Surprises. Always Surprises In Baseball
What are the surprises. Mainly Nevada getting surprised by Air Force and New Mexico putting a bit of hurt on the Rebels of UNLV. Read on and see what you think.
San Jose State (16-22) at UC Riverside (15-19)
Win one for the Mountain West? Done! The Spartans take two of three from the Highlanders, on the road no less. That gives them two on the road series victories in a row. A bit of a melt down in game one but the next two were all SJS. Game one loss was 8-7 and only 2 runs in the ninth made it close. Shane Timmons had three hits but the highlight, at least in my book, was the pen did a good job in relief of starter Josh Goldberg (2-5) who got hit often and hard. Game two featured a 10 inning victory, 5-3, and 3 hits by Brett Bautista and a home run by Shane Timmons. Andrew Mitchel went 8 strong innings while striking out 11 in the win and 4 innings from Fineas Del Bonta-Smith (still one of the best names in baseball) which got him the win (2-3). Game 3 was a laugher at 14-3 and game was never in doubt. In this game Brett Bautista had 2 home runs and 6 RBIs. Four others had 3 hits in a dominant display of hitting. Jake Swiech (2-2) had his best outing of recent outings on his part which makes him feel good I’m sure. Will the Spartans build on this? Hard to say but New Mexico will test them.
Fresno State (9-12) at San Diego State (10-7)
The Aztecs take 2 of 3 from Fresno State thereby keeping close to Nevada and the Bulldogs continue their fall which is a mystery to me. Game 1 was won by the Aztecs 3-2 in a pitchers duel that was decided by 2 late runs in the bottom of the 7th. San Diego State’s Dean Nevarez went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs and a home run for the winners. Fresno State evened things up in game two winning 7-4 with 4 runs in the top of the 7th. Those runs didn’t decide the game but they gave the Bulldogs a cushion which they needed. Edgar Gonzalez (6-2) went 5 IP for the winners but he wasn’t on top of his game as he gave up 4 hits and 4 walks. He was lucky to survive that. Jeremiah Burks went 3 for 5 and 2 RBIs for the winners. The Aztecs made the last game a laugher by winning 7-0 scoring their runs from the 4th inning on. Jorge Fernandez (4-3) went 6 strong giving up no runs on 4 hits and 7 strikeouts. A dominant outing. Chad Bible did most of the damage with a home run and 3 RBIs and Jordan Verdon also had a homer.
Nevada (14-6) at Air Force (10-10)
Yeah, we had some weather out here in Colorado. So much so that it shortened this series to two games on Sunday which Air Force won – both of them. I’m sorry but, I’m prejudiced. I believe that you can’t have well-pitched games at Air Force. Somebody down that away must read my stuff because the Falcons and Wolf Pack pitched a doozy. By the way, how many of you know that the term doozy came from what a car in the 20s and 30s was called that rather than its full name; Dusenberg. Share that with your friends as if they cared. Anyway, the Falcons won game one 3-1 as Ryan Holloway (3-3) pitched a complete game striking out 8 and walking 1. Nevada’s Mark Nowaczewki (4-3) was no slouch as he went 7 IP but took the loss. I’ll betcha it wasn’t warm. Game two also went the Falcons’ way 11-6 as they scored in all innings but the 6th. Nevada had 16 hits but could muster only 6 runs with them. Sounds like not hitting with runners in scoring position. The leading hitter for the Pack was Joshua Zamora as he went 3 for 4 and a home run. The Falcons countered with Ryan Robb going 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs. Air Force is .500 in the MWC and is creeping up. Keep an eye on them.
UNLV (10-8) at New Mexico (8-13)
Yeah, the Lobos climbed out of the cellar by taking 2 of 3 from the Rebels. They won the first game 8-5 using two 3-run innings to put them ahead to stay. Garrett Gouldsmith provided the pop with a home run and 3 RBIs. The kid’s a freshman. More on that later in another post. The Rebels got clobbered in the second game 11-2 and there was little drama as New Mexico put 5 runs up in the second inning. No home runs for the Lobos but they did get 16 hits. Justin Watari and Connor Mang each had 3 hits and 5 others had 2. New Mexico’s Cody Dye (3-5) had a complete game spreading out 7 hits. Geez, complete games are so rare anywhere these days. The Rebels salvage a win 8-3 in the final game. The Lobos scored their runs in the last 2 innings to get some respectability. They did it mostly on the strength of Braden Merritt’s 4 for 4, 2 RBIs, and a home run. The Rebels’ Bryson Stott had 3 hits and Dillon Johnson went 2 for 4 with 3 RBIs and a home run.
So, what does all this show us? That there isn’t that much space among the top and the next 6 positions in the standings. Nevada still looks pretty healthy but losing both games in Colorado Springs puts a little tarnish on their luster. I don’t expect them to collapse but this is the Mountain West. More to come.