Week Two In The Mountain West
A few surprises this weekend. UNLV sweeps Iowa decisively and FSU as well as SDSU take 2 of 3 in their series. I guess those aren’t surprises. In its defense, San Jose State is pounding the ball but losing like mad. I just shake my head in dismay. Insert tears here.
San Jose State (6-9, 0-5) at Nevada (8-6, 5-1)
Nevada was waiting behind some bushes, I suspect, when the Spartans came to town. The Spartans then left Reno with three straight losses. Again, it was the pitching. The staff gave up 11, 10, and 14 in the three games. Hard to salvage one with those deficits staring you in the face. They lost 11-4, 10-9, and 14-4. On the other hand, the Wolf Pack’s pitching didn’t do that well either but, as I’ve said ad nauseum, the Spartans can hit. In game one the Spartans Brett Bautista continues as if they were winning going 3 for 4 and Shane Timmons had a bases loaded double. The Wolf Pack had two of their own with Daniel Perry going 3 for 5 and Weston Hatten going 3 for 5 with 3 RBI’s. Mark Nowaczewski (2-1) went 7 IP for the win. In game two Brett Bautista went 3 for 4, again (in your best Forrest Gump impersonation), with a home run and Shane Timmons had a homer with 3 RBI’s. The Pack’s Joshua Zamora went 3 for 5 in the win. The Pack’s Weston Hatten is turning into a pretty good two way player by the way. I’ll have to keep my eye on him. He started and went 4 2/3 IP and got 2 hits as the DH. In the rout called game three Bautista went 2 for 4 for a total of 8 hits in the series. You folks gotta listen to me. If he continues he should be POY for a last place team. We all know that doesn’t happen but that doesn’t make it right. Ah, well, it’s early but spirits are down. There were 5 multiple hit players for the Pack and the story was Jake Jackson (3-0) as he went 7 IP and turned human giving up 3 runs. Still, pretty impressive as he gave up only 3 hits.
Air Force (5-10, 1-2) at San Diego State (10-5, 4-1)
The Aztecs take two of three but I’m thinking the fly boys are feeling a bit better as they picked up one game. The Aztecs moved up in the national rankings to #25 in taking this series. They may stay there as they are looking pretty strong. Game one was won by SDSU by 3-2 in a pitching duel. Pitching duel? I didn’t see that coming. Tyler Mortensen for Air Force and Jacob Erickson basically faced each other pitch for pitch over 7 innings. Neither decided in the outcome and there were no hitting stars as far as I can see. Game two was decided in the fifth inning when the Falcons scored 4 and won 7-3. Again, the two starters, Matt Hargreaves (1-3) for AFA and Harrison Pyatt (1-1) matched each other pitch for pitch for 7 and 5 innings respectively. I think Hargreaves pitched the better game and got the win as he gave up a single run in his 7 IP. Well done. Nic Ready for Air Force had a home run and Chade Bible went 3 for 5 with a home run for the Aztecs. Game three was another pitching duel won by the Aztecs 3-2 as the Falcons made it close scoring its two runs in the last two innings. Garrett Hill (3-0) won the game and pitcher of the week, I believe, for the Aztecs. He gave up a single hit and no runs in his stint on the mound. The Falcons’ Ryan Holloway (1-1) did well also in taking the loss. Aztecs’ catcher Dean Nevarez went 2 for 3 with a home run.
New Mexico (6-8-1, 2-4) at Fresno State (11-6, 2-4)
The Bulldogs took two of three from the Lobos in this dog fight. The Lobos snatched victory from defeat in game one winning 5-4 as they scored 5 runs in the last two innings. There were 4 home runs in this game; 2 by each team. The mutts Jeremiah Burks was the big hitter for the losers as he went 3 for 4 with a home run. Fresno State’s Ryan Jensen went 7 IP and gave up 0 runs but the pen lost this one. Game two was all Fresno State as they won 5-1. Edgar Gonzalez (3-0) went 7 IP for the win as he struck out 7. He was never threatened. Fresno State’s Zach Presno went 2 for 4 with a home run. Game 4 went FSU’s way 5-4. It was only close because FSU’s starter, Oscar Carvajal gave up 3 runs in the first. The pen bailed him out in giving up only 1 run and 1 hit the rest of the game. Freshman Nikoh Michell (3-0) got the win and gave up nuttin’, honey. The staff struck out 15 Bulldogs. Yes, the Bulldogs have pitching. Right now my money is on that pitching but UNLV and SDSU will be at the table also.
Iowa (8-5) at UNLV (15-2, 3-0)
Speaking of which, the Rebels won game one of this inter-conference matchup 4-0 behind starter Alan Strong (3-0) as he went 5 IP striking out 7. Nuff said for this game. Pitching. Game two was a pitching duel heading into the bottom of the sixth inning with Iowa leading 2-1. The Rebels’ hitters busted out 8 runs in that inning and won 11-2. Larry Quaney (3-0) went 6 IP for the win. Dillon Johnson, Nick Rodriguez, and Nick Ames all had 3 RBI’s. The Rebels won the final game 13-3. To me the story of this game was the pen as they came in by committee (4 pitchers) and shut the Hawkeyes down with 1 hit. Wow! I’m impressed. Six guys had multi hit games. A good sweep against a decent foe.
I want to tell you what I’m getting out of this. It appears to me the Mountain West has more than one or two good teams. UNLV has opened a lot of eyes and is working on all cylinders. Fresno State is good and will be in all games with its pitching. San Diego State hasn’t skipped a beat from last year. Nevada is only 2 games over .500 but I like what I see. That freshman Jackson will be hard to beat all year.