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Baseball: An early outlook on 2013 MWC season

By | February 15, 2013 | Sports (4)

The Fresno State baseball team makes its Mountain West Conference debut this season after winning the Western Athletic Conference Tournament last season and advancing to the NCAA Stanford Regional.

This season, the Bulldogs will host its five Mountain West schools (Nevada, New Mexico, Boise State, San Diego State, UNLV and Air Force) in a three-game series, as well as playing another series on the road.

Here is an early outlook on the league’s teams.

Air Force

Last Season: (14-39, 5-19 MWC)

Key Player: Senior infielder Mathew Roberts. Last season, Roberts made 30 starts at second base, and was third on the team with 68 assists and second with 18 double plays turned.

Update: The Falcons are older this season, with nine seniors on the roster.

Nevada 

Last Season: (32-25, 11-7 WAC)

Key Player: Senior outfielder Brooks Klein. In 2012, Klein led the team in hitting with a .335 batting average, helping him earn All-WAC honors.

Update: The Wolf Pack was picked to finish third in the conference by a preseason coaches’ poll – on spot ahead of Fresno State. The Wolf Pack and the Bulldogs continue their old rivalry the weekend of March 28 at Nevada.

New Mexico

Last Season: (37-24, 19-6 MWC)

Key Player: Senior catcher Mitchell Garver and junior infielder DJ Peterson. Both players split Mountain West Player of the Year honors.

Update: The Lobos are the preseason favorites to win the Mountain West and defend their title. New Mexico also returns All-Mountain West performers Alex Allbritton, Josh Melendez and Josh Walker – as well as Freshman All-American outfielder Ryan Padilla.

San Diego State

Last Season: (26-34, 12-12 MWC)

Key Player: Junior infielder Tim Zier. A starter on second base, Zier also occasionally played at left field for the Aztecs. During the 2012 season, Zier had a 21-game hitting streak.

Update: The Aztecs return 24 players from last season’s squad. This season, San Diego State, and its experienced group, were tabbed to finish second in the Mountain West standings.

UNLV

Last Season: (26-31, 7-17 MWC)

Key Player: Senior outfielder Brandon Bayardi. The senior led the Rebels in hitting last season with a .361 batting average.

Update: The Rebels will also have some big talent on the mound this season with All-Mountain West performers Erick Fedde and Zack Hartman returning. Fresno State and the Rebels will face off the weekend of April 5 at Beiden Field.

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