Week Two Results Offers Surprises
I’ll just deal with the surprises in this paragraph. UNLV sweeps Fresno State in three one-run games. San Jose State is knocked back to earth by SDSU in two games that weren’t games. Nevada takes two of three from New Mexico. The Nevada series and the San Jose State series weren’t really surprises but there you have it. Oh, Air Force is able to win a game at Dallas Baptist in a shutout which might put them back on the right track.
San Diego State (8-3, 2–0) at San Jose State (6-6, 0-2)
Rain played a big part in this series as both Friday and Saturday were rained out. The two they played on Sunday were not very captivating. The Aztecs thumped the home town Spartans by 7-2 and 11-1 in the doubleheader. The scores should tell you that the Aztecs dominated the games on both ends. If the Spartans don’t get any hitting the likelihood of its winning a game are slim as the pitching is not good and that’s what happened in these two games. Game one was close until the fifth inning when the Aztecs broke open a 2-1 Spartans lead with three runs to take a 4-2 lead and never looked back. Three home runs by David Hensley, Jordan Verdon, and Chad Bible highlighted the Aztec offense. Harrison Pyatt (1-0) was effective in his five innings to get the win. Game two was a complete waste of time unless you are an Aztecs’ fan, of course, as the Aztecs had 16 hits to get their 11 runs. David Hensley completed his great day going 4 for 5 with 3 RBI’s and Chase Calabuig went 3 for 4 to help. San Jose State’s Brett Bautista was the sole highlight for the Spartans on this day as he went 3 for 4. Garrett Hill (2-0) went 6 innings in his start to get the win with 7 strikeouts and no walks. Due to the Aztecs quick start to the season, it has moved up to #25 position in the rankings according to Baseball America. They deserve it.
Nevada (5-5, 2-1) at New Mexico (5-5-1, 1-2)
Two evenly matched teams here and their records show it. Nevada took the opening game 9-5. The Wolf Pack scored 5 runs in the top of the third and they never lost the lead. Joshua Zamora went 1 for 5 with 3 RBI’s which sounds a lot like a bases loaded double to me. The pen actually won this game as Cooper Powell (1-1) went 4 IP in relief and gave up zero hits. Hard to ask for better than that. The strong pen won this one. New Mexico played turn about is fair play as they won game two 8-5 on the strength of 16 hits with six players getting at least 2 hits and Brayden Merritt getting 3. He’s hitting a stout .471, by the way. Game three went Nevada’s way 13-8 as the Lobos scored 8 runs in the final two innings which wasn’t enough as they trailed 13 to zip going into the eighth. That would have been some comeback. A lot of offense on both sides. To me, the story of this one is Jake Jackson. He went 6 IP giving up no runs and striking out 8. The freshman continues to shine. The roof just about caved in on the Wolf Pack as the Lobos picked on the pen for those eight runs. The Wolf Pack looks pretty legit at this point and the Lobos need to find their power stick.
Air Force (2-8)
The Falcons drop two of three to Dallas Baptist and the pitching still struggles. First game loss was by 11-3. Starter Tyler Mortenson (0-3) went five innings giving up 2 earned runs (6 total). I feel he couldn’t get past an error or two as he had his stuff working; 7 strikeouts and only 2 walks. Second game wasn’t much better as they lose 7-1 and had only 5 hits. The game was close until the 5th and 6th innings when the Patriots opened it up with 5 runs. Hmm, no highlights; just lowlights. Game three was a turnaround as the Falcons won easily 6-0 on the strength of the arms of Ryan Holloway (1-0) and reliever Jake Gilbert who gave up little. Holloway had 7 strikeouts in 6+ IP. Overall, I’d say the starting pitching did ok against a good team and on the road but there is still some tweaking required. Are they ready for conference play?
Fresno State (8-5, 0-3) at UNLV (11-1, 3-0)
Wow! The Rebels sweep the Bulldogs and jump up into nationals rankings as Collegiate Baseball has them at #23. That means a lot. The Mountain West has two teams in the top 25. I didn’t see that coming and I certainly didn’t see this sweep coming. Game one was a 7-6 affair as Fresno State made it close with 2 in the ninth. The Rebels had only 6 hits but they came at good times. Nick Ames was 1 for 3 with 3 RBI’s as he hit a three run homer for his only hit and Nick Rodriguez went 3-3 with a home run. They didn’t need much more. Alan Strong (2-0) went 7+ for the win. Game 3 was another one run game as the Rebels complete the sweep with a 5-4 victory. Not a lot offense but Bulldogs catcher Carter Bins continues with the hot bat as he hit his third home run in the loss. Starter Trevor Horn (2-0) goes 7 for the win. Quite a turnaround for the Rebels compared to last year’s abysmal record. Outhouse to the penthouse, I guess. Is it for real?
One of the things I said in the preview for this past weekend is how it seems the Mountain West is showing some pitching. I will continue to say that and you can see how the pitching translates into wins and then to some recognition. I’m thinking San Diego State and UNLV agree.
Just as a quick aside, SJS beat Utah last night 9-6 which is always good. A Pac 12 opponent even though they are struggling mightily. Chris Williams went 4 for 5 and Jace Duty and Brett Bautista both had three hits. I think I said earlier that the Spartans needed Bautista’s bat back in the lineup. Does his .481 average help support my claim? Pitching is still a ways over 6.00. Gotta change.