WAC Weekend Preview (04/30 – 05/04)

Courtesy: Nevada

Courtesy: Nevada

Week five in the WAC begins with four teams within 1/2 game of each other in the standings. Week four saw all six teams playing in conference action split their series keeping the order in the standings intact heading into this week.

SERIES OF THE WEEK:
Nevada (22-20, 7-4) at Fresno State (20-23, 4-8)
Pete Beiden Field, Fresno, CA

The defending league champions find themselves in a pivotal series this weekend. At 4-8 in league play they are tied for last place with Sacramento State at the halfway point of their conference schedule. With only six teams making the annual conference tournament the Bulldogs are looking to notch their first WAC series victory of the season. Fresno State leads the series with Nevada 26-18 in WAC play. Nevada comes into the series having won four in a row taking four consecutive non-conference games with three coming against CS-Bakersfield and one against UC-Davis.

Prediction:
The Bulldogs need this series more than Nevada does. Fresno State can ill afford to lose this series and while a split doesn’t harm them, a series victory would go a long way towards ensuring their participation in the WAC tournament at the end of the month. Nevada is hoping to keep pace with fellow league leader Hawai’i but considering the performance of WAC teams on the road (15-28) in league play, a split would be an acceptable outcome however, we think Fresno State gets back on track taking three of four from the Wolf Pack at Pete Beiden Field.

Game One: Fri., May 1 6:05 p.m. PT
Game Two/Three: Sat., May 2 2:05 p.m. PT
Game Four: Sun., May 3 1:05 p.m. PT

Probable Starters:
G1 Nev – Brock Stassi (5-3, 4.91 ERA), FSU – Matt Morse (1-2, 3.47 ERA)
G2 Nev – Chris Garcia(3-4, 6.24 ERA), FSU – Derek Benny (2-2, 4.53 ERA)
G3 Nev – Derek Chelpohl (4-3, 3.65 ERA), FSU – TBA
G4 Nev – TBA, FSU – Josh Poytress (1-2, 4.25 ERA)

Louisiana Tech (7-9, 22-18) at Hawai’i (26-16, 9-6)
Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, HI

Hawai’i went on the road to the desert in Las Cruces, N.M. and came away with a disappointing split after losing the final game of the series 20-9 in a seven inning run-rule loss. Louisiana Tech went on the road and split with Sacramento State. After starting out 1-7 in league play the Bulldogs have won six of eight games to pull to the middle of the pack.

Prediction:
Hawai’i has won six of eight games at home in conference play and this series against Louisiana Tech will be their final home series before the conference tournament later this month. Louisiana Tech is 2-6 on the road in conference play but has won their last two. Hawai’i takes three of four from the visiting Bulldogs.

Game One: Thu., Apr 30 6:35 p.m. HT
Game Two: Fri., May 1 6:35 p.m. HT
Game Three: Sat., May 2 6:35 p.m. HT
Game Four: Sun., May 3 1:05 p.m. HT

Probable Starters:

G1 LTU – Jeb Stefan (3-5, 7.67 ERA), UH – Jayson Kramer (4-3, 3.68 ERA)
G2 LTU – Dylan Moseley (4-3, 5.34 ERA), UH – Matt Sisto (4-4, 4.12 ERA)
G3 LTU – John Anderson (5-2, 5.31 ERA), UH Nate Klein (1-2, 3.63 ERA)
G4 LTU – Casey Jones (3-0, 5.50 ERA), UH – Jared Alexander (2-1, 6.82 ERA)

San Jose State (31-14, 7-5) at Sacramento State (23-20, 4-8)
Hornet Field, Sacramento, CA

The Hornets and Spartans split but in two different manners. The Spartans lost the first two games at home to Fresno State to go into an 0-2 series hole but rallied to win the final two games including a come from behind victory down three in the bottom of the ninth inning. Sacramento State on the other hand won the first two games against visiting Louisiana Tech but then lost the final two games of the series.

Prediction:
Sacramento State has been strong at home with a 16-5 record while San Jose State is just 8-8 on the road. The Spartans have the league’s best pitching, best defense and second best offense and they should win three of four against the Hornets.

Game One: Fri., May 1 2:00 p.m. PT
Game Two/Three: Sat., May 2 11:00 a.m. PT
Game Four: Sun., May 3 1:00 p.m. PT

Probable Starters:
G1 SJSU – David Berner (6-1, 2.47 ERA), Sac St. – Brandon Sandoval (5-4, 5.02 ERA)
G2 SJSU – Max Peterson (6-1, 3.91 ERA), Sac St. – Jesse Darrah (8-2, 5.43 ERA)
G3 SJSU – Ryan Shopshire (4-1, 2.64 ERA), Sac St. – Nick Buchta (0-1, 6.75 ERA)
G4 SJSU – TBA, Sac. St. – TBA

Houston Baptist (9-31) at New Mexico State (34-10)
Presley Askew Field, Las Cruces, N.M.

The Aggies step out of conference this weekend to host Houston Baptist, a team that has just nine wins on the season. However, one of those nine wins was against Louisiana Tech, 12-11 in 12 innings in Ruston. This is a series that the Aggies should sweep and in all honesty it shouldn’t really be close. The Aggies have a chance to get a few other players some more innings and this series will be important for getting the starters a little rest before the stretch run over the next few weekends. The Aggies have just two more conference series remaining and the way the league is shaping up, it could all come down to the final weekend of play before the regular season champion is determined.

Prediction:
Aggies sweep the four game series.