For the Fresno State baseball team, the math is both simple and complicated, one before the other.
For the Bulldogs to snag a spot in the Mountain West Conference Tournament they must first sweep a final three-game series against UNLV beginning Thursday night at Beiden Field, which is not implausible. The Rebels come in having lost eight of their past 12 games. But if the Bulldogs do sweep UNLV, they still need help from Air Force or San Jose State to make the tournament.
“Just lock in and get ready to go and come ready to play,” coach Mike Batesole said after the Bulldogs salvaged the last of a three-game nonconference series with Hawaii last weekend.
Entering the final week of the regular season Nevada is in first place in the Mountain West at 18-8 and San Diego State is in second at 17-10; the Wolf Pack and Aztecs end the regular season with three games in Reno.
UNLV and San Jose State are 13-14 in conference play, Air Force is 12-14 and the Bulldogs are 11-16.
Only the top four gain spots in the conference tournament, so while the Bulldogs are trying to take down UNLV, their postseason scenarios come down to a three-game series in San Jose between the Spartans and the Falcons.
▪ Air Force sweep – Bulldogs are in
▪ Air Force wins 2 – Bulldogs are out
▪ Air Force wins 1 or none – Bulldogs are in
Mountain West teams have played a different number of games due to weather postponements and cancellations.
The Bulldogs (28-23 overall) have won only three Mountain West series this season including two against last-place New Mexico – they are 5-1 against the Lobos.
In taking on UNLV, their pitching will be critical.
Fresno State has allowed two runs or less in five of its past nine home games, but the Rebels enter the final series leading the Mountain West in batting (.316), slugging percentage (.499), on-base percentage (.393) and home runs (62).