MWC Completes Second Week of Baseball
So far, three teams have shown well (New Mexico, Fresno State, and Air Force), San Jose State and Nevada are staying afloat (but barely), and UNLV and San Diego State have one win each. I'd call that a mixed bag.
Wichita State (2-5) at New Mexico (6-1)
The Lobos put a convincing beat-down on the Shockers in Albuquerque. In taking all three games of this weekend series the Lobos have put the Mountain West on notice. The games were not really close and the tone was set in game one as the Lobos won far too easily 17-7. Chris (Danny) DeVito is my poster boy as he went ballistic in this game; 5 for 5, 3 runs, 7 RBIs, and a home run. That's a season for some players. No need for other gory details but an oddity in this game; both teams had 17 hits. I was warming up in the pen; for both teams. The next two games were 8-4 and 8-6 winners and a point must be made. The games were not close, as I said, and the final was 8-0 at one point before the Shockers plated a few runs for humility's sake. Again, if New Mexico gets pitching. . . . . . . No midweek games for the Lobos nor are there any MWC games this coming weekend. However, they do get a great team in Dallas Baptist that will visit Albuquerque for three. You might want to see how the Lobos do in this series. A strong showing could make them an early season MWC favorite as they enter the first turn at the race track. I'd like to see this one.
Loyola Marymount (3-4) at San Jose State (3-5)
The Spartans had their chances but lost two of three to the visiting Lions. Sunday's game hurt the most. The Spartans led 3-1 after three and looked set to win this won early on. However, the offense died so did the pen in the late innings. Can't put the leadoff batter on base without swinging the bat in the ninth inning of a tie game. Stats show they tend to score as this one did to give the victory to the Lions, 4-3. Painful. Friday's games was just as painful and a whole lot more ugly as the boys in blue lost the opener 13-4. The Spartans won the sandwich game 8-5 behind the strong pitching of Logan Handzlik who didn't figure in the final. He might end up being the Friday guy. The Spartans play Pacific at home in a midweek game and then go to Vegas to take on the Rebels for three MWC games.
Air Force (5-2) and Navy (5-1) in North Carolina
The Falcons came back to earth a bit as they lost the first two games 3-1 and 5-0. The bats came a live in the final game as they won 10-5 as senior lefty Trent Monaghan improves to 2-0. Navy could be a force to be reckoned with in the eastern half of the US. Upcoming games preclude any midweek games but the weekend brings Nevada to Colorado Springs to start the MWC season.
West Virginia (5-1) at UNLV (1-5)
Speaking of powers in the east West Virginia will certainly get some votes for the top 40. Sweeping on the road is always impressive and they did it in impressive style as the wins were easy ones. The Rebels have to go back to the drawing board as the pitching gave up 31 runs in the three games; yuck. The losses were 9-6, 13-1, and 9-4 so what good can I say about that? None, so let's move on. No midweek games which is probably a blessing as coach can figure out how to start his team's motor. The weekend brings together two struggling programs as the Rebels host San Jose State for three to start the MWC season.
Youngstown State (1-5) at Fresno State (7-0)
The mutts sweep Youngstown at home by scores of 11-0, 6-5, and 6-1. Yeah, not close. I will have to say the competition was a little less than stellar but a sweep is a sweep. Jimmy Lambert (2-0) had a complete game shutout with no walks; impressive on both counts. In game three Anthony Arias (2-0) also had a pretty good outing as he went 6 1/3 IP giving up no runs. Leadoff hitter Austin Guibor had a good series with six hits. The top of the lineup set it up for the rest of the hitters when the leadoff guys is aboard six times (not counting walks). Will the Dawgs get any votes? I suspect a few but they will have to beat up on some good competition to really get some looks. Next up? A midweek game against Bakersfield (WAC winner last year) at home. Then onto San Diego State to start the "real" games.
Nevada (3-5) at UC Irvine (5-3)
The Anteaters win two games in easy fashion, 4-1 and 6-0, and win the close one 8-7 (ten innings) to sweep the Wolf Pack in Irvine. Christian Stolo (0-2) lost the first game but deserved better as the offense was a no-show in the 4-1 game. Not much pitching in the 8-7 games and I do have to mention an opponent's player. Keston Hiura went 4 for 4 with three walks, three runs, and an RBI. That's a day at the plate. There were no highlights for the Pack in the getaway 6-0 loss. Only four hits tells most of it. So, the Anteaters go 5-2 against the MWC in the two weekend series as they split 2-2 with the Spartans in the opening weekend. What does that say? What's on the future schedule? A home midweek game against Santa Clara which is pretty good this year. Then to Air Force to open up MWC play in Colorado Springs. Bring snow apparel for that series.
San Diego State (1-7) at the Tony Gwynn Classic in San Diego
The Aztecs did not distinguish themselves in their own backyard as they got swept in all three games of their portion of the tournament. They lost to Bryant 10-2, lost to a rated Kentucky 6-0, and a good Arizona team 7-3. Those are tough losses but, as I jump to their defense, they were against very good teams that might be destined to be in the NCAA Tournament at season's end. Highlights? I don't think so. Coming up? A midweek game at home against cross town rival San Diego (always good). They then open up MWC play with three at home agains undefeated Fresno State. They will need their "A" game for all games.