I can't say this is the big week in the WAC. Each week has been that kind of week. Only Louisiana Tech is watching from the sidelines, as it is their bye week. No team is out of it and no team sees itself in a spoiler role. If both Fresno State and Sacramento State get swept this weekend, it will be close to over for them. I'm reasonably sure their respective coaches are trying to convince their players that one hot streak means they are back in the race. Since that is the case in the WAC, all series are important but some generate more interest than others. The San Jose State - New Mexico State series is the highlight of the week. Read on and see if you agree.
Hawai'i at Fresno State
Hawaii comes in to Fresno State with their collective egos in tatters after being schooled by Louisiana Tech in Honolulu. I don't think anyone expected Hawai'i to be swept at home by anyone, let alone Tech. In any event, it happened. What happens to Hawai'i now as they hit the road to take on the reigning champions? Reigning champions; sounds like the past doesn't it? It should. Have you seen their WAC and overall record? I'm thinking that football coach Pat Hill is breathing a little easier now that the baseball program is losing games to just about everyone, and the fans' ire is directed toward baseball. Head coach Mike Batesole is wondering where the magic has gone. The rest of the conference wishes they could catch a little of it in a bottle. I think the other WAC members figure they can catch it by beating the Bulldogs. The Mutts' pitching, hitting, and fielding have been sub par so far, and I see no reason for that to change. I think the Rainbows will take the series 3-1.
Sacramento State at Nevada
Here's a tough one to call. My opinion of Sac State is not the highest but they split the two games with San Jose State and, by all rights, should have swept the Spartans. Nevada is at the other end of the WAC standings — leading by half a game. I'm guessing this will all change by Sunday evening. The Hornets are not a good road team (1-6) and most WAC teams are strong at home. They can score runs, however, and as long as they have Tim Wheeler at bat they will be dangerous. Nevada started winning once the WAC season started and continue to remain at or near the top of the standings. I expect that to continue as they win 3-1.
San Jose State at New Mexico State
We finally we see the irresistible force meeting the immovable object in the top series of the week. This will not be a hypothetical meeting between two programs doing quite well. It will be a meeting of one team that prefers to beat their opponents senseless, and another that prefers to shut down the opponent's offense and score just enough. That's what I'm talkin' about! The perfect matchup. This is Dodgers – Giants of the ‘60s. Koufax and Drysdale against Mays, Cepeda, and McCovey. Man, those were great games which the Giants mostly lost. I'm still pissed off. Yes, pitching won. Until last weekend I would have gone with the Spartans taking the series but the starting pitching faltered so now I'm a bit worried. It took a dramatic win in Sacramento to keep the Spartans near the top. I see a 2–2 split. I wonder if the wind will be blowing out?
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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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