SERIES OF THE WEEK: FRESNO STATE AT SACRAMENTO STATE (Hornet Field)
Why it’s important: Fresno State controls its own destiny this weekend. The Bulldogs head into the final weekend of the regular season with a one game lead over second place Nevada. If the Bulldogs can win three of four they will likely win the WAC regular season crown. This series could also be a preview of one of next week’s first round matchups in the conference tournament.
Sacramento State (21-30, 12-15)
The Hornets are reeling having lost three consecutive conference series. Just one month ago the Hornets were in second place with then struggling New Mexico State in town for the weekend. Four straight losses to the Aggies and the two teams were suddenly headed in opposite directions. The Hornets have not recovered from that weekend series with the Aggies and now host league leader Fresno State to end the regular season. The Hornets have plummeted to the sixth spot in the standings and were stunned by Nevada in the series finale last Sunday. The Hornets gave up a three run ninth inning lead, their second blown lead in the ninth of that series. Sacramento State would like to build a little momentum heading into next week’s conference tournament but will need to play their very best with league leader Fresno State in town.
Fresno State (31-25, 19-9)
Fresno State looks to wrap up the regular season crown as they visit Sacramento State on the final weekend of the regular season. The Bulldogs could be facing the Hornets in the opening round of next weekend’s WAC tournament if they win this series.
Prediction: Fresno State splits the series with Sacramento State but still wins the regular season crown as they save their staff for next week’s tournament.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Nevada at San Jose State (Spartan Stadium)
San Jose State (27-23, 13-14)
The Spartans are looking to stay ahead of the New Mexico State Aggies and wrap up a 4-seed in next week’s conference tournament. They have a tough task as they host second place Nevada. The Spartans are currently a half game ahead of New Mexico State for fourth place in the conference. Whichever team can win the most games in their respective series will wrap up the 4-seed and face either Hawai’i or Nevada in the first round of next week’s conference tournament.
Nevada (31-20, 18-10)
Nevada is looking for some help from Sacramento State this weekend as they sit just one game behind Fresno State for first place and the top seed in next week’s conference tournament. The Pack can assure themselves of at least a top two seed with just one victory over San Jose State this weekend.
Prediction: Nevada takes game one assuring itself of a top two seed and rests its players in the final three games. San Jose wins three of four in the series to finish at 16-14.
Louisiana Tech at New Mexico State (Presley Askew Field)
New Mexico State (26-29, 13-15)
The Aggies were the hottest team in the league heading into last weekend’s games but had their fire doused a little bit losing both games of a Saturday doubleheader with Hawai’i after winning the first two games of the series. The Aggies have had a remarkable turnaround over the past month and look to continue the momentum heading into next weekend’s conference tournament. The Aggies host last place Louisiana Tech who will not be participating in the conference tournament as only the top six teams get in. With a sweep of the series the Aggies can earn a 4-seed in the tournament and a date with either Hawai’i or Nevada.
Louisiana Tech (21-29, 5-21)
The Bulldogs enter the final weekend with literally nothing to play for but pride. Having been eliminated from conference tournament contention two weekends ago the Bulldogs will have to settle for trying to be a seed buster. The Bulldogs, who host next week’s conference tournament in Ruston, can drop the Aggies to either the 5-seed or 6-seed with a series victory and would garner at least some satisfaction in beating the team that just a mere month ago was locked in a battle with the Bulldogs to try to stay out of the conference basement.
Prediction: The Aggie bats continue to pound away as they sweep the Bulldogs and wrap up the 4-seed.
Hawai’i (26-17, 18-14) is out of conference hosting Utah Valley for a three game series.
Prediction: The Warriors take all three from UVSU and head into the conference tournament on a five game winning streak.