Week four of WAC play sees Nevada and No. 20 Hawai’i atop the league standings at 7-4. New Mexico State is just a half game behind at 7-5, while San Jose State is 5-3, Louisiana Tech is 5-7 and the two other northern California schools, Sacramento State and defending league champion Fresno State are 2-6. The weekend is highlighted by a key battle in New Mexico between New Mexico State and No. 20 Hawai’i.
The WAC enters week three of conference play and through two weekends Nevada stands atop the league at 5-2 after winning two of three against Hawai’i who now stands at 4-3 in conference. Fresno State opened league play against New Mexico State and split the series 2-2 with the Aggies winning games one and three by one run while New Mexico State won games two and four by margins of two and four. San Jose State improved to 5-3 overall after sweeping Louisiana Tech. The Spartans are tied for second with New Mexico State. Louisiana Tech dropped to 1-7 in league play. Sacramento State played a non-conference series and returns to league play this week.
#23 New Mexico State (28-4, 3-1) at Fresno State (16-14, 0-0) Pete Beiden Field, Fresno, CA
Defending WAC champion Fresno State opens up conference play against New Mexico State. The Aggies are already 3-1 on the young conference season after defeating Sacramento State three out of four in Las Cruces, N.M. Fresno State looks to open its title defense strong after struggling a bit in non-conference play. The Bulldogs have played the entire non-conference with every team taking its best shot as they face the defending national champions. That elevated play from opponents has left the Bulldogs with a 16-14 record entering conference play. Meanwhile, the Aggies have built a 28-4 record and have national ranking of 23rd in the Collegiate Baseball polls.
As of last weekend’s games the Aggies lead the nation in runs scored (12.3/g) and home runs (72) and are third in batting average (.372). The Aggies are also looking to extend their six game road winning streak which is currently tied for best in the country along with Georgia and Eastern Illinois. Fresno State is 5th in the league in batting average at .273 and is averaging 7.2 runs per game. Fresno State boasts the league’s third best ERA at 4.62.
The first weekend of WAC conference play is in the books and there are three teams tied atop the league. New Mexico State, Hawai’i and Nevada all came away from last weekend’s opening series with 3-1 records. Defending conference champion Fresno State opens league play this weekend when they host #23 New Mexico State. Preseason 2nd place pick San Jose State is 1-3 as are Louisiana Tech and Sacramento State.
The 2008 National Champions came from the most unlikely of teams in the most unlikely of conferences. The Fresno State Bulldogs’ run through the College World Series put WAC baseball back on the map after the conference had lost some of it’s luster after the many realignments caused by their football brethren. The Bulldogs’ magical run resulted in the school’s first National Championship, unprecedented publicity for the school and the conference and earned them ESPY nominations and SI.com’s Sportsman of the Year award. But that was 2008. This is 2009. Can the league built off the shot in the arm it received from Fresno State’s run? Will Fresno State win their fourth WAC title in a row or will they succumb to the bulls-eye that will be on their backs from opening day?
GAME ONE – #1 FRESNO STATE VS. #6 SACRAMENTO STATE
Fresno State defeated Sacramento State 3-2 in the first round of the WAC Baseball Championship Tournament on Thursday. The Bulldogs struck first blood in the first inning taking a 1-0 lead on a Steve Susdorf RBI single as Grand Hedstrom scored from from second. Sacramento State tied the game up in the fourth inning on a Tim Wheeler single that brought home Gabe Jacobo from second base. The Bulldogs would take the lead back in the bottom of the fourth inning scoring two runs off a Ryan Overland double as Tommy Mendonca and Alan Ahmady both scored on the play. Sacramento State would add one run to bring the Hornets to within one run but that was as close as they would get and Fresno State would hold Sacramento State scoreless over the final two innings. Continue reading WAC Baseball Tournament – Round One Recap and Round Two Preview→