Mountain West Baseball Weekly Release
The Mountain West Network powered by Campus Insiders will live stream two MW baseball games this week. Over 125 MW baseball games will be live-streamed for FREE on the network. Every stream will be available on the Mountain West Network (TheMW.com) and on the institutional sites.
Mountain West action begins immediately with 2013 tournament champion San Diego State travelling to newcomer San José State for a three-game series on Feb. 14-16. The MW’s seven teams will play 30 intra-league games to determine a regular-season champion and seeding for the 2014 Mountain West Baseball Championship, May 21-25, at Earl E. Wilson Stadium in Las Vegas.
New Mexico returns 16 letterwinners from a 2013 squad that went 37-22 overall, 25-5 in MW action and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive season. The Lobos are led by NCBWA preseason third team All-American Josh Walker, a senior pitcher, along with MW preseason team selections Alex Real (Jr., C), Jared Holley (So., SS) and Chase Harris (Sr., OF). Harris is the top returning hitter for the Lobos at .321, while Real will have to fill the shoes of two-time MW Co-Player of the Year Mitch Garver behind the plate.
San Diego State (31-31, 15-15 MW) returns 23 letterwinners, including 12 pitchers from last season’s tournament champion squad. All-MW performers Tim Zier (Sr., 2B) and Greg Allen (Jr., OF) were named to the 2014 preseason All-MW team. Zier is the top returning hitter for the Aztecs at .341, while Allen was recently named preseason second team All-American by Baseball America. The publication also named the Aztecs’ top pitcher, junior Michael Cederoth, to the third team.
UNLV (37-20, 18-12 MW) had a strong 2013 campaign and returns 18 letterwinners, including preseason All-MW picks Erick Fedde (Jr., P), Patrick Armstrong (Sr., DH/1B) and Joey Armstrong (So., OF). Fedde pitched for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team over the summer. Patrick, the elder of the Armstrong brothers, is the top returning hitter in the league with a .373 average in 2013.
Fresno State (23-33, 14-16 MW) returns several key players in 2014. 2013 MW Co-Freshman of the Year Blake Quinn (So., P) returns to the mound, while All-MW third baseman Chris Mariscal (Jr.) is the Bulldogs’ top returning hitter at .300. Juniors Jordan Brink and Derick Velazquez return to the mound for Fresno State. Brink is the top returning leader in strikeouts for the Bulldogs with 65, followed by Velazquez with 52. Shortstop Jesse Medrano was named by Baseball America as the MW Preseason Freshman of the Year.
Nevada (25-32, 11-19 MW) has a new coach at the helm in 2014 as Jay Johnson takes over the Wolf Pack program following the retirement of long-time head coach Gary Powers. Johnson’s squad features 17 returning letterwinners, including a healthy Austin Byler (Jr., 1B), starting pitcher Tyler Wells (Jr.,) and closer Michael Fain (So.). Byler was hitting .346 before being sidelined with a season-ending injury. Wells is expected to lead the staff following the departure of first round draft pick Braden Shipley. Fain was one of the top relief pitchers in the league last season with nine saves.
Air Force (15-39, 7-23 MW) returns 15 letterwinners, including All-MW first baseman Seth Kline (Sr.) and senior pitcher Cameron White. Kline is the top returning hitter for the 2014 Falcon squad, while White pitched the most innings last season (107.0) of any returning hurler in the league.
Newcomer San José State (17-41, 11-17 WAC) is under the leadership of head coach Dave Nakama. The Spartans will be led in 2014 by all-league selections Andre Mercurio (Jr., OF) and Matt Carroll (Sr., 1B). Carroll is the top returning Spartan hitter by average at .314, while Mercurio led SJSU in hits with 74.