WAC Baseball Tournament Round Three Recap and Championship Game Preview

2008 WAC Baseball TournamentGAME ONE – #1 FRESNO STATE VS. #2 HAWAI’I
Fresno State scored one run on an Eric Wetzel homer in the bottom of the fourth to take an early 1-0 lead over 2-seed Hawai’i. Hawai’i would answer and take the lead with three runs in the top of the sixth inning and Landon Hernandez and Matt Roquemore produced back-to-back home runs to start the inning. The lead didn’t last long however as Fresno State scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to go up 8-3 and then added three more runs in the bottom of the seventh to lead 11-3. Hawai’i added a meaningless run in the top of the ninth and the battle between the tournament’s only two remaining unbeatens went to top seed Fresno State.

Jason Brckley picked up the win for the Bulldogs pitching four innings and giving up just one run, that being on the Ryan Asato sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth. The losing pitcher was Matt Daly who in five innings of work gave up six runs. With the win Fresno State advances to the Championship game on Sunday.

GAME TWO – #3 NEVADA VS. #5 SACRAMENTO STATE
Nevada jumped on the board early with four runs in the first inning and never looked back as they run-ruled 5th seed Sacramento State 15-5. The Wolf Pack scored at least one run in every inning except the third inning. Sacramento State scored one run in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, however, the Wolf Pack answered each run with three, four and three runs in the bottom of those innings. Sacramento State added two more runs in the top of the seventh but could not get the lead under ten and the game was called.

Mario Rivera picked up the win for Nevada going six innings and giving up all five Hornet runs. The loss went to Alvaro Orozco who pitched 3.2 innings giving up eight runs.

Sacramento State was eliminated from the Tournament and finishes the season at 24-35.

GAME THREE – #2 HAWAI’I VS. #3 NEVADA

The third game of the day was a rematch of day two’s battle which saw the Warriors dominate the Wolf Pack 14-5 sending Nevada to the losers bracket. With a berth in the championship game on the line Nevada made up for the 14-5 loss to Hawai’i by dominating the Warriors 12-7. Nevada scored five runs in the top of the second inning to get the early lead. Hawa’i would score one run in the bottom of the inning to get the score to 5-1. Nevada would answer the Warrior run with one of their own in the top of the third inning and Hawai’i would answer back with one run in the bottom of the third and one run in the bottom of the fourth to bring the score to 6-3. Nevada would pull away in the next two innings scoring four runs in the top of the fifth and two more in the top of the sixth to take a commanding 12-3 lead. Hawai’i would try to mount a comeback as they scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings but it was not enough and the 2nd seeded Warriors were sent home by the 3-seed Wolf Pack. Saturday’s win avenged both the regular season series loss in Honolulu as well as day two’s 14-5 loss.

Brock Stassi picked up the win for the Wolf Pack going 7.1 innings giving up five runs and striking out seven Warriors. The loss went to Josh Slaats who lasted only 1.2 innings giving up five runs, all in the second inning. The Warriors finish the season 29-31.

Nevada advances to face top seed Fresno State in the championship game on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. CDT.

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREVIEW

#1 FRESNO STATE VS. #3 NEVADA
These two teams met eight times in the regular season. Fresno State won the series in Fresno winning games one and two 12-4 and 11-1 (7), lost game three 4-1 and then won game four 13-3 (7). The series in Reno was won by Nevada with Fresno State picking up game one 9-3 but falling in the remaining three games 4-1, 7-3 and 12-11.

Should Nevada win tomorrow’s 12:00 p.m. game there will be a second game immediately following the conclusion of the 12:00 p.m. game as Fresno State has not yet lost in the tournament. Should Fresno State win, they will claim their third consecutive WAC tournament title. Fresno State is currently 11-0 in the tournament since 2006.

Prediction: Fresno State takes the league championship for the third consecutive season.