Mountain West Baseball Standings A lLittle More Spread Out
Things were a little cluttered at the top of the standings. In fact, Fresno State and New Mexico were tied for the lead heading into the weekend and a big showdown between the two best teams in the conference. The games were close but the Lobos swept to move three games up. Air Force took care of business by sweeping San Jose State in four games in Colorado Springs. So, the Falcons keep pace and the Spartans land in the cellar with a thud. Is there no hope for this program? Sand Diego State takes two of three from the Rebels to improve their lot in life. Nevada spreads the MWC word to Texas as the Wolf Pack take two of three from a very good Texas State team.
Fresno State (9-6) at New Mexico (12-3)
Fresno State's pitching against New Mexico's hitting. At least, that's the way it was supposed to go and it was tough to bet against either even though I'm a pitching wins kinda guy. One pitcher's duel, an offensive bombardment, and finally a game with a little bit of both. I guess that should have been expected. Game one was the pitcher's duel as the Lobos won 2-1 with a run in the bottom of the 8th. Carson Schneider (6-1) was the story here as he went 8 1/3 IP for the win and Pitcher of the Week for the MWC. Ricky Tyler Thomas (4-3) went all the way in losing but a good game; 4 strike outs and no walks. That's how you stay in a game. Game two? Well, here's how Chris DeVito earned his Player of the Week. The Lobos won 14-13 in 12 innings but the story was much more complex than that simple score. It was 9-9 going to the top of the tenth where the Bulldogs scored four times to put them ahead 13-9 and in a pretty good place. Not so fast as the Lobos scored 4 of their own as Luis Gonzalez hit a 2 run jack followed by Chris Devito's 2 run home run. Pretty amazing. Even more amazing was the 11th inning as the Lobos left the bags loaded. The 12th was the final touch as Andre Vigil singled to drive in the winner and make 519 fans happy. What? Only 519 fans to watch this?That's a bummer. Here are some stats. A total of 6 home runs by the Lobos; 3 by Chris DeVito (yes, 3), 1 by Luis Gonzalez, 1 by Carl Stajduhar, and 1 by Dalton Bowers. What an onslaught. The Bulldogs weren't exactly helpless, just DeVito-less. They got a home run from Aaron Arruda and 4 hits from Brody Russell along with Arruda's 3 hits. Obviously not a lot of pitching but both starters did ok as Jimmy Lambert went 6 1/3 IP and the Lobos' Tyler Stevens went 6 2/3 IP but neither were around to watch the fireworks. The Final game went the Lobos' way also as they won 7-4 due to a five run bottom of the sixth. The Bulldogs' Aaron Arruda hit the games' only home run and teammate Nick Warren went 3 for 4 in a losing cause. New Mexico's Dalton Bowers went 1 for 2 but got the big hit in the bottom of the sixth singling in 2 runners to provide the margin of vicotry. Colton Thomson (4-1) went 8 IP for the win striking out 9. Attendance was good this game as 1188 showed up. That's more like it and a big crowd certainly adds to the atmosphere.
