WAC Baseball - Midweek notes

Coming off their impressive series sweep against Louisiana Tech, the San Jose State baseball team may have had the proverbial letdown on Tuesday against the University of the Pacific. Inside Sparta takes a mid-week look at that game, and the rest of the WAC baseball race.

University of the Pacific 7 - San Jose State 5

This one would have been a good spring training game if this were the bigs. However, it was a midweek game for two teams in the midst of their conference seasons. That means we have to play but I'm not wearing out important pitchers and we both have plenty of arms that need some innings (I'm reading coaches' minds). Pacific threw seven with only two getting at least two innings - the other five one each. The Spartans threw two freshmen and a Junior College transfer that haven't seen a lot of action. The freshmen got knocked around a bit but not horribly which was a good sign.

Freshman Esteban Guzman started and went two innings, giving up three hits but a not-too-good four walks. Rustiness and inexperience cost him. Freshman Andy Hennessey followed for three innings of work and got whacked pretty good. I'm thinking arm strength is an issue here since it may be the same one that was injured last year. Now, the bright spot. JC transfer Eric LeBaron pitched four strong innings in giving up no runs and only three hits. Nice, very nice. We'll see if that opens up a spot for middle relief in the future. Hitting highlights? Anthony Bona continues as one of the WAC stars as a freshman - going 3 for 4. Danny Stienstra goes 3-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Corey Valine pitched in with with a solid 3-5 also with a double. For Pacific, Livermore's Brian Martin (sophomore) went 3-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. 353 fans were in attendance, and I'm wondering if it was as windy there as it was in my backyard.

You know what has been a very pleasant surprise this year? The overall hitting. Solid starting pitching was expected but I think the hitting is really making the Spartans a very solid club.

New Mexico State 10 - Fresno State 6

The Aggies pulled this one out in the last two innings - scoring five runs after falling behind 6-5 going into the top of the eighth. The Mutts' freshman Josh Poytress got handed the loss in relief but it appears that he was not helped much by the guys who followed. Of the eight outs Poytress recorded, four were by strikeout and he walked only one. His two runs allowed were unearned so the one error Fresno State made was a costly one. Fresno has some problems with pitching and they better get it repaired fast. They can't split at home and expect to be the recognized power in the conference. With the recognition the WAC gets (none, in all sports) they may be left out in the cold if they finish poorly AND don't do well in the WAC tournament.

Oh, hitting? Fresno had a measly four hits but two of them were home runs by junior Tom Mendonca who knocked in three of the six runs they scored. That ties him as the FSU home run king so one more and he will be the all-time leader. Pretty impressive and a worthwhile reason to come out and see the FSU - SJSU series coming up the weekend of April 24-26. He was the hitting highlight. Fresno coach Mike Batesole commented that last year the turnaround game that made for a 3-1 series win instead of a 2-2 split were the games they won last year but aren't this year. New Mexico State had pitching in this one. Sebastien Vendette (5 - 1) started and won the game with good relief by Jake Wilson, who recorded his second save. Folks, I think the Aggies are for real. They are 30-6 overall against some questionable opponents but are winning WAC games against good teams. Will anyone bring them to earth? Just short of 2000 saw this game.

University of San Francisco 12 - Sacramento State 7

Another game of little consequence. USF played everyone. The Hornets played a more consistent lineup, but brought in others as the game wore on. Same old story - the Hornets' pitching got hammered. Santa Cruz freshman Alex Taku started and did well, going two innings giving up no runs, but things started to sour as the next three relievers did poorly.

Brian Filice finished up and did well - two innings and no runs. Sac State threw five pitchers and the Dons threw eight, with starter Cameron Love getting the bulk of the work with three innings and no runs allowed. The Hornets were down 12-1 entering the eighth when they scored six to make it close for the 114 who were there in Sacramento.

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Don Starks is the Baseball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Don with any questions, comments, or tips at don@insidesparta.com

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