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Mountain West Baseball with Two Conference Series

UNLV at Fresno State and San Jose State at San Diego State are the conference games for this weekend. Those are worth attending but the OOC games don't inspire me much. In the OOC games, there are a total of six wins for the opposition and five are for Navy. That leaves one win for the other four. Yeesh.

SJS's Matt Bautista has hot bat going into SDSU series
SJS's Matt Bautista has hot bat going into SDSU series
Terrell Lloyd

MWC Week Three Preview

This week there are no really big shows (Y'all remember who's famous for saying that, right? Ed Sullivan). The OOC matches don't really produce much anticipation. Just look below and you'll see what I mean. There are two MWC conflicts that might get people all riled up, though. SJS at SDSU looks like a mismatch. Kenji Shiboya against Andre the Giant. Sorry about any misspellings. UNLV at Fresno State is the best of the bunch this weekend.

Pacific (0-8) at Nevada (7-1)
This will be short. The Tigers are losing and losing badly. This is a veteran team that was expected by many (my name is not many but I agreed) to be pretty good this year. Neither pitching nor hitting is doing anything. This team, right now, is a toothless tiger. Nevada, on the other hand, is on a roll and is being recognized nationally. They also are a veteran team that has put everything together. The only loss was against perennial power Stanford. No need to really go into individual stats. Austin Byler (.318 and 4) is doing just about what he and his teammates had hoped. Hitting with power. In fact, the team is hitting with pop as they have 13 dingers against three allowed. Pitching has been good (3.66) with two starters doing well. Jason Deitrich (1-0 and 2.89) and Christian Stolo (1-0 and 2.89 and not a typo with Deitrich). I wonder what the weather is like in Reno for this series. I expect fairly cold.

New Mexico (5-2) vs San Francisco (0-8) and Utah Valley (1-6) (Albuquerque, NM tournament)
Hmm, look at the records for the opposition above. Not scintillating. Not good. I've seen the Dons and they may turn things around but it's tough as they season progresses. Utah Valley has suffered ever since they won the Great West two years ago and was snubbed by the NCAA's selection committee. That was an injustice. Right now, both programs are not doing well and things will be hard to change in New Mexico against a strong team such as the Lobos. New Mexico is just barely hitting (.245) which is not the team we've all grown to know. They are led by Chris DeVito (.360 and 2) and Aaron Siple (.333) and that's just about it. Pitching has been ok (4.21). Transfer Toller Boardman (2-0 and 3.55) has been the most reliable starter and strikes out about one an inning (10 in 12 IP). The Lobos need to find another starter or two to make their season a success as I don't think hitting alone will do it for them.

San Jose State (4-4, 0-0) at San Diego State (8-1, 0-0)
The Spartans go into this series with hope personified. In my opinion it's far too early for conference games but here we are. The boys in blue are doing a lot better than they have in the past few years but that could fall apart at any time as they are so young. Most of the team is composed of starters in their first year of college baseball or maybe their second. Experience counts for so much. The grizzled vets are doing fairly well. Hitting has picked up (.227) but only a bit. It's still pretty poor. Brett Bautista (.467) could very well be one of the best hitters in the Mountain West. He's the DH and is on a roll right now. I'd love to see him in a position which would increase his stock in next year's draft - that's assuming he continues his torrid hitting. He uses all the fields which is always a plus. Alec deWatteville (.300) is the other .300 hitter with significant AB's. They're both sophomores, by the way. Pitching also needs to pick it up (5.53) and all Spartans' fans know this. The starters are doing only ok, at best. Kalei Contrades (0-1 and 4.22) is the best and most experienced of the bunch. They will have to play their best to beat the Aztecs. Oh, yeah, the Aztecs. They are hitting a ton at .326 and have seven (7!!) .300 hitters. Four are at .400 or higher and one is at .389. They fattened these averages against Valparaiso in the opening series but they have beaten fair to good opponents after that so I ain't pointing fingers. Pitching is ok at 4.24 but they have some good starters in Bubba Derby (0-0 and 2.53 and 22 strikeouts in 10 IP) and Mark Seyler (2-0 and 2.45). CJ Saylor is the closer (0-0 and 6.00 with 4 saves). He's getting the saves but doesn't appear to be fooling anyone. This is a home series for the Aztecs which are one of the favorites in the Mountain West against the Spartans which aren't. We'll see if any team pulls some surprises.

UNLV (6-2, 0-0) at Fresno State (3-5, 0-3)
The Rebels are just a bit of an enigma for me. I actually think they should be better than their record indicates. They took two of three from Nebraska to open the season, which looked good, but got skunked by Grand Canyon 7-0 (a good team) in a surprise loss. They then took four easy victories against a hugely underperforming Pacific which hasn't won a game. So, are the Rebs any good? Check back later, all lines are down. UNLV is hitting a bit (.273) but pitching is the bulwark (2.15), It's difficult to get much better at pitching than they've already shown. Payton Squier (.560) is their best hitter by far and it would be a good idea to keep an eye on him in this series as FSU has decent pitching. In other words, will he keep it up? They have two starters with two starts with the rest of the starts mixed with several arms. D. J. Myers (2-2 and 0.61) is leading the way with Kenny Oakley (2-2 and 3.86) doing the job also. I'm guessing Myers starts the first game tonight but, whatever, they have the arms. Fresno State has been a mixed bag this year. They sweep Irvine which hasn't recovered yet then get swept themselves by Nevada in an eye-opening series. They've lost five in a row after the Irvine series so maybe it's time to adjust the carburetor. Does anyone do that anymore? Ah, those were the days. No they weren't. Tires are so good now, it's seldom I have to change a tire for any reason. Engine? I used to do my own work but industry has them all working to the point hardly anyone opens a hood anymore. Love it. Oh, baseball. The Mutts are hitting (.303) and that's a bit of a surprise as they did little of that last year and it was a concern coming into the season. They sport five .300 hitters led by Austin Guibor (.471 and 1) and Taylor Tempel (.421 and 1). The expected strength of the team has not done the job (6.18). Jimmy Lambert (0-0 and 3.12) has been reliable as a starter but the others have been rocked. So, what is it that they say? It's early yet.

Navy (5-2) at Air Force (1-6)
The Middies are doing well which doesn't bode well for the Falcons, who aren't. Navy started the season by taking two of three from North Carolina A&T, of which I know nothing, and then lost one of the next four against foes I have little knowledge. For instance, what can you tell me about UMES? Mmm, didn't think so. Let's just say they haven't achieved this record against Florida State or like that. Yes, I'm being insulting. OK, here's the good part. Navy has been pretty fair the last few years so don't read too much into the record nor the opposition, which is what I just did. Air Force has not done well against any team as they lost the opening three to The Citadel. The Citadel is a military school in South Carolina, I believe. Hitting is not delivering (.239) with Noah Pierce leading the team in hitting (.385 and 1) with Tyler Saleck (.320 and 1) not far behind. Pitching has not done well at all (5.19) with Steven Trojan (0-0 and 3.60) being the most reliable starter. Anyway, the Falcons get to face another military school and one that they'd like to square things a bit. The Falcons one win was a good one as they beat New Mexico 8-3 in a home game on the road. Remember that? Snow forced the change of venue. Big time snow storm here on the Front Range. Geez, I'm sounding like a native. I'm thinking they might have to plow the field to play these games. No snow forecast but quite cold. Yeah, you go watch those games and sit on aluminum seats. Brrr. IN FACT, there has been a change in the schedule with the games starting Saturday and not today as scheduled.