Mountain West Enters Fourth Week of Conference Games
Things are starting to get a little interesting in the MWC. There are three teams that are basically tied for the lead with the rest following with losing records. UNLV appears to be the best but Nevada and SDSU are only a half game back (none in the loss column). Both the Rebels and the Aztecs are getting national attention which is pretty good for the conference. Maybe the conference will get two bids this year. That would be nice but don’t start thinking we’re the SEC. Here I go again playing the homer. Guess who leads the conference in hitting? San Jose State’s Brett Bautista at .500. Then again the top three home run hitters are from UNLV which explains a lot about how well they’re doing.
San Jose State (9-10) at UC Santa Barbara (6-11-1)
The Spartans had a good week as they went 3-1 with two pitching gems. In the last few years that’s a phrase that was not part of my description of SJS games; pitching gems. The team’s hitting is settling out with two good hitters and the rest having room to improve. Pitching may have turned a corner with one solid starter and two others hopefully settling down into a good routine. However, the team will need more arms and bats than that to really do well. The Gauchos are having a sub-par season as the hitting is not there (.257) with no .300 hitters. Pitching is ok at 4.62 but the rotation, if there is one, looks to be in the high fours or low fives in ERA. Luke Andrews appears to be the best of the bunch (1-1 and 3.71 and 17 IP). Jack Dashwood (0-3 and 5.74) has the most starts (5) and the most innings (26) but his ERA is not stellar. However, coach seems to like what he sees and keeps putting him out there. Anyway, the Gauchos’ pitching is better, on paper, than the Spartans. Two struggling teams wanting to get on the winning track. We’ll see.
San Diego State (4-1) at UNLV (5-1)
This is the premier series of this weekend. The top two teams in the Mountain West face off. This will be one worth attending if you are so inclined. It will be a case of the conference’s best pitching (SDSU at 3.06) against the best hitting and power (UNLV at). The Aztecs have two starting pitchers that are under 2.00 but they will be tested. The Rebels are hitting at hot .331 clip and have players that have 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 home runs and have 6 .300 hitters. Both teams have the other half of the equation so this ought to be a good one.
Nevada (5-1) at Fresno State (3-6)
Nevada’s doing it mostly on pitching. Two in the rotation are among the best in the conference with Jake Jackson leading the league in just about everything. Fresno State I figured to have the best pitching in the conference but that really hasn’t happened but don’t get fooled. They still have a good rotation. Four of the starters have ERA’s at 3.00 or less. Edgar Gonzalez leads the conference in strike outs and I’d like to see him and Nevada’s Jackson face each other. Both are dominating. Pitching against pitching.
Air Force (2-4) at New Mexico (2-4)
This ain’t the Lobos of yesteryear. Not a lot of pop on this year’s version. Only 6 home runs have been produced which would have been one guy’s output at this time in other seasons. So how ARE they doing it? Pitching. The staff has an ERA of 4.87 which ain’t bad at all. That just goes to show how pitching can keep you in games. If they had any hitting to speak of they’d have a pretty good record. That part of the game is still a work in progress. Air Force has decent hitting (.280) but the pitching is not close to decent (6.75). Ryan Holloway (1-1 and 3.54) is the best of the starters but the rotation fades after him. I don’t know if they are going to turn that around. It’s getting late for all teams and it seems to me that teams have pretty much been defined by now.