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2012 WAC Tournament Day Two Recap/Day Three Preview

Day Two of the WAC Tournament in Mesa, Ariz. saw one team eliminated (Hawai’i), one team run-ruled (Nevada) and one team give up a 10-run inning (New Mexico State).  The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs bounced back from a crushing 4-3 walk-off loss at the hands of Nevada to eliminated Hawai’i 9-6 sending the 4-seeded Rainbow Warriors packing their bags for Honolulu.  The second game of the day saw 2-seed Sacramento State crush 3-seed Nevada 15-5 after the Wolf Pack had jumped out on top 3-2.  The third game of the day also saw the winning team post 15 runs as perennial tournament bully Fresno State overpowered New Mexico State behind the strength of a 10-run second inning en route to a 15-8 victory.

A bizarre series of events unfolded in the game occurred when Sacramento State freshman shortstop Scotty Burcham appeared to have the ball hit him in the upper body/neck area while attempting to bunt while leading off the bottom of the sixth inning.  Burcham would go down (the pitch was called a foul tip off the bat) and while Burcham was being tended to, Nevada starting pitcher Tom Jameson would have to leave the game after developing a bloody nose mostly likely caused by the extreme daytime temperatures in Mesa.  Burcham would be pinch hit for and would leave the game.  He was still dazed in the dugout and nearly passed out.  EMTs were called and Burcham was transported out of the stadium.  His condition is not know at the time of this posting.

In the nightcap the top seeded Aggies from New Mexico State suffered a through a three-error inning, including a pair of errors by First Team All-WAC shortstop Zach Voight on a single play.  The errors proved costly as 5-seed Fresno State would reel off 10 runs in the inning to take a commanding 10-0 lead after just two innings.  The Bulldogs added two more in the third before the Aggies rallied for six in the bottom of the sixth.  Fresno State would hold on for a 15-8 victory and advance to today’s winners bracket finale.

Day Three will see two more teams eliminated and one team will earn a spot in the championship game on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. (PDT).

Game Six – 11:00 a.m (PDT)
#1 New Mexico State (35-21) vs. #6 Louisiana Tech (25-27)
#6 Louisiana Tech 15, #1 New Mexico State 13 – New Mexico State eliminated, Louisiana Tech advances to face #3 Nevada at 3:00 p.m. (PDT). 

Season Series: 
New Mexico State swept the season series in Las Cruces but had to rally in the ninth in the first two games to do so.  The Aggies then took the third game 10-0 winning in a run-rule shortened seven inning game.

This will be the Bulldogs’ third game of the tournament while it will only be New Mexico State’s second which should give the starting pitching advantage to New Mexico State.  It’s been a high-scoring tournament overall with the winner of four of the five games scoring at least eight runs.  Given the Aggies’ offensive prowess and the apparent pitching advantage this elimination game would appear to favor New Mexico State.

The winner of this game will advance to the 3:00 p.m. elimination game while the loser will be the second team eliminated from the tournament.

Projected Winner: New Mexico State

Game Seven – 3:00 p.m. (PDT)
#3 Nevada vs. #6 Louisiana Tech
#6 Louisiana Tech 18, Nevada 5 (7) – Nevada eliminated, Louisiana Tech advances to face Fresno State on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. (PDT) in an elimination game

Like Louisiana Tech the Wolf Pack will be playing their third game of the tournament and have already used their top two pitchers.  The Wolf Pack offense has scored the second fewest runs scored in the tournament having scored just nine runs through two games.  Whether they face Louisiana Tech or New Mexico State the winner will need to score a relatively high number of runs.  Nevada figures to have a slight advantage in that this will be their first and only game of the day while their opponent will be playing their second game of the day in the Arizona heat.  If the Wolf Pack face New Mexico State the Aggies figure to have the starting pitching advantage, however, if the Wolf Pack face Louisiana Tech then they would figure to have the pitching advantage and also the advantage of a full day’s rest heading into the game.

Projected Winner: New Mexico State Nevada

Game Eight – 7:00 p.m. (PDT)
#2 Sacramento State (30-26) vs. #5 Fresno State (27-25)
#2 Sacramento State 8, #5 Fresno State 3 – Sacramento State secures a spot in Saturday’s championship game at 7:00 p.m. and must be beaten twice.  Fresno State faces #6 Louisiana Tech in an elimination game on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. (PDT) the winner will face Sacramento State in the championship game at 7:00 p.m. (PDT) 

Season Series
The Bulldogs and Hornets faced each other just three weekends ago with Fresno State taking two of three in the series in Fresno.  Sacramento State won the first game 9-7 but dropped games two and three 10-6 and 8-6.

A spot in the championship game is on the line for the winner and a shot at needing just one win for the WAC tournament title while the loser must win three more games to win the WAC tournament title.

Sacramento State is playing well but no team has dominated the month of May like Fresno State.  Both teams come in off of 15-run performances so this figures to be a pitchers’ duel.  The Bulldogs will be playing their third game of the tournament while it will be just the second for Sacramento State.  This should favor the Hornets.

Projected Winner: Sacramento State

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