WAC Weekend Preview (04/29 – 05/02)

At  the midway point of WAC play, New Mexico State leads the way with Fresno State in second place.  The Bulldogs are out of conference this weekend while the rest of the WAC faces off.  New Mexico State hosts Louisiana Tech, Hawai’i hosts Nevada and San Jose State hosts Sacramento State.  Fresno State hosts Dallas Baptist for a three game series.

STANDINGS
1. New Mexico State (31-12-1, 9-2-1)
2. Fresno State (24-18, 7-5)
3. Louisiana Tech (21-18, 6-6)
4. Nevada (22-15-1, 3-4-1)
T5. San Jose State (15-23, 3-5)
T5. Sacramento State (14-22-1, 3-5)
7. Hawai’i (21-20, 4-8)

SERIES OF THE WEEK
New Mexico State (31-12-1, 9-2-1) vs. Louisiana Tech (21-18, 6-6)
Presley Askew Field, Las Cruces, N.M.

This series pits the hottest team in the league, New Mexico State, against the most bipolar team in the league, Louisiana Tech.  The Aggies are coming off a 7-1 road trip including a 4-0 series sweep of Sacramento State last weekend.  It was first conference sweep of the season for any team in the WAC.  Louisiana Tech split a pair of games with Hawai’i in Ruston, LA and has split each of the first three series to open conference play.  The Bulldogs’ 6-6 record in league play has been a result of hot and cold play.  Entering last weekend’s series with Hawai’i, the Bulldogs had outscored opponents 50-15 in their four conference victories but had been outscored 46-14 in their four conference losses.  Things were nearly the same against Hawai’i as the Bulldogs won 9-5 and 14-6.  Their two losses were 10-0 and 14-13, a game in which they finally were close in a loss.

Prediction:
These teams are two of the better offenses in the WAC.  New Mexico State is batting .320 in 12 league games while Louisiana Tech is batting .351.  Those marks are third and second best in the league respectively.  Louisiana Tech has actually hit more home runs than the Aggies, 23-15, and this series could see the two teams add a few more to those totals.  The Aggies actually lead the league in ERA at 5.42 while Louisiana Tech weighs in with a 7.56 ERA.  The travel weary Aggies will be happy to see the friendly confines of Presley Askew Field and riding a six game win streak we think the Aggies will take three of four hotly contested, high scoring games from the Bulldogs.

Game One: Fri., Apr 30, 6:00 p.m. MT
Game Two/Three: Sat., May 1, 3:00 p.m. MT
Game Four: Sun., May 2, 1:00 p.m. MT

Media
Game 1-3: Radio, KSNM AM 570 Las Cruces
Game 4: Television, AggieVision

Hawai’i (21-20, 4-8) vs. Nevada (22-15-1, 3-4-1)
Peccole Park, Reno, NV

The Warriors split their series with Louisiana Tech on the road and head back to Honolulu with a 4-8 conference record.  The Wolf Pack split their series with Fresno State as they lost the Friday and Sunday games 8-3 and 9-3 but swept the Saturday doubleheader run-ruling the Bulldogs in both, 17-6 and 14-4.  The Warriors, much like New Mexico State, have spent the past two weekends on the road and will be happy to the see friendly confines of their home park.

Prediction: We think the island breezes will rejuvenate the struggling Warriors and they’ll take three of four from the visiting Wolf Pack.

Game One: Fri., Apr 30, 6:35 p.m. HT
Game Two/Three: Sat., May 1, 3:00 p.m. HT
Game Four: Sun., May 2, 1:00 p.m. HT

San Jose State (15-23, 3-5) vs. Sacramento State (14-22-1, 3-5)
Blethen Field, San Jose, CA

The battle of the two teams who most recently lost to New Mexico State.  The Spartans did the Hornets one game better as they took one of the four from the Aggies.  This series pits the worst offensive team in league play versus the worst pitching team in league play.  Sacramento State’s .270 batting average is lowest in the league and their 36 runs through eight games is also the lowest.  San Jose State hasn’t fared much better having scored just 47 runs, second worst in the league.  San Jose State’s pitching has not been terribly good as they are sporting a league worst 8.73 ERA.  Sacramento State’s pitching has actually been good with a 5.53 ERA, second best in the WAC, and have only given up 46 runs, best in the WAC.  However, they have only three wins to show for it.

Prediction: If you’re a fan of good solid defensive baseball and low scoring games, this series may be in your wheelhouse.  With a set of teams averaging just 4.5 and 5.9 runs per game during league play, this four game series figures to be one of the more competitive of the weekend.  We think the two teams will split this series, alternating wins each game.

Game One: Fri., Apr 30, 2:00 p.m. PT
Game Two/Three: Sat., May 1, 11:30 a.m. PT
Game Four: Sun., May 2, 1:00 p.m. PT

Fresno State vs. Dallas Baptist
Pete Beiden Field, Fresno, CA

The Bulldogs are this week’s odd team out and will host a three game series with Dallas Baptist.  This should be an outstanding series between two of the better teams in college baseball.

Game One: Thu., Apr 29, 6:00 p.m. PT
Game Two: Fri., Apr 30, 6:00 p.m. PT
Game Three: Sat, May 1, 6:00 p.m. PT