of schedule is rated the second toughest in college baseball. They deserve a round of applause for that. They haven't done well against the competition but you gotta play the best to really see of what stuff you're made. No fourteen home games to open the season and no cupcakes. The freshman are sticking with it and I've seen no quit in the games I've attended. I have one tattoo and I don't plan on getting a SJS one but this makes me feel good about the Spartans and the MWC. I'm done.
Air Force (10-25) at South Dakota State (16-17)
The Falcons are on a bit of a win streak. Well, not a streak, but they have won four of the last five games. That's big for them as that puts them at ten wins for the season. Geez, count your blessings or what. Cameron White (2-6) was the big winner in the series and I've already talked about him and I'm not going to beat that drum too much. Hell of a performance, though. They take two of three from the Jackrabbits and those were on the road so more thumbs up. Well done.
Fresno State (7-11) at New Mexico (11-4)
The Bulldogs went to Albuquerque hoping for the best and received the worst. They got swept by the Lobos and now have lost seven of nine games. I'm thinking Coach Batesole is not getting the best of sleep as of late. His team seems to have top notch recruiting and some actually pan out. It hasn't panned out in wins. The mutts' MO in the past has been perform poorly during the regular season and then win the conference tournament to get the bid. It works but, yuck. I know the WAC tournament which was held in Mesa, Arizona a few years ago cooked just about everyone and pictures of the stands showed no one. But, and a big but, the outcome was important as the only automatic bid went to the winner, whichever team won it. Again, yuck. Ok, ok, I'll stop. Uh, where was I. Oh, yeah. The Lobos scored a run in the bottom of the eighth to break a tie and win game one 5-4. In game two the Bulldogs had twelve hits and three home runs all to no avail as they lost 11-6. The Lobos scored in only two innings but they were biggies. A seven run bottom of the fourth salted this one away in the win column. Pitching showed up a bit in the last game as the Lobos completed the sweep 4-1. Josh Walker (5-2) went the distance and was in control the whole game. Fresno State junior Jordan Luplow was the lone light for the mutts as he hit a few home runs to add to his league-leading 7. I'm thinking he's gone after this year. He is a candidate for POY as he combines BA with power. The bigs (and fans) love that.
San Jose State (6-12) at UNLV (13-5)
The Spartans looked for, found, and followed the script used the last time these two played. The Spartans got trounced in game one (9-1), lose the second in a competitive game (2-1) as the pitchers from both teams showed their stuff. Hats off to them. John Richy (5-2) goes the distance for the win. He gives up ten hits but walked none while striking out nine. That's how it's done. The Spartans won the final in fourteen innings. The 4-3 score doesn't really tell the whole picture. The Spartans pitchers dodged bullets the whole game to win it. In the bottom of the fourteenth, for instance, the Rebels had runners on first and third which represented the tying and potential winning runs and got nuttin' honey. Yeah, sweaty inning. The Spartans Matt Carroll went 4 for 7 and had all the RBIs. Good game.
San Diego State (10-8) at Nevada (11-7)
The Aztecs head to Reno hoping to catch UNLV but they fell a few spots in the standings as they got swept by the Wolf Pack in a very surprising series. The sweep gave Nevada a six game winning streak which means they're peaking at the right time. They won the first game 4-2 and it was the top of the order that took care of business. Kyle Hunt, Kewby Meyer, and Austin Byler all had home runs and had three RBIs to aid the win. A five run first inning was all it took to win game two 8-0 as this was a complete win for the Pack. Michael Fain (4-2) was in complete control for his 7 2/3 innings for an impressive win against a good hitting team. In game three the Wolf Pack offense proved too much for the Aztecs as they drop this one 11-4 to complete the sweep.