This Week in WAC Baseball - May 15
FRESNO STATE’S WISE AND HAWAI‘I’S SISTO NAMED VERIZON WAC BASEBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Sacramento State catcher Derrick Chung and Fresno State pitcher Tyler Linehan have been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Baseball Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for May 7-13.
Chung, a senior from Cypress, Calif. (Artesia HS), hit .529 (9-for-17) with four runs scored, a double, a home run, five RBI and two walks as the Hornets went 4-0 on the week with a win over Saint Mary’s and a three-game series sweep of Hawai‘i. Chung recorded a .765 slugging percentage with a .524 on-base percentage last week. The senior did not make an error while recording 33 putouts and four assists. Tied 1-1 against Saint Mary’s in the bottom of the 10th inning, Chung hit a sacrifice fly to center to drive in teammate Andrew Ayers from third to give Sacramento State the 2-1 victory over the Gaels. Chung notched his second walk-off hit of the week with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning of the series opener against Hawai‘i, knocking a single to left field that drove in the game-winning run.
Linehan, a sophomore from Sacramento, Calif. (Sheldon HS), earned a complete game win in Fresno State’s 12-2 road win at New Mexico State. Linehan struck out eight batters and allowed just two earned runs in the 9.0 innings of work. The game marked Linehan’s first complete game victory of his career.
The other hitter of the week nominations: Fresno State senior designated hitter Kenneth Wise … Hawai‘i senior third baseman Collin Bennett … Nevada freshman first baseman Kewby Meyer … New Mexico State junior infielder Robert Lecount.
The other pitcher of the week nominations: Hawai‘i senior Matt Sisto … Nevada sophomore Bradey Shipley … New Mexico State senior Scott Coffman.
WAC REGULAR SEASON RACE COMES DOWN TO FINAL WEEKEND
The 2012 WAC regular season championship is on the line this week as a number of teams are still in contention for the coveted trophy. Teams are also fighting to improve their seeds for next week’s WAC tournament this week. With a number of possibilities still remaining and possible numerous ties, below is the WAC’s tie-breaking procedures.
TIE BREAKING PROCEDURES
 The winner of the head-to-head competition involving all tied teams is the higher seed.
 If a tie still remains, the team with the best winning percentage against the highest finishing team(s) that all tied teams have played the same amount of times shall receive the higher seed.
 If a tie still remains, the team with the best winning percentage against the highest finishing team(s) that the tied teams have played at the same site the same number of times shall receive the higher seed.
 If a tie still remains, the team with the best winning percentage in conference road games played shall receive the higher seed.
 If a tie still remains, the team with the best winning percentage against the highest finishing team(s) regardless of the number of times the teams have played shall receive the higher seed.
 If a tie still remains, the Conference office shall conduct a draw. The drawn team shall receive the higher seed.
NEVADA RECEIVING VOTES IN NATIONAL POLL
For the first time this season Nevada is receiving votes in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. The Wolf Pack received two votes in this week’s poll.
WAC TEAMS AMONG NATIONAL STAT LEADERS
Teams from the WAC rank in the top-10 nationally in 12 different statistical team categories. Individually, WAC players rank in the top-10 in three categories. As a team, New Mexico State leads the nation in walks with 302. Individually, New Mexico State’s Tanner Waite leads the nation with 60 walks this season. He also rank first nationally in walks per game at 1.20.
WAC RPI REMAINS AT NO. 9 THIS WEEK
According to WarrenNolan.com, the WAC’s league RPI comes in a No. 9 this week, the same as last week. The WAC is sandwiched between the Southern Conference at No. 8 and the Atlantic Sun Conference at No. 10. New Mexico State holds the WAC’s highest team RPI at No. 32. The WAC currently has four teams with 87 or better RPI ratings.
2012 WAC TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO MESA’S HOHOKAM STADIUM
After succesful 2010 and 2011 tournaments, the WAC baseball tournament will return to Mesa, Arizona this May. The event will be played at Mesa’s Hohokam Stadium, the Chicago Cubs Spring Training home. The City of Mesa, Mesa Convention & Visitors Bureau and Phoenix Regional Sports Commission worked in tandem to secure the event for a third-straight season, which features Hawai‘i, Fresno State, Louisiana Tech, Sacramento State, Nevada, New Mexico State and San Jose State. The City of Mesa will once again host the double-elimination tournament with the winner earning the WAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The top six teams from the WAC’s regular season standings will advance to the tournament. The WAC Baseball Tournament is no stranger to the state of Arizona and the City of Mesa. The league’s championship has been played in Arizona 11 times (1963, 65, 67, 69, 71, 73, 75, 76, 78, 2010 and 2011) and the event was held in Mesa in 1971, 1973, 2010 and 2011.
WAC COACHES SETTING MILESTONE VICTORY MARKS
The WAC hosts some of the most successful coaches in NCAA history. San Jose State head coach Sam Piraro won his 800th game this past weekend. He becomes one of only 28 active head baseball coaches with 800 or more wins. Piraro is in his 25th season with San Jose State. Nevada head coach Gary Powers becomes one of only 21 acrive head baseball coaches with 900 or more victories as he picked up win No. 900 on April 17. Powers is in his 30th season with Nevada. Fresno State head coach Mike Batesole picked up his 600th career victory on April 17. Batesole is in his 17th season as a head coach.
SJSU’S PIRARO PICKS UP 800TH CAREER VICTORY
The April 14th doubleheader sweep of Fresno State brought numerous milestones to the San Jose State baseball team, though none bigger than Head Coach Sam Piraro’s 800th career victory. San Jose State defeated Fresno State 4-0 in the first game of the doubleheader, then beat them 4-3 in the nightcap. Piraro becomes the 28th active head coach in NCAA Division I baseball to earn his 800th career win, and the third this season, following Southern University (La.)’s Roger Cador and North Carolina State University’s Elliot Avent.
