The MWC Has Surprising Victories in Mid-week Games
I can't say very much about the following games so just read on. Pretty impressive. I mean, look at the records of the teams involved. I must add that I wrote most of this on Tuesday and have added some further scores Thursday morning. Even more impressive wins for the MWC. Take pride, fools.
Stanford (12-7) at San Jose State (8-15)
Stanford visits the Spartans and the Cardinal are rated in the top 50 by NCBWA so not much of a game was expected by most fans of Sparta. Now, not so fast. It all started going into the bottom of the seventh with Stanford leading 5-2. The Spartans score 4 runs to go up 6-5 but will they hold that lead with their pitching? Not likely. Stanford scores 4 in the top of the ninth to go up 9-6 and I could hear the groans out here in Colorado. The Cardinal then bring in their ace closer Chris Viall who had an ERA of 0.00 going into this game. He gives up four runs (all earned) in 2/3 of an inning on 3 hits and 3 walks, which really did him in. Oh, yeah, two wild pitches that scored runs. It sounds like he was rattled to me. Michael Breen then singled in the winning run. This program really needed this win. Freshman Brendt Citta had his best game of the year going 3 for 5 with 3 RBIs. He has struggled. Anyway, a great win over a perennial Pac 12 power.
Texas Tech (16-8) at UNLV (9-14)
The Red Raiders also visited a struggling team while being rated in the top 50 (#22 coming in) also. Again, a surprising victory by the Rebels. This game was not so much about huge comebacks but about getting leads, losing them, regaining them, and then holding on by shutting out the Red Raiders in the last four innings to win 8-5. Kyle Isbel was the big bat as he went 5 for 5 with 4 RBIs and 2 runs scored along with two triples. Very good for a freshman. He might be something. Corey Wilson (1-2) gets the win with stellar relief; 3 1/3 IP with no runs and 3 strike outs. Ben Wright gets his fifth save with ninth inning shut down. Very impressive win after getting whacked by Nevada.
San Diego State (6-16) at Oregon State (16-6)
The #6 Beavers were surprised by the Aztecs in Corvallis. This win was the biggest by the Mountain West. Beating one of the big boys, in this case the Pac 12, is always satisfying. This victory was even more unlikely than the two above. On the road against one of the best programs in the west. Geez! I know they will play another but it's still amazing. The final score was 6-5 and the Aztecs score runs in the 8th and 9th innings for the win. Freshman Jordan Verdon went 3 for 4 for the Aztecs and Alan Trejo hit a home run in the ninth to provide the margin of victory. Spencer Thornton also had a dinger. Jacob Erickson (2-2) with one inning of shutout ball and Brian Heldman gets the save with a shutdown ninth. The boys must be feeling good.
Nevada at Pacific (cancelled due to weather)
Long Beach State (16-8) at Fresno State (17-8)
This one hasn't been played yet (as I write this) but the Dirt Bags of Long Beach State are good and rated at #16 by D1Baseball.com. Let's wish ‘em luck to make it a clean sweep. That would be great. Here I am after a few days retreat. The Bulldogs did make it a clean sweep for the MWC by winning easily 10-5. They scored 4 runs in the bottom of the first to set the tone of the game and were never headed in this satisfying victory. Both teams are good but only the Dirt Bags were rated so I think the mutts took that as a slight. I know I would. Strength of schedule I'd imagine. Anyway, Jesse Medrano had a good game going 2 for 2 with 4 RBIs. Brody Russell continues his torrid streak going 3 for 4 with 3 runs and 2 RBIs. He's a load for opponents pitching. All in all, a great day.
Northern Colorado at Air Force
The Bears are having a tough year so the surprise would be Air Force losing but these two are neighbors so expect anything. A fairly easy victory for the flyboy.
New Mexico (17-8) at Sacramento State (14-10)
Not a big boy victory but a 1-0 win is always notable. On the road. The Hornets are always a team that will compete this season as in all. I know the coach and I'm sure he's a bit disappointed by this year's results OOC results. Colton Thomson (3-1) was the story as he went 8 IP giving up 0 runs on 4 hits and striking out 8. A solid start. The only runs was by a sac fly by Jared Holley. The Lobos complete the sweep of the Hornets by winning the second game 12-3. Jack Zoellner and Chris DeVito both went deep in this offensive onslaught. Zoellner went 4 for 4 and Devito went 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs. James Harrington (4-1) went 5 decent innings for the win.
How did the MWC do this? By all rights most of these games should have been losses but they were all victories that showed either spine, depth, or both. The players on these teams need to feel that they should be doing better than they have been as the conference season is steaming along. Enjoy these wins.