For the first time all season, the San Diego State Aztecs were swept. Nevada has the Aztecs number this season. The only two series losses for SDSU have come at the hands of UNR. Losses to the Wolfpack account for half of all the Aztecs’ conference defeats.
With a month left in the season, it is time to look at the standings. This season is a bit different than previous years. Due to Covid, the Mountain West decided not to hold a conference tournament. Instead, the regular-season champ will earn the conferences’ automatic big to the postseason, which makes this final stretch of games even more vital.
“Every weekend’s a regional, and that’s what we’re trying to treat it as. This is our opportunity, so it’s playoff baseball really from here on out. We can’t have any slip-ups, and so that’s kind of where we are in the program. To be rewarded at the end of the season, we have to continue to win series or outright sweep series to have that opportunity”, coach Mark Martinez said on the playoffs.
Despite Nevada’s success over SDSU, they are not the top dog in the standing. The UNLV Rebels hold the conference lead with a .611 conference winning percentage. SDSU trails at .583, and Nevada is in third with .571. With some games being canceled due to COVID protocols, there will be an imbalance in games played. The team with the highest winning percentage will likely be the champion.
If two teams with an unbalanced schedule have the same number of losses, head-to-head matches between those schools will replace winning percentage as the deciding factor. In this scenario, Aztec fans will root to be tied with UNLV and not Nevada. The Aztecs took the first series against Running Rebels and will play the second series later this month. As mentioned above, the Aztecs lost both series to the Wolf Pack and would lose the tiebreaker.
The rest of the season sets up well for SDSU to regain the top spot in the league. Their next final four series are against San Jose, UNLV, Air Force, and New Mexico. All will be road series except for the San Jose matchup this weekend. SDSU has already won a series against all four teams including a sweep of New Mexico.
The UNLV series gives the Aztecs a unique opportunity to directly take the top spot from the Rebels. UNLV had two straight series canceled before finally playing Air Force last weekend. Those lack of reps could keep them a bit rusty and mess with their timing when they play Nevada this weekend.
Nevada has UNLV, Fresno State, and San Jose State left to play. The big story for them is their two out-of-conference matchups against Arizona State and UCLA. Those contest will be needlessly difficult games in the middle of a push for the championship. How they fare in those games will be a storyline as the season comes to an end.