New Mexico Starts OOC Schedule With A Bang
Four tournament teams and lots of home game. What more could you ask? There are some good teams in this schedule and I applaud coach for lining them up. If he can get a winning record out of this mess, he might have himself a good team.
Tournament in Surprise, Arizona
Yeah, Surprise! Oregon State to lead off then Cal Poly and Gonzaga. OSU was the best team in college baseball last year even though they didn’t win the NCAA Tournament. Their pitching was off the charts in a good way (1.93) and I expect ditto this coming season. Hitting carried the load on their side by hitting .291. Cal Poly was 28-28 last year but 16-8 in the Big West which should tell you a lot. Hitting was only ok at .275 but the pitching was very good at 3.61. Cal Poly is always there so be prepared for a good game. Gonzaga was a more than decent 33-20 last season and 20-7 in the WCC. They hit a respectable .274 and the pitching was good at 3.73, almost one run better than the opposition. Like I said, this is stout competition. Thumbs up for the entire tournament.
Central Michigan – 4 games at home
The Chippewas have two things going for them; that great name and an old geezer for a coach. Something about an old geezer at the helm. Probably because I am one also. A geezer, that is. Coach Jaksa may not be a geezer but he’s been around the block a bit so that counts. Anyway, experience plenty with the wins to prove it. The team was 31-28 last season with ok hitting (.276) but not very good pitching (5.24). This team has a history of winning within conference with numerous championships and I like the MAC so this should be a good matchup. Thumbs up.
St. John’s – 3 games at home
The Redmen had an outstanding year in 2017 as they went 42-13 and got a bid for the NCAA Tournament where they went 0-2 at Clemson. That’s too bad but, they were there. They could certainly hit (.323) and hit with pop (35 home runs). I think they will like it at Albuquerque. Pitching was outstanding at 3.11 so if they repeat this recipe, they will have another good year and this could prove to be the best home series for the Lobos. Thumbs up.
Texas Tech – 1 game on the road and 2 at home
These two programs aren’t that far apart so they seem to play each other each year. They played four broken up games last season and the Red Raiders took three of four. They were a NCAA Regional team in 2017 and split four games losing out to eventual winner Sam Houston State. They’ve been a power in the Big 12 for a few years and I expect things to pretty much remain the same. They were a great 45-17 in 2017 based on hitting (.305 and 60 home runs) and pitching (3.73). For the most part, they clubbed the opposition into submission. Expect more of the same. Thumbs up.
Pepperdine – 1 game on the road
The Waves were only 20-32 in 2017 and this is only one game. I expect them to be much better this coming season as they usually are good competition. Couldn’t hit much last year (.246) and pitching was marginal (4.30). If you have one game to watch go to Malibu because it’s drop dead gorgeous. Thumbs up.
Arizona – 1 game at home
The Wildcats were a tournament team last year and won one game at the Lubbock Regional. They were a good 38-21 and a member of the Pac 12. Any other conference and they may not have gotten in. As I’ve said so many times, don’t get me started. They could certainly hit (.308) and pitching was ok at best at 4.36. These two programs are neighboring states so it should be a good game. Thumbs up.
New Mexico State – 2 games at home
In state rivals. What more do I need to say? The Aggies have improved the last few years based on juco players getting them out of the doldrums a few years back. A member of the WAC they were 35-22 in 2017 but no tournament. They were 0-2 in the WAC tournament and that probably spelled doom for them for an at-large bid. Shucks. NMSU can always hit and .322 and 60 home runs certainly showed that. Not surprisingly, the pitching was borderline at 4.66. These two programs should have their hitting shoes on. Thumbs up.
Grand Canyon – 2 games on the road
Another WAC team and they were a mediocre 29-25 that hit well (.293) with poor pitching 5.07. They are a relatively new D1 program and hit the ground running the first few years but last year wasn’t as good. I think they will be eligible for the NCAA tournament if they can manage a good enough record and/or win the WAC Tournament. The WAC doesn’t get much respect. Thumbs sideways.
UC Davis – 3 games at home
The Aggies from California have not been really good for, it seems, forever. Last year was a case in point as they were 21-30. Being a member of the tough Big West doesn’t help when you are trying to get better. Ah, well. They had mediocre hitting (.271) and pitching (4.15) which pretty much says it all. Thumbs sideways.
Pretty good home schedule as they play 15 on the home dirt and 9 on the road. That’s all true assuming I can count. To make this schedule even more attractive would be hard to do as it includes four tournament tested teams. Oregon State was considered one of the best college teams in recent history last season and the Lobos start the season against them. Watch that game. Texas Tech, New Mexico State, and Arizona are the best home draws.