MWC Opens Baseball Season With Some Surprises

Nick Ames 3 dingers is potent message - photo credit Zak Krill

MWC Opens Baseball Season With Some Surprises

Air Force

MWC Opens Baseball Season With Some Surprises

Opening Weekend Recap For The Mountain West

Mixed bag. I know this is late but I was with family which made it a bit hard to finish so here you have it. I’ll deal with Tuesday’s games after this. Mixed bag says I? Yessir. San Diego swept their series as did UNLV and Fresno State. But, Air Force did not fare well in the islands, San Jose State couldn’t take advantage of a home field against a team they should have had three wins. Anyway, coaches are back at it wondering who will pick up any slack if needed. You know who I’m talking about, fans.

San Jose State

As I said in the preview I thought they might split the series and they did. The big question was the pitching and it was. Pitching kept this series from being a dominating sweep. The hitting did their part as they hit a healthy .295 for the four games. That should be enough. Starting pitching was not good and throw in a blown save and you get 2-2 with the Spartans playing catchup most of the time. Not a good recipe for the future but the pitchers have plenty of time to figure it out. Kyle Morrison had four hits and a home run for a .467 average in the four games to lead all hitters.

San Diego State

The Aztecs had a impressive weekend as they had a three game sweep of UC Santa Barbara. Hitting and pitching did their respective parts. Chase Calabuig did his work by hitting .538 with two home runs. That sounds like POW stuff to me. The pitching held the Gauchos to under two runs a game with an ERA of 1.67. Yeah, this is a good deal and this should tell the rest of the Mountain West that they’re back in black.

UNLV

Boy, was I wrong. The Rebels gave notice they will be in the race as they swept their home tournament by beating Indiana State, LMU, and Oregon. I thought they’d have trouble with LMU and Oregon but they didn’t; at all. The team hit a lusty .352 for the tournament with sophomore Grant Robbins leading the way at .583 and Nick Ames hitting .500 with 3 home runs and 8 RBI’s. Geez, he showed last year he was capable of doing that. Pitching was also stellar with a 3.10 ERA led by Alan Strong as he went 5 strong innings in his start with 6 strike outs. He didn’t get the win but impressive none the less.

New Mexico

The Lobos had a tough time of it in Arizona as they dropped 3 of 4 games with the lone win against Cal Poly 3-1. The player of note in this win was reliever Nathaniel Garley (1-0) who got the win with 5 innings of strong pitching getting 7 strike outs and 1 walk. Yeah, I think he deserved it.

Nevada

After losing the first two games against UC Irvine without much offense showing up, the Wolf Pack got a little more aggressive at the plate and on the mound winning 8-1. Jake Jackson (1-0) went 6 innings striking out 5 and walking only 1 (love that) in getting the win. Mike Echavia led the hitters with five hits in the series.

Fresno State

The Bulldogs opened at home against a snow belt team. Michigan State showed the rustiness as the mutts swept all four games. There were three one run games which showed pitching by both clubs and a 9-4 game which didn’t. The Spartans will have plenty of time to warm up as I assume they’ll be on the road for awhile. Fresno State’s Edgar Gonzalez showed why he is a preseason pick for pitcher of the year as he went 7 innings in the 2-1 win. Carter Bins is living up to last year’s AA honor by getting 8 hits in the series. Impressive sweep.

Air Force

I hope they enjoyed the beach as they didn’t enjoy the games. They lost all three to the Rainbows and showed little of the offense that we all know they have. They scored a total of two runs in the games. Geez, no offense? Was this a different air force? Then again, the pitching was pretty solid giving up 10 runs in three games. I’d take that if the runs were spread out, which they were. The team hit a measly .205 for the series and the pitching was stellar at 2.86. If the pitching holds up and the hitting improves, watch out.

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