The Week in WAC Baseball

Louisiana Tech is the highlight of the week in WAC baseball. That, and San Jose State's pair of victory's against Bay Area foes are all in this edition of the Week in WAC Baseball.

Monday's Game:

Louisiana Tech 10 – Sacramento State 5

On Monday, only this game was scheduled in the WAC and La Tech continues its slow rise to respectability by winning in Sacramento, gaining a split of their four-game series. Santa Cruz freshman Alex Taku started for the Hornets, lasted 3.2 innings, and was pinned with the loss. Not a very bad outing, actually, and he was removed after having given up three runs. I think maybe the back-to-back home runs to junior Devon Dageford (19) and seionr Chris Kersten (15) had something to do with it. Kersten, by the way, would hit his second of the game later on.

Dageford and Kersten have been on their own little crusade this year as they both keep hitting dingers in keeping up with each other. I wonder if they have a bet on who hits the most this year. The Hornets then brought in Nick Buchta to relieve Taku and he did little to stem the tide. Sac State made three errors, which probably explained why five of the seven runs he gave up were unearned. Tech's Casey Jones (love that name) started and got the win by going 7.1 innings in a strong start. The Southern ‘Dogs hit five home runs in this game because that's what they do. All those homeruns and still a losing record in the WAC. In other posts I had wondered if Coach Wade Simoneaux should worry about his job. I'm beginning to think he may last as his young pitchers continue to mature.  Ah, the importance of pitching.

Wednesday's Games:

Stanford 6 – Sacramento State - 4

In one of those OOC games in which 16 pitchers made their appearance, Stanford wins by scoring all of its runs in one big inning. The Hornets were leading 4–0 and were probably feeling pretty good about themselves and getting ready to tell the WAC "Hey, look what we did" when they got ambushed in the bottom of the eighth inning. Too bad, that would have been a nice win for Sac State. Jeff Roth led the Hornets by going 3-for-4 and a RBI but the big hit was from Stanford's Brent Milleville who hit a grand slam for his only hit of the game, which tied it. Grand slams are just great for your team but a knife in the heart when they're by the opponent, and this one was definitely a dagger. An interesting aside is Stanford's third batter, Toby Gerhart, who has personally torn apart the Spartans' football team the last two years. At 6-foot-1, 235-pounds, he IS a load.
1150 fans down on the farm.

San Jose State 7 – Santa Clara 6

In yet another nail biter, the Spartans come up with a win but it took an extra inning to do it. The hero this time was freshman Josh Silver who singled home the winning run after the previous batter was walked to set up the double play. Jacob Bruns found himself back in the lineup and went 3-for-3 along with two walks and four runs scored. As we all know this is not your average OOC game as the two neighbors really want to win these games. This has been the Spartans' year for this series as they swept the three games played. Trevor Gibson gets the win as he went 2.2 innings, giving up only one run even though it was a go-ahead ninth inning run. He also walked no one, which is the stat I'm always looking for in pitching. Interesting to note that all of Santa Clara's starters got hits as they amassed 16 hits to 10 for the Spartans.Anthony Vega started for the boys in blue. He continued to struggle by giving up five runs in the first two innings and things didn't look good for the home team. Head coach Sam Piraro showed some faith as he left him in, and he responded by giving up no more runs. He did give up 10 hits in those five innings so he spent most of the evening pitching out of the stretch. He did so well earlier in the season that it's mystifying to see him look so easy to hit. Where'd he go? I guess he's a work in progress.

Thursday's Game:

Louisiana Tech 5 – Hawai'i 1

Ok, everyone, watch out. Here's where I go overboard a little for a WAC foe. Last night's (Thursday) win in Hawai'i before 2400 fans was huge for La Tech in so many ways. It helps the rest of the teams in the WAC (including the Spartans) to keep up with the leader. It showed the rest of the WAC that the southern dogs want to play too. Mostly, though, it screams, "What is up with these freshmen?" Yes, folks, the game was freshman day at Les Murakami Stadium as Jeb Stefan won his fourth game (4-5) and struck out 12. Mike Jefferson finished it off for Stefan by pitching 1.1 innings of scoreless relief. Mark Threlkeld went 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored, and three RBIs, Alex Williams had an RBI, and Kyle Roliard had an RBI. Freshmen all. I'm sure La Tech head coach Wade Simoneaux is smiling.

Hawaii's Kolten Wong was held hitless as the Rainbow's marvelous centerfielder had his 16-game hitting streak ended. The rest of the Rainbow's lineup could only muster five hits spread throughout the lineup. Hawai'i's starter, Jayson Kramer, pitched a good game by going nine innings, striking out four, and walking none but it was not enough. Tech's Stefan has to be the story here. In winning this game he did it in dominating fashion by striking out 12 and walking only one — similar to Ryan Shopshire's dominating performance against Fresno State a few days ago. We'll see what the rest of the weekend provides, but so far, Jeb Stefan has my vote for WAC Pitcher of the Week. Welcome to May, the end is in sight, and so begins the stretch run.



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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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