WAC Weekend Preview (April 9th – 11th)

As is customary with a seven team league the first weekend of WAC play sees six of the seven teams in action including New Mexico State who holds the nation’s longest active winning at 11 games.  Five of the seven teams in the league have a .500 or better record coming into league play and holds a 107-88-1 record against non-conference opponents.

STANDINGS
1. New Mexico State (22-10)
2. Fresno State (17-12)
3. Nevada (15-11)
4. Hawai’i (16-12)
5. Louisiana Tech (15-12)
6. San Jose State (11-15)
7. Sacramento State (11-16-1)

SERIES OF THE WEEK
No. 20 New Mexico State (22-10) vs. Nevada (15-11)
Presley Askew Field, Las Cruces, N.M.

This series features two of the league’s hottest ballclubs as the Aggies enter on an 11-game winning streak and Nevada winners of five of their last six games and three in a row.  New Mexico State leads the league in offensive production with a team batting average of .368 and an average of 11.75 runs per game.  The Aggies have scored nearly 150 more runs than the next highest scoring team, Louisiana Tech.  Nevada is fourth in the league in batting average (.302) and fourth in the league in scoring at 6.8 runs per game.  The Wolf Pack enter the series with a 5.54 team ERA while the Aggies enter with a team ERA of 7.69.  The game will also feature the league’s top three hitters in New Mexico State’s Leo Aguirre (.444) and Ryan Aguayo (.433) and Nevada’s Brock Stassi (.432).  Nevada also features two of the league’s top starting pitching ERAs in Chris Garcia (3-1, 2.54 ERA) and Brock Stassi (3-3, 3.53 ERA).

Prediction: The Aggies enter this series on a hot streak as does Nevada.  These two teams split their season series last year in Reno.  The Nevada pitching staff has shown a tendency to give up a lot of runs which is something that New Mexico State can certainly take advantage of.  New Mexico State’s pitching staff has also given up a lot of runs this season but has settled into a nice groove during this win streak and has given up double-digit runs just twice during the 11-game winning streak.  We think the Aggies will take three of four in the series.

Game One: Fri., Apr 9, 6:05 p.m. MT
Game Two/Three: Sat., Apr 10, 3:05 p.m. MT
Game Four: Sun., Apr 11, 12:05 p.m. MT

Media
Game One: AggieVision (Tape Delay, FSN-AZ on Apr 10 @ 1 p.m. MT)
Game Four: Aggie Vision (Tape Delay, FSN-AZ on Apr 12 @ 10 p.m. MT)

Probable Starters (G1 – G4)
Nevada: Chris Garcia (3-1, 2.54 ERA), Jeremy Cole (2-0, 2.38 ERA), Tom Jameson (1-1, 4.80 ERA), Brock Stassi (3-3, 3.53 ERA)
New Mexico State: DJ Simon (3-3, 9.77 ERA), Thomas Brendel (2-1, 6.48 ERA), Dan Reid (4-1, 5.92 ERA), TBD

Hawai’i (16-12) vs. Fresno State (17-12)
Les Murakami Stadium, Honolulu, HI

The Bulldogs and Warriors will open conference play in what should be a fantastic series.  Hawai’i leads the league in pitching with a 4.50 ERA and have allowed the fewest runs in the league at 4.96 runs per game.  The Bulldogs have the second best offense in the league with a batting average of .319 and are averaging 6.9 runs per game.  The Warriors ball park, Les Murakami Stadium, is known as a pitcher friendly park and this series will be a battle of strengths, Hawaii’s pitching versus Fresno State’s offense.  The Bulldogs have pretty good numbers on the mound as well as they’re second in the WAC with a 5.34 ERA and are allowing 6.3 runs per game.  Hawai’i ace Josh Slaats has been exceptional this season with a 1.03 ERA and a 3-1 record.  He has given up just six runs and struck out 41 batters in 35 innings worked.  The series will also feature Fresno State’s Charlie Robertson (2-1, 4.36 ERA) and Matt More (2-3, 4.85 ERA) and Hawaii’s Alex Capaul (4-1, 4.40 ERA) and Sam Spangler (2-3, 4.81 ERA).

Prediction: The Warriors are generally tough at home on the islands although this season they have a 13-10 record at Les Murakami Stadium.  The pitcher friendly park has also given up plenty of runs this season as there have been 10 games in which the victor has scored nine or more runs.  The Warriors have won nine of their past 12 games while Fresno State has won eight of their last 10 games.  Fresno State has been a good road team as well posting a 6-3 record away from Fresno.  We think the Bulldogs and Warriors will split the series each winning two games.

Game One: Fri., Apr 9, 6:30 p.m. HT
Game Two/Three: Sat., Apr 10, 1:00 p.m. HT
Game Four: Sun., Apr 11 1:00 p.m.  HT

Media:
Games One – Four: Radio- ESPN 1420 AM Honolulu (espn1420am.com)

Probable Starters: TBD

Louisiana Tech (15-12) vs. San Jose State (11-15)
J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park, Ruston, LA

Louisiana Tech is second in the league in batting average at .326 and is averaging 8.5 runs per game while San Jose State is last in the league in runs per game at 5.7 runs per game and second to last in batting average at .289.  The Bulldogs have hit just nine home runs this season, well behind the rest of the league (no other team has fewer than 23).  The Bulldogs enter the series with a 5.92 ERA while San Jose State enters with a slightly better 5.74 ERA.  The Spartans are giving up an average of 6.6 runs per game while the Bulldogs are giving up an average of 6.8 runs per game.

Prediction: These two teams are very similar statistically and this could be a very even series and as such we think the two teams will split the opening weekend.

Game One: Fri., Apr 9, 6:00 p.m. CT
Game Two/Three: Sat., Apr 10, 1:00 p.m. CT
Game Four: Sat., Apr 11, 1:00 p.m. CT

Media
Games One through Four: Radio- ESPN 97.7 Ruston

Probable Starters
Louisiana Tech: Jamey Bradshaw (2-0, 4.20 ERA), Trevor Petersen (4-2, 4.91 ERA), Josh Barrett (3-1, 3.51 ERA), TBD
San Jose State: Luke Mazzanti (0-3, 6.43 ERA), Blake McFarland (3-1, 2.20 ERA), Sean Martin (1-1, 3.97 ERA), TBD