How is the WAC at the halfway point?

How does the WAC look nearly halfway through the season? There is no outright leader separating itself from the rest, and no dead wood at the bottom. Only 3.5 games separate first from last in a very balanced conference. Inside Sparta looks at the conference at the half-way point.

How does the WAC look nearly halfway through the season? There is no outright leader separating itself from the rest, and no dead wood at the bottom. Only 3.5 games separate first from last in a very balanced conference, which keeps interest high even if no one other than Hawaii and Fresno fans go to the games. If Fresno continues to hold the league on its shoulders, I suspect attendance will start to dip even more before long.

New Mexico State leads in hitting at .361, which is no surprise. The Aggies have an astounding 95 home runs, which is 22 more than Louisiana Tech. The Southern ‘Dogs looked like a serious long-ball team when I saw them a few weeks ago in San Jose. San Jose State is second at a great .326 but they only have 22 home runs — by far the lowest in the WAC. Quit chewing your nails, as it gets much better for the Spartans. The last place team in hitting is Fresno at .268, which is the most surprising to me. However, the Mutt fans are fully aware of this disturbing stat.

Team pitching is San Jose's strength, as we all know, and the stats prove it. Team ERA is 4.14 — which is one run better than the No. 2 team (Fresno). The stat that really jumps out at me is hits allowed. The Spartans' pitchers have allowed 355 hits. The next closest is Sacramento State at 428, which came as a surprise. How is it their pitching is not so good but they don't give up many hits? It might be because the Spartans lead by so much, then the rest of the teams are all bunched up but way behind.

Individually, the leading hitter is NMSU's Leo Aguirre at .421. Jacob Bruns has dropped behind a bit to sixth at .402. The top four hitters in the WAC are all from NMSU; again no surprise. NMSU's Bryan Marquez has 70 RBIs. I'm wondering if he'll get to 100 by season's end. He also leads the home run chase with 19. LaTech's Devon Dageford is second with 18.

Pitching is all San Jose. Dave Berner at 2.47, Scott Sobczak at 2.64, and Ryan Shopshire with a 2.64 are 1-2-3 in the WAC for ERA. Max Peterson has dropped a bit due to his rough outing over the weekend and is now at 3.91, which is good enough for eighth place. Berner also leads the WAC in strikeouts at 69 in 80 innings and Shopshire is a surprising second with 56 Ks in 47 innings. That big day he had Saturday certainly helped.

As a final comment the WAC has no team in the top 25 according to Baseball America's most recent poll. When you have a conference where everyone beats up on everyone and there is no clear leader, AND your conference gets no respect in any sport, this is an expected result. Hawaii is the dropout in that they split their series with NMSUm and got whacked in the two losses. There you have it. Go Spartans.



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

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