Samuel Wasson is the Co-Founder and Editor of BleedCrimson.net and covers New Mexico State University athletics. He comes to the CBB as our expert on the WAC.
SERIES OF THE WEEK: SAN JOSE STATE AT FRESNO STATE (Joe Beiden Field)
Why It’s Important: San Jose State at 12-11 in conference play still has an outside shot at the conference title and if they are able to go into Fresno and win the series they would come out either tied or one game ahead of Fresno State in the standings. Fresno State, the preseason pick to win the WAC has stumbled in it’s last two series, losing three of four to second place Nevada and splitting a series with sixth place New Mexico State at home but still remain atop the standings.
Fresno State (28-24, 16-8)
Fresno State is coming off of a weekend split with New Mexico State and a midweek loss to Long Beach State in which they used eight pitchers in an effort to save their staff for this important series with San Jose State. The Bulldogs boast the reigning conference player of the week in Steve Susdorf. Susdorf hit .381 with nine RBIs, four home runs, six runs scored and two stolen bases in the weekend split with NMSU. With a strong performance this weekend the Bulldogs can move one step closer to capturing the regular season crown.
San Jose State (26-20, 12-11)
The Spartans have played their last three games out of conference, falling twice to #3 Stanford and coming from behind to defeat St. Mary’s on Tuesday night. The Spartans begin their final two weekends of conference play that sees them play the first place team Fresno State this weekend and Nevada at Municipal Stadium in San Jose next weekend. The Spartans have the chance to earn the regular season conference title if they can win both upcoming series.
Prediction: Fresno State gets it’s house back in order and takes three of four from San Jose State.
Hawai’i at New Mexico State (Presley Askew Field)
New Mexico State (24-27, 11-13)
New Mexico State is the hottest team in the league at the moment coming off of a four game sweep of then second place Sacramento State two weeks ago and earning a split with league leader Fresno State last weekend. The Aggies have a shot to finish in the top half of the league with strong performances over the final two weekends. The schedule is set up nicely for New Mexico State as this weekend they host Hawai’i and next weekend they host Louisiana Tech who was eliminated from the WAC Tournament contenders last weekend by Nevada. The Aggies and Warriors get their series underway on Thursday night and a rebroadcast of the game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona on Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. MDT.
Hawai’i (24-25, 16-12)
Hawai’i is coming off of a series victory over slumping Sacramento State this past weekend. The Warriors took three of four in the series and keep their hopes of winning the regular season league title alive. The Warriors took three of four from the Aggies at Les Murakami Field in Hawai’i earlier in the season. This is the final conference series for the Warriors as next weekend they return to the islands to host Utah Valley State.
Prediction: The Aggies continue their hot play and extract a little revenge from the Warriors.
Sacramento State at Nevada (Peccole Park)
Nevada (28-19, 15-9)
Nevada took three of four from Louisiana Tech last weekend and eliminated the preseason second place pick from contention for the WAC Baseball Tournament. Nevada looks to keep pace with and possibly overtake league leading Fresno State as they host slumping Sacramento State. The Wolf Pack currently sits just one game behind the Bulldogs in the standings and will be looking for a little help from San Jose State this weekend. Pack pitcher Derek Achelpohl was named the WAC Pitcher of the Week for his performance against the Bulldogs from Ruston. Achelpohl pitched 8.2 shutout innings in the final game of the series.
Sacramento State (20-27, 11-12)
Two weekends ago Sacramento State was sitting in second place in the league, after two disastrous weekends hosting New Mexico State and visiting Sacramento State, the Hornets find themselves struggling to stay away from the sixth seed and a first round date with the regular season conference champion in the upcoming WAC Baseball Tournament. The Hornets must find a way to rebound from the past two weekend series. The road will not be easy for the Hornets as after they face second place Nevada this weekend, they end the regular season against current league leader Fresno State.
Prediction: The Wolf Pack adds to the Hornets’ misery as they sweep the series dropping the Hornets to the six-seed heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
Louisiana Tech (20-29, 5-21)
Louisiana Tech played a pair of midweek non-conference games falling in heartbreaking fashion 4-3 at Louisiana-Lafayette and 7-1 at Northwestern State last night. The Bulldogs are not in action this weekend.