Recapping the Games of the 2/19/2016 Weekend
There were some surprises in both directions and if these very early results are any indication, it could prove to be a very interesting year in Mountain West baseball.
Oregon - San Diego State
The Ducks pretty much controlled this series. The #14 Ducks took the wind out of the Aztec sails by winning all three games even though the last was close (4-3). It's always tough to lose home games but the Ducks are good. In fact, I'm guessing they'll move up a few notches on the strength of this sweep. Next up? They travel about 100 miles north to visit UC Irvine. It'll be interesting to see what happens as the Anteaters split their four games with San Jose State.
Nevada - Northwestern
The Wolf Pack decided to get a little serious in this series after losing the first two against a not strong Northwestern. This four game series was played in Mesa, AZ so you can't blame weather for anything. Nevada lost two close ones and then won the last two in fairly easy fashion. In any event, a split in a four game series. I think the Wildcats gained more from this than the Pack did. Next up? Arizona State. Usually tough as they are a Pac 12 team.
Fresno State - Creighton
The Bulldogs still seem to be getting good pitching. They gave up a paltry 5 runs in the three game sweep of the Blue Jays (I've always liked that name). For Fresno State, Ricky Thomas, Jimmy Lambert, and Anthony Arias all had good starts (and wins) against Creighton. When your top three in the rotation all do well, it's time to smile and go have a beer. The coach, not the players. Next up? Oakland. No, not the A's. The Golden Grizzlies from Rochester, Michigan who are making a west coast tour as they just lost two out of three to Pepperdine. A snow belt team, to be sure.
Texas - UNLV
After winning game one against the Longhorns, the Rebels scored two runs in the remaining two games. Five errors didn't help in game two but they simply got beaten in this game, 11-2. The rubber game was a 7-0 loss so it's hard to tell what all this says. Texas is tough but you'd think that the opening night win would have spurred them on to greater things than what they showed. I'm a little disappointed. Next up will be West Virginia in a weekend series. Another good test at home for the Rebels.
Air Force - Marist, Buffalo, and Davidson
The Falcons remain undefeated as they beat three different teams in a tournament in Davidson, NC. I think this says a lot as the games were all pretty one-sided. Air Force could be fielding one of its stronger squads in many years as a lot of players came back. Adam Groesbeck was named Baseball Player of the Week as he was pretty offensive; in a good way. Next up? Adams State from Alamosa, CO. They are already 3-6 this early on but I think different rules apply to DII schools.
San Jose State - UC Irvine
Can you believe it? A doubleheader sweep by the Spartans against a pretty good Anteater team. I watched the second half of the second game which was being televised on the Mountain West Network. Pretty good quality video I might add. Not perfect, but pretty good. The two wins on Saturday were sandwiched around losses on Friday and Sunday. The Sunday loss was an ugly 11-0 debacle that started poorly and got worse. Loading the bases against irvine in the bottom of the first set the stage for a great afternoon, right? Wrong. A strikeout and a doubleplay and they were done. The pen did not distinguish itself in this one. I'll chalk it up to coach wanting to see some seldom seen guys and what they can do. They better pick it up or depth will be a problem. One of the doubleheader starters was Logan Handzlik who missed last year to injury so it was satisfying to him I'm sure to get the win. He's my poster boy and he deserves it. Next up? Cross town rival Santa Clara which had a good weekend against ranked Notre Dame as they took two of three. Could be good.
New Mexico - Hawaii
The Lobos spent their weekend in paradise and took care of business as they took three of four from the Rainbow Warriors. I can hear the fans grumbling as I write this. One of the games was the worst home loss in Hawaii's history, or so I think. If not, 18-0 ranks right up there. For the most part the Lobos worked as I figured; lots of offense and they will score runs this year, again. If they get any kind of pitching, watch out. Next up for the Lobos? Wichita State which is always good.
Give me a week or so before I talk about who's doing well and point out newbies who are performing. I'd like to see the rotation to get two starts (or more) before saying anything. I think the coaches feel that way also.