Week Two Results In The Mountain West Feature Strong Pitching
A weird thing happened in the Mountain West games this past weekend. Pitching showed up. San Jose State had some decent pitching in their two wins. San Diego State allowed only 3 hits to a good Arkansas team but still lost. They also held down a good Arizona team in winning 3-2. New Mexico had a shutout in one of their wins over Central Michigan. Nevada had a shutout win in their series also. UNLV? You got it; a shutout win for them also. Fresno State’s pitching had their series with Houston Baptist in control as the pitching took care of business. There were a lot of individuals that could have been my poster photo for this post but Fresno State’s Edgar Gonzalez has to be the guy. Read on.
San Jose State (4-4)
The Spartans lost the first game to San Francisco 10-0 with only one hit. Gack! The future looked dim indeed. But the sun seemed to come out as missing bat by the name of Brett Bautista made an appearance and he had 5 hits in two of the following games which probably bouyed the spirits of his teammates. They then went out and won the following two games; one each against Sacramento State (5-4) and San Francisco (6-1). I don’t know if you folks see something here that I and other SJS fans certainly saw. They won two games on the road and the pitching shown brightly in both wins. That hasn’t happened much in the last few years. Neither team hitting (.248) nor pitching (6.34) are up to snuff yet, but things do look a lot better.
San Diego State (5-2)
The Aztecs did quite well over the weekend in their own tournament. They beat a good Arizona team 3-2 in overtime, er, extra innings and Grand Canyon 5-4. They lost 5-2 to a very good Arkansas 5-2 but they stayed with the piggies until late in the game when things fell apart. A commendable effort but you can’t fold like they did and expect notice from the nation. It just looks like a plain old loss. In the Arizona game Chase Calabuig (.393 and 2) continues on his early season tear as he knocks in the first two runs in the bottom of the first. The Aztec pitching staff allowed only 3 hits to the Arkansas hitters but allowed 9 free passes. The team ERA for the Aztecs is 2.08 and I feel they should have won this game. Three runs in the ninth did them in. The Aztecs scored 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th to win the Grand Canyon game. The highlight would be Garrett Hill striking out 9 in his 4 innings of work. All in all, a good weekend’s work with one against Michigan Monday.
New Mexico (4-3-1)
The Lobos pretty much handled the Chippewas of Central Michigan University as they took 3 of the 4 games and tied the last. Time restrictions I’d guess. The Lobos won game one 20-9 in a football type of score. No game here. Who shined? Well, New Mexico’s Hayden Schilling went 4 for 5 with 4 RBI’s and 3 runs and Jeff Deimling went 3 for 5 with 4 RBI’s and 2 runs to lead the way. Game two was another one with no doubt as the Lobos won 6-0. Connor Mang is following in his brother Jared’s footsteps by hitting; 3 for 4 in this game. Justin Slaten (1-1) started and went 7 IP with 8 strike outs (no walks!) for the win. The Chippewas made a game of it in the third game in losing 8-7. Chris Dunn did his part in going 3 for 3 with 2 RBI’s and 2 runs. Game four showed some last second heroics by the Lobos as they scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and send everyone home – with a tie. Brayden Merritt was 2 for 5 with 2 RBI’s with a home run.
Air Force (1-5)
The Falcons finally won their first game of the year and, in doing so, keep from being swept by Navy. The pitching was the culprit in all three games as they lost the first 16-1, the second 6-4, before winning the last 11-10 in 16 innings. I’ll bet they slept in today. Oh, the academy; maybe not. I’m just going to talk about the win as the Falcons were down 9-0 before coming back in a big way. Wow! 9-0! The 16 innings was the longest game Air Force has ever played. Catcher Rob Dau was the bat for the Falcons in this one as he went 5 for 8 with 4 runs, 3 RBI’s and a home run. I’m sure his legs were tired as he went the distance. I caught a double header in college and I’m here to tell you it ain’t fun. Air Force pitching is still trying to figure it out.
The Rebels improved their record by sweeping Columbia over the weekend. The four games were not close as the Rebels won by 8-3, 13-7, 11-0, and 13-3. It sounds a little like fattening up on unsuspecting victims to me. Let’s see here. Columbia hadn’t played this year and probably have had little practice time on the field. That’s a big disadvantage. Still, it’s four games in the win column. Highlights? There were too many to mention all but Kyle Isbel had a season in the 13-6 win. He went 3 for 5 with 6 RBI’s and 2 home runs. A shortstop, so do you think he’ll get drafted? But wait, there’s more. In the final 13-3 win he went 3 for 3 with 3 RBI’s, 3 runs, and another home run. I think that’s called a full house in poker. The Rebels look to be a force in the Mountain West this year. Fresno State looms just around the corner.
The Wolf Pack split two games with Oral Roberts as both Friday and Saturday games were rained out. The DH on Sunday were two pitching duels with Nevada winning game one 3-0 and losing 3-2. Mark Nowaczewski (1-1) was masterful in the win going the distance giving up only 4 hits and 1 walk. If you keep from giving free passes, you’ll do just fine. Grant Fennell had two RBI’s in the game. By all rights, it should have been a sweep for the Pack but they gave up 2 runs in the bottom of the ninth to lose in heart wrenching fashion. The highlight in the loss was starter Jake Jackson. he went 7 IP giving up only 1 run and striking out 13. Now, that’s impressive. All that and nothing to show for it. Coach knows. Oh, and he’s a freshman. Keep an eye on him. The team ERA is also impressive at 1.93. If the pitching continues this way, you can put the doggies at the top of the list.
Fresno State (7-2)
The Bulldogs took 3 of 4 from Houston Baptist. Sounds good but I can’t really say how good the opposition was or is. In the past, the Huskies had been horrid but have improved in the last few years. Just sayin’. Anyway three wins for the MWC. I guess I should remember that the Huskies DID take a game from Baylor, which is always a feather in the cap. In the 2-0 loss, Fresno State’s Ryan Jensen went a solid 7 IP striking out 9 and walking two and no runs allowed. In the 7-6 win McCarthy Tatum led the way going 3 for 4. He’s a big kid at 6’6” that has played short, third, and now left. I think he might get some notice with that kind of versatility. Carter Bins also had 3 hits in the 3-2 win along with his first home run. Edgar Gonzalez (2-0) went 8 innings with, get this, 17 strike outs. Holy do do! Nuff said about that game. In the final game (a 4-1 win) Jaime Arias (1-0) went 6 good innings for the win. No big strike out numbers but it looks like he was in control the whole time he was in. All the games showed good, if not great, pitching and timely hitting by Fresno State.