Tuesday night the Spartans achieved a milestone. They won their 30th game of the season. I've always put the number 30 as a milestone for college baseball. In my book, that is the minimum number of wins that is needed to be considered a player in the run to NCAA Tournament. 35 wins is probably a better number, as winning only 31 games didn't help the Spartans last year. Losing both of their WAC Tournament games didn't help either. On Wednesday night they beat rival Santa Clara for their 31st win, the same as last year's total. They are in good shape.
Here's where I'm going with this. The regular season has 14 more games and I've started counting chickens. The WAC Tournament will add at least two more, if the team doesn't collapse and finish last, and probably more if you make it to the final game. The possibility, therefore, exists that the Spartans could, and should, win 35 and maybe even 40 games if they finish strongly. I think they can with the pitching they have. Do you agree with me on this? I've seen posts where others are thinking along the same lines. I think they should easily get five more wins. I'm not going to look at the schedule and say "there's a win, oh there are two more, hmm, should sweep them". What I am saying is that in the remaining 15 or 20 games left on the schedule the Spartans should be able to win five if not ten more. A 40 win season, a decent showing in the WAC season and one win in the tournament should get the Spartans into a regional somewhere in Texas or Alabama. Here's a breakdown of the schedule and a very conservative guess on how they might do:
|Sacramento State||Four game series||Win three of four|
|Stanford||Two games||Split for one win|
|New Mexico State||Four game series||Split for two wins|
|Nevada||Four game series||Split for two wins|
If the Spartans can do the above that will give them a total of 39 wins going into the tournament. The above series are tough in that two are on the road (Sac State and NMSU). Nevada finishes the season for the Spartans, and both teams will be remembering last year's series, when the Spartans swept the four games in stunning fashion, and ended the season on a high note. The Spartans will have to do better-than-average to make it to the NCAA Tournament. A good showing in the WAC Tournament, if not an outright championship, must happen because it is doubtful — but not out of the question — that the second place finisher will be among the chosen. Yep, the WAC gets whacked again. A final thing to remember is that Hawai'i appears to be the darling of the pollsters, and the WAC Tournament is held on their home grounds, adding to the difficulty for the second place finisher to get chosen IF Hawai'i is in the final. The Spartans cannot rest now, too much is at stake.
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Don Starks is the Baseball Editor of Inside Sparta. You may contact Don with any questions, comments, or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org
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