San Jose State (3-12) at Air Force (8-4)
I attended two of the games; Friday and the first Saturday game. I had seen enough by then and it was pretty windy, cold, and the rain started off and on. Sorry, this California kid living in Colorado can't take that at a baseball game. Yeah, I know, I know, I'm a . . . . . Uh, you get my point. There were four games here as one of them was a makeup due to a rainout in San Jose earlier in the year. The four games were all, and I mean ALL . . . Air Force. Game one was 9-3 as the Falcons amassed 17 hits being led by Spencer Draws 5 for 5 and Adam Groesbeck's 3 for 5 and 3 RBIs. Freshman Hunter Tidwell went 2 for 4 and Michael Breen went 2-4 also in a losing cause. Game two was 12-4 and was a 7 inning affair (by rule and not by runs). Tyler Jones had his 8th home run in this one and had 3 RBIs. Shaun Mize went 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs for the winners. Bradley Haslam went 3 for 4 also. The Spartans Joe Stefanki went 2 for 2 with 3 RBIs on the strength of a home run but it wasn't enough. A 7 run fourth inning did in the Spartans. Griffin Jax (6-1) went the distance for the win with no walks. Yes, it gets uglier for the San Jose bunch. The second game of the doubleheader went the Falcons' way and was over before it started, really, as they scored 6 in the bottom of the first and never looked back. The final was 13-7 and only 4 late runs kept it in any way respectable. Nic Ready led the winners going 4 for 4 with 2 runs and 2 RBIs. Tyler Jones and Spencer Draws hit home runs. The only highlight for the Spartans was David Campbell's 3 for 4 with an RBI. The final game of this four game sweep by the Falcons was 8-7 as they scored a run to win the game in the bottom of the ninth before 119 fans. Tyler Zabojnik went 2 for 5 with 3 RBIs for the winners. The Spartans Brendt Citta went 1 for 5 with his first collegiate home run along with 4 RBIs. I'll have to hand it to the Spartans. They were truly embarrassed in this series but scratched and clawed to tie the game with 3 late runs only to lose this heart breaker. The Spartans are a true head scratcher. I thought going into the season that they had the talent to compete but the pitching has failed. To be fair they lost two starting pitchers before the season even started so that puts Coach Nakama in a hell of a spot. It all boils down to him but, with little pitching, how can you win?
UNLV (5-10) at San Diego State (4-8)
The Aztecs have been limping along for most of the year but finally showed up this past weekend and took two of three games from the Rebels to win their first conference series. It didn't start out very well as they lost the opener 7-6 as UNLV scored two in the ninth to win. San Diego State outhit the Rebels by 14 to 9 but they also out errored them 3-0 and that was the price of this loss; two unearned runs. An oddity here; Jacob Erickson (3-4) got the loss going 1 1/3 IP giving up 2 runs on 0 hits. He didn't hit any batters but he did walk two and I suppose they both scored as Brian Heldman came in to give up no runs on two hits. Hmm, Heldman didn't do Erickson any favors. No walks please. The big stick was Alan Trejo (3 for 4) in a losing cause. The Aztecs came back and won game 2 9 to 7 and the win was due to the seven runs they scored in the 7th and 8th innings. Justin Wylie went 3 for 4 and David Hensley went 3 for 4 for the Aztecs. Spencer Thornton and Tyler Adkison hit home runs. Game 3 was a pitcher's duel won by SDSU 4 to 2. The Aztecs' Cody Thompson (1-5) went 8 1/3 strong innings striking out 5 and walking none for the win. Dean Kremer (1-4) went the distance in his best game for the loss. Will the series win carry over to the coming weekend? It didn't help San Jose State one whit.
Nevada (15-14) at Texas State (21-12)
Game one was won by the Pack 6-3 thanks in good part to a 4 run 7th inning. Also, thanks in part to a good outing by Christian Stolo (2-4) who went 7 2/3 IP with no walks which allowed him to weather the 10 hits he gave up. Hits and RBIs were pretty much spread around as they only had seven hits. Uh, two errors in the seventh helped the Wolf Pack's cause and that was it. Game two was all Nevada as the won easily 17-6. There were many big sticks in this one. Cole Krzmarzick went 4 for 6 with 3 runs and 2 RBIs. TJ Friedl went 2 for 3 with 5 RBIs with a home run and Grant Fennel went 3 for 6 with 2 RBIs and a home run also. Let's not forget Justin Hazard who went 3 for 6 with 5 RBIs. Anyway, the bats worked this day. Trevor Charpie (3-1) went 7 strong innings to get the win with 8 strike outs and only 1 walk. Do you folks see a theme here about walks? Even with a lot of hits no freebies keeps you in the game. . . . . . . . always. The Bobcats prevented a Wolf Pack sweep by winning the finale 3-2 in a well-pitched game. Trenton Brooks (2-4) went 6 1/3 IP in a good game for him as he also homered but still took the loss. He had 7 strike outs and zero walks. I'll keep my mouth shut.