This Week in WAC Baseball - Feb. 21
Fresno State Bulldogs (2-0, 0-0 WAC)
The Bulldogs started the season out with wins over Gonzaga and Oregon State ... the Dogs beat the Zags 10-4 on opening night and then edged the Beavers 2-1 on Sunday ... Fresno State concludes opening weekend against Oregon State on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ... the ‘Dogs hit .274 in two games with 17 hits and two home runs ... the pitching staff had a stellar weekend allowing only five runs and recording an ERA of 2.50 ... Fresno State struck out 23 batters with Gonzalez leading the way with eight ... both Charlie Robertson and J.D. Salles earned saves over the weekend ... Chris Mallory hit .750 with three hits in four at-bats and two RBIs ... next weekend the Dogs host Pepperdine at Beiden Field.
Hawai‘i Rainbows (2-1, 0-0 WAC)
Hawai‘i went 2-1 in a three-game series against 12th-ranked Oregon ... UH won the opener 4-3 before taking the second game 11-10 ... Oregon then won the series finale 4-0 ... in each the first two games, UH trailed in the eighth inning before coming back to claim a one-run victory in each game ... Zack Swasey had three hits and two RBI in UH’s comeback win against Oregon on Saturday Swasey finished the week with four hits, one run, one triple and a pair of RBI on the week ... David Peterson also had four hits on the week in just seven at bats ... Peterson also had a pair of RBI ... Blair Walters picked up a pair of wins on the mound, going 2.2 innings in two appearances with one striketout ... as a team, UH batted .371 through the three games.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (3-0, 0-0 WAC)
Tech has now won nine-straight games at J.C. Love Field which is the longest such streak since Tech won nine games from April 5 to May 14 during the 2009 season … six freshman saw action on the weekend … Jeb Stefan made his first appearance since March 12, 2010 at New Mexico ... the win was the sixth of Stefan’s career and the first in a starting role since April 30, 2009 at Hawai’i ... Mark Threlkeld’s home run marked the first time at Tech player has hit a home run in consecutive games since Devon Dageford accomplished the feat against Sacramento State last season … Mike Jefferson picked off three runners against Nicholls State … The three pickoffs marked the first time that a Tech pitcher had accomplished the feat since 1997.
Nevada Wolf Pack (0-3, 0-0 WAC)
Nevada opened the season with a 0-3 record, falling to UC Irvine in all three matchups ... the Wolf Pack dropped the first game 17-4, the second 15-3 and the finale, 7-1 ... Nevada hit two home runs this weekend, both coming off the bat of Brian Barnett … Jake Schu, Anthony Rosa, Hugo Hernandez, Cody Collins, Curtis Frisbie, Loren Gardner-Young, Braden Shipley, Jacob Overbay, Matt Gardner, Sean Prihar, Troy Marks, Mark Joukoff, and Tim Culligan all made their Nevada debuts … first baseman Hugo Hernandez faced his brother Brian who pitched the ninth inning of game three for UC Irvine … Nevada heads to LMU next weekend for three games vs. the Lions starting on Friday.
NM State Aggies (3-0, 0-0 WAC)
The Aggies opened with a series sweep over Houston Baptist ... NMSU won the series opener 9-6, claimed victory in game two 13-11 and then won the finale 9-1 ... after three games, New Mexico State leads the conference with a .383 batting average ... the Aggies also lead the WAC in slugging percentage (.626), on-base percentage (.469), runs scored (31), hits (41), RBI (29), doubles (7) and home runs (5) ... sophomore Parker Hipp helped the Aggies to a season-opening sweep over Houston Baptist as he was 6-for-11 at the dish with six RBI and five runs scored ... junior left-hand pitcher Trey Ross posted a 1.35 ERA to earn his first Aggie win ... this week, NM State travels to play New Mexico before returning home to host Buffalo in a four-game set.
