San Jose State vs. UC Santa Barbara
After midweek games against Pacific and St. Mary's (more on those two games elsewhere) San Jose State has a bye-bye week, if you will, in that they travel to play out-of-conference foe UC Santa Barbara. The Gauchos play in the very tough Big West and are 19-10 overall and 5-4 in the Big West.
Common foes have been many: UCSB is 1-0 against Bakersfield, 1-0 versus Hawai'i, 3-1 against St. Mary's, 1-2 with Northridge, 2-1 against Pacific, and now they host the Spartans. Their offense is led by junior Ryan Cavan, who is batting .362; Los Gatos junior Marty Mullins hitting .358; senior Brian Gump at .339 with five home runs; as well as senior Eric Oliver at .316 with six HRs. They have two outstanding pitchers in junior Joe Gardner (5-0 with a 3.14 ERA) from Ohlone College and sophomore Mario Hollands (4-2 and 3.86).
Gardner would have been a good signing for the Spartans but they were not in need of a starter. It will be interesting to see who the starting pitchers will be for Coach Piraro in a series that really doesn't mean much now that the WAC season is well under way. Of course you want to win but don't wear out key players and let others who haven't seen much action see some time. Remember that Fresno is in town the weekend after this.
My call is that a 2-2 split with the Gauchos would be acceptable and expected.
Fresno State vs Louisiana Tech
Dog fight in Ruston! Sorry, but Michael Vick is unavailable. I think this is where La Tech might get rid of some frustration by at least splitting the series with the Valley mutts. I know, I'm going out on a limb here but I think that heart-breaking last loss against the Spartans might spur them to beat up on FSU, but I'm sure Fresno State is chomping at the bit to face that pitching.
My call is one can only hope for a 2-2 split.
New Mexico State vs Nevada
The Aggies take on the Conference leader Wolfpack in Reno. In my estimation this is the premier series of the week in the WAC. Nevada is leading but it is still unknown how good they really are, and New Mexico State is still trying to convince everyone/anyone that they are, indeed, a top team. NMSU should have swept Fresno State in Fresno, but ended up splitting the series by taking the finale 10-6. How will they do against Nevada?
My call is a 2-2 split in an exciting series
Sacramento State vs Hawai'i
This one is at Hawaii. It'll be interesting to see if Sac State can hit on the Island. They've pretty much hit everywhere, but their pitching woes have been going on all year. It would be fun to see Tim Wheeler hit 10 more home runs and get more national notice. Baseballamerica.com has Wheeler listed as a Major League prospect because of his home run production.
My call: 3-1 to Hawai'i
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Don Starks is the Baseball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Don with any questions, comments, or tips at email@example.com
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