NEVADA’S POWERS WINS 900TH CAREER GAME
Nevada’s 10-5 victory over San Francisco on April 17 was the 900th for Wolf Pack head coach Gary Powers. All of Powers 900 wins have come in his 30 seasons directing the Nevada baseball program. His 900 victories ranks 21st among active NCAA I coaches.
FRESNO STATE’S BATESOLE TALLIES 600TH CAREER WIN
Down to its final three outs and trailing by two, the resilience of the Fresno State baseball team powered the Bulldogs to a thrilling 5-3 comeback road victory over the Cal Poly Mustangs on April 17 for head coach Mike Batesole’s 600th career win.
WAC TEAM-BY-TEAM NOTES
Fresno State Bulldogs (23-24, 6-9 WAC)
Fresno State won its second straight WAC in winning two of three games at New Mexico State and outscored the Aggies 27-11 over the three game set ... the Bulldogs also outhit the Aggies 38-26, had a 25-9 edge in RBI and 55-40 advantage in total bases ... Fresno State did not commit an error in all 30 innings played last week to extend its errorless-inning streak to 38 ... the Fresno State pitching staff struck out 31 Aggie batters while the Bulldog hitters only struck out 20 times ... in the past nine games, the Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 77-39 and hit .340 as a team ... Aaron Judge has reached base safely in the last 15 games ... Fresno State must win two of its last three games or finish ahead of SJSU to qualify for the 2012 WAC Tournament.
Hawai‘i Rainbows (28-22, 8-7 WAC)
Hawai‘i went 0-3 last week in a three-game series at Sacramento State ... the Rainbows dropped the three games by scores of 7-6, 10-3 and 10-2 ... Collin Bennett led the Rainbow attack at the plate, hitting .417 with five hits, three runs scored, five RBI and a walk ... Pi’ikea Kitamura hit .385 at the plate with five hits, one run scored, two doubles and a pair of RBI over the three games ... Max Duval hit .333 with four hits, one run, two RBI and walk ... Matt Sisto went 6.0 innings on the mound with two strikouts ... this week, Hawai‘i wraps up WAC regular season play at home against league leader Nevada for a three-game series that begins on Thursday ...
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (23-23, 6-9 WAC)
Louisiana Tech was scheduled to play at Northwestern State last week but was unable to play the game due to a blown transformer behind the right field wall at Brown-Stroud Field in Natchitoches, La. ... the Bulldogs are currently riding a five-game win streak after sweeping a three-game series against San Jose State and taking two-out-of-three from Hawai’i the week before last ... Tech returns to action on Tuesday, May 15 as the Bulldogs travel to Little Rock to face nationally-ranked Arkansas ... LA Tech closes out WAC regular season play at Fresno State in a three-game series that starts on Friday.
Nevada Wolf Pack (30-21, 10-5 WAC)
Nevada went 4-0 last week with a 9-8 non-conference win over UC Davis at home and three-game series sweep at home against San Jose State ... the Wolf Pack took down the Spartans by scores of 4-1, 5-4 and 4-2 ... Kewby Meyer hit .562 (9-for-16) with four runs scored, two doubles and five RBI ... Meyer collected hits in all four games and mulitple hits in three of the games ... Meyer’s on base percentage was .556 and had a .688 slugging percentage starting all four games at first base ... Bradey Shipley pitched the first complete game of his career allowing one run on six hits as Nevada defeated San Jose State 4-1 on Friday ... Nevada wraps up its regular season slate with a three-game series at Hawaii that starts on Thursday.
New Mexico State Aggies (31-19, 8-7 WAC)
New Mexico State went 1-2 last week in a three-game series at home against Fresno State ... NMSU dropped the first game of the series to the Bulldogs 12-2 ... the Aggies then picked up a win in game two 2-1 before dropping game three 14-7 ... Robert Lecount led the Aggies at the plate during the three-game series, hitting .308 with four hits, three runs scored, three home runs, seven RBI and one walk ... Scott Coffman pitched 4.2 innings without giving up a single run in his win on the mound ... Coffman also tallied five strikouts and only gave up a single hit in his outing ... the Aggies wrap up regular season play this week as the team travels to play at New Mexico, at CSU Bakersfield and then three games at San Jose State.
Sacramento State Hornets (29-23, 11-7 WAC)
Sacramento State took all three games from Hawai’i for its first conference sweep since 2008, also against Hawai’i at home ... in fact, the Hornets have won 11 of their last 12 games against the Rainbows at home ... the Hornets had five players hit .400 or better in four games last week, including Derrick Chung and Clay Cederquist hitting over .500 ... Sacramento State also played its first extra innings games of the season this week, coming in back-to-back games against Saint Mary’s and Hawai’i ... the Hornets won both, beating the Gaels 2-1 in 10 innings, and the Rainbows 7-6 in 12 innings ... the Hornets clinched their first bid to the WAC Tournament since 2008 and could finish anywhere from first to third depending on this week’s games.
San Jose State Spartans (21-25, 5-10 WAC)
The Spartans went 0-3 at Nevada in a three-game set last week ... the Spartans lost by scores of 4-1, 5-4 and 4-2 ... Tyler Christian led the Spartans at the plate with a .444 batting average ... Christian tallied four hits, one run, one double, one home run and three RBI ... Ricky Acosta hit .400 during the three-game series with four hits, one run and two RBI ... Andre Mercurio hit .364 with four hits, one run scored and a walk ... this week, San Jose State wraps up regular season play with a pair of non-conference games at home against UC Davis on Tuesday before hosting New Mexico State in a three-game WAC series.