Sacramento State Hornets (1-1, 0-0 WAC)
Sacramento State went 1-1 at UC Davis, winning the first game 4-3 before dropping the second game 1-0 ...Derek Goodwin led the Hornets at the plate, collecting two hits, one double and three RBI ... Derrick Chung led Sacramento State with two runs scored over the two games ... Chung addded an RBI ... Tanner Mendonca led the Hornets on the mound, picking up a victory in 6.0 innings of work ... Sam Kuykendall was impressive on the mound, going 5.1 innings while giving up only three hits and no runs ... this week, Sacramento State will host UC Davis on Monday and Saint Mary’s on Tuesday before welcoming UC Riverside for a three-game set which will begin on Friday.
SJSU Spartans (1-0, 0-0 WAC)
An RBI double in the fifth inning by Craig Hertler proved to be the game winning hit in a 5-1 win for the Spartans over the Gaels of Saint Mary’s College in each teams opening game of 2011, and its lone game of the week ... after being rained out on both Friday in San Jose and Saturday in Moraga, Calif., the teams finally got on the field on Sunday at San Jose Municipal Stadium ... Roberto Padilla, who came on in relief of starter Blake McFarland, earned the win ... he went 4.1 innings allowing two hits and striking out six to earn his first major college victory ... McFarland pitched 4.2 innings, scattered four hits and one run while striking out five ... The teams will play on Monday, February 21 at Louis Gusto Field in Moraga, Calif., to make up for the postponed game from Saturday ... first pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.
NEW MEXICO STATE’S HIPP NAMED WAC HITTER OF THE WEEK
New Mexico State second baseman Parker Hipp has been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Baseball Hitter of the Week for February 14-20.
Hipp, a sophomore from San Diego, Calif. (Cathedral Catholic HS), helped the Aggies to a season-opening three-game sweep against Houston Baptist. Hipp went 6-for-11 (.545) at the plate with six RBI and five runs scored. On the weekend, he posted two doubles, a triple and a home run to go along with a 1.182 slugging percentage. He also got on base with three walks and was hit by a pitch once for a .667 on-base percentage. Defensively, Hipp tallied a perfect fielding percentage with five putouts and five assists, while getting in on two double plays.
The other hitter of the week nominations: Fresno State senior Garrett Weber … Hawai‘i junior Zack Swasey … Louisiana Tech senior Joey Ford … Nevada junior Garrett Yrigoyen … San Jose State junior Michael DiRocco.
FRESNO STATE’S GONZALEZ NAMED WAC PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Fresno State pitcher Greg Gonzalez has been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Baseball Pitcher of the Week for February 14-20.
Gonzalez, a senior from San Bruno, Calif. (Skyline CC), silenced the Oregon State bats as he held the Beavers scoreless through six innings. He tallied eight strikeouts while allowing only two hits and one run in seven innings of work. On two occasions, Gonzalez struck out batters on three pitches.
The other pitcher of the week nominations : Louisiana Tech sophomore Trevor Petersen … New Mexico State junior Trey Ross … San Jose State junior Roberto Padilla.
WAC TEAMS ENJOY SUCCESSFUL OPENING WEEKEND
Teams in the WAC went a combined 12-5 on opening weekend. Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State each opened the season with 3-0 marks, while Fresno State registered a 2-0 record. The weather was also a winner during opening weekend as five games were either postponed or cancelled due to rain.
FRESNO STATE PICKED BY COACHES
Fresno State has been selected as the favorite to win the 2011 WAC regular season baseball crown in a vote by the league’s seven head coaches. Fresno State received 32 points and four first place votes after a 38-25 season last year. The Bulldogs have won the WAC regular season title four out of the past five seasons. Hawai‘i, last year’s WAC Tournament champion, ranked second with 30 points and two first place votes. UH was followed by Nevada with 25, San Jose State with 24, New Mexico State with 16 points, Louisiana Tech with 14, and Sacramento State with six.
2011 PRESEASON ALL-WAC TEAM SELECTED
The coaches avoted on a preseason all-WAC team with Fresno State leading the way as it placed seven players on the team. Hawai‘i junior second baseman Kolten Wong was named the preseason player of the year, while San Jose State senior Blake McFarland was picked the preseason pitcher of the year.
2011 WAC TOURNAMENT RETURNS TO MESA’S HOHOKAM STADIUM
After a succesful 2010 tournament, 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 second-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.