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One Weekend Left in Mountain West Baseball

The season has not been decided but it's close. It looks as if either New Mexico or UNLV will be crowned as the regular season champs but San Diego State and Nevada are still in it by the barest of margins. An interesting weekend is coming up.

Coach Birmingham has led the Lobos through stormy seas
Coach Birmingham has led the Lobos through stormy seas
David Benyak

Still Tight With Nothing Decided

San Jose State and Air Force have long been out of the picture in the MWC title race. Fresno State didn't play a conference game this past weekend but are out of it also as they are six games out, three teams in front of them, and only three games to play. San Diego State and Nevada are still in the picture but can ill afford to lose any more games. UNLV lost two of three over the weekend to drop a game behind New Mexico and look to be in the driver's seat with three at home with Air Force to end the season. UNLV will be home to Nevada and the Wolf Pack has been more than decent so the Rebels have to play some of their best ball and STILL may lose out by a game. It's been a good year.

UNLV at San Diego State
The Rebels went into San Diego knowing what they had to do to keep pace with New Mexico. They came up a game short as the Aztecs took two of three from the Rebels. It didn't start well as UNLV won the first game in fairly easy fashion 6-1. John Richy (9-3) got the win by going 8 good innings. It was a tight game at 1-1 until 4 runs were put up by the Rebels in the seventh inning and with Richy on the mound, that was enough. The Rebels Erik VanMeetren was 3 for 4 with an RBI and Joey Armstrong went 2 for 4 with a home run. The second game was won by the Aztecs 7-3 with the aid of two 3 run innings.. Ty France went 2 for 4 with a home run and 3 RBIs for the winners. The Aztecs took the final game and the series 3-2 in a pitchers' duel. Kenny Oakley (3-6) went 7 innings for the loss and Mike Robards (5-4) went 7 1/3 innings for the win. That puts the Rebels in a position of watching the scoreboard hoping the Falcons can take a game or two from New Mexico this coming weekend.

New Mexico at Nevada
The Lobos made their way to Reno and won two of three to gain a one game lead in the conference. All three games were tight affairs and were one run games. Game one was taken by the Lobos 5-4 thanks to the strong pitching of Josh Walker (7-4) who went seven innings for the win. The highlight was Austin Byler's thirteenth home run in a losing cause. Nevada evened the score in game two by 6-5 as the Pack scored all their runs in the first three innings. Barry Timko (6-2) went 7 strong to get the win. New Mexico won the last game by the identical score of 6-5. A three run eighth inning was enough offense to put the Lobos up for good as they had been behind 5-3 up until then. The Lobos are in good shape.

San Jose State at Air Force

The Spartans ended their season pretty much the way it started; win one game in a series and lose the other two in decidedly heartbreaking fashion. Air Force has been playing well as of late and was up to the task of taking down San Jose State. The Spartans took game one 4-2 in ten innings when the aces of the two teams squared off and battled pretty evenly. Kalei Contrades (4-2) went 9 innings for the win and Cameron White went 8 innings but didn't decide in the outcome. That's pretty good pitching. The Spartans Jake Valdez was 2 for 5 with 2 RBIs and knocked in the go ahead run in the tenth.

Game two was also close and was taken by the Falcons 8-7 as they scored the winner in the bottom of the eighth. Tyler Jones went 4 for 5, Seth Kline went 3 for 4 as did Jake Schomaker for the winners. Jake Valdez went 1 for 5 with 3 RBIs and a home run. The Spartans fielding failed them as 5 of the 8 runs were unearned as they committed 3 errors. The Falcons also took the rubber match 10-9 in 11 innings.

The Spartans Jake Valdez hit another home run to cap a great series for him if not the team. He went 4 for 5 in this game and had 7 hits in the games played. Not bad. Needed more of that as Noah Pierce went 4 for 6, Tyler Saleck went 2 for 5 with 4 RBIs and a home run, and Tyler Jones went 2 for 5 with a home run for the winners. Again, the Falcons are playing decently as of late and could make some noise in the tournament. I can't say the same for the Spartans. Pitching has killed them all season.

Fresno State didn't play