Falcons Open MWC Play at UNLV
Falcons Open MWC Play at UNLV
After a weekend off from competition the 4-13 Air Force baseball team renews its focus as it opens Mountain West Conference play against UNLV (5-14) from March, 18-20, at Earl E. Wilson Stadium in Las Vegas. Live stats will be available on gametracker through www.unlvrebels.com or www.airforcesports.com.
Air Force enters the weekend with a record of 4-13. The Falcons last played on March 8, getting swept in a doubleheader at Northern Colorado. In game one, AFA squandered a 4-2 lead as UNC rallied with six runs in the sixth inning to pull out a 8-4 win. In the second game a pair of four-run innings propelled the Bears to a 9-3 win over the Falcons.
The Falcons are batting .292 as a team. Sophomore Karl Bolt headlines the AFA offense with a .386 average and a conference-leading six home runs and .532 on base percentage. The Air Force pitching staff has a 9.31 earned run average led by senior righty Travis Fugler, who is 2-3 with 11 strikeouts in 20.0 innings pitched.
Head Coach Mike Hutcheon
Mike Hutcheon begins his second year as the head coach of the Falcons. Prior to his stint at the Academy, Hutcheon spent the last four years at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Ind. and compiled a record of 130-78 during his tenure there. In 2002, Hutcheon was named the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Coach of the year after leading Bethel to the 2002 NCCAA national title. Prior to his stay at Bethel, Hutcheon coached at Belhaven College in Jackson, Miss., for five seasons where he went 109-62. Through ten seasons as a head coach, Hutcheon has compiled a 249-202 record and is 10-62 at Air Force.
The Rebels of UNLV, located in Las Vegas, Nev., enter the week with a 5-14 record after taking 2-of-3 at Cal last weekend. Buddy Gouldsmith is 42-28 in his second year as the head coach for UNLV. The Rebels--the back-to-back MWC Tourney Champions--will take on 13th ranked Arizona on Tuesday and Wednesday. UNLV is batting .244 as a team, led by soph. catcher Justin Tellam, who is batting .304 with 4 homers and 7 RBI. The UNC pitching staff has an earned run average of 4.73 and are led by junior right-hander Matt Luca, who is 1-4 with 23 K's in 36.0 innings pitched with a 3.25 ERA.
UNLV leads the all-time series 48-14...last year, the two teams met 7 times, with UNLV winning all 7 of the contests...Falcons went 1-5 at Earl E. Wilson Stadium last year with the one win coming at the 04 MWC Championships over BYU...Junior right-hander Paul Vignola is a Las Vegas native, attending Green Valley HS prior to the Air Force Academy.
12 Game Road Swing Nearing End
The Falcons conclude a season-long 12 game road swing after the UNLV series. Through the first nine games, the Falcons are 1-8, having defeated Valparaiso in Bradenton, Fla., on March 4.
In 16 games played in 2005, Reid Lamson has a career-high 19 runs scored, compared to 18 runs scored in 48 games played in 2004...Geno Salazar's batting average of .362 is 104 points higher than his freshman total of .258...Karl Bolt leads the conference in homers (6) and on base percentage (.532)...Troy Jeffers is fourth among MWC freshmen with a .300 average...Matt Ghigna is fourth among MWC freshmen in runs (11) and RBI (14)...Through 17 games in 2005, the Falcons have hit 18 home runs (1.12 pg), compared to 26 hit in 55 games (0.5 pg) in 2004.
The Falcons pitched staff is averaging 1.4 fewer walks per-game in 2005 (3.4) compared to the 2004 season (4.9)...The Falcons had allowed 15 or more runs in a game four times at this point last year compared to just once this year...Paul Pratt has an ERA of 39.27 in the last inning he works and an ERA of 4.66 in the other innings...Paul Vignola retired 14 batters in a row against IPFW...Vignola also pitched a season-high seven innings and did not walk a batter...So far in 2005, the Falcon starters have logged 61 percent of the total innings pitched...In 2004, the Falcon starts accounted for 54 percent.
The Falcons are fielding .941 on the season...The Falcons have played 6 error free games through 17 games this year...At the same point last year, the Falcons had played 2 error free games and had only 8 errorless games for the entire 2004 season...Jon Polston leads the conference with eight runners thrown out attempting to steal.
Comparing The Classes
How the Falcons are doing by class so far in 2005.
Hitting H-AB Avg. R RBI 2B HR SB
Sr. 67-223 .300 52 38 14 7 12
Jr. 14-67 .209 13 9 3 0 4
So. 47-145 .324 30 29 8 10 6
Fr. 35-130 .269 21 22 10 1 5
Pitching App W-L ERA IP K BB
Sr. 5 2-3 8.55 20 11 10
Jr. 28 1-6 9.08 74.1 51 23
So. 14 0-4 12.44 29.2 16 22
Fr. 7 1-0 3.65 12.1 6 7
Pos. Player (Yr./BA/HR/RBI/SB)
1B Karl Bolt (So./.386/6/16/2) Leads team in homers and RBI
2B Geno Salazar (So./.362/2/10/1) Second on team with five doubles and .638 SLG
SS Nathan DeRohan (Sr./.266/4/12/2) Has started 72 consecutive games
3B Troy Jeffers (Fr./.300/0/6/0) Has started 13 games at third
LF Brent Tittle (Sr./.313/1/15/1) Has started all 17 games in left field
CF Reid Lamson (Sr./.390/1/5/8) Leads team with .390 average and 23 base hits
RF Matt Ghigna (Fr./.283/1/14/5) Leads team with six multi-RBI games
C Jon Polston (So./.212/1/2/3) Hit first career home run vs. Southern Utah
DH Dustin Smith (Jr./.333/0/5/0) Returned from torn ACL in '04 to go 4-for-5 in first game
Pos. Player (Yr./W-L/IP/BB/K)
P Paul Pratt (Jr./1-4/30.2/11/22) Leads team in innings and strikeouts
P Travis Fugler (Sr./2-3/20.0/10/11) Lone two-game winner for the Falcons
P Paul Vignola (Jr./0-2/18.1/2/13 Has walked just 2 batters in 18.1 innings pitched
CL Sam Rosener (Fr./1-0/12.1/7/6) Freshman leads relievers with 3.65 ERA
Bolt Named to Service Academies All-Tournament Team
Sophomore first baseman Karl Bolt was named to the 2005 Service Academies Spring Classic All-Tournament Team for his efforts this past weekend. Bolt led the Falcons by batting .375 over the weekend hitting two home runs at USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn.
Bolt's first home run of the weekend broke up a no-hit bid in the fourth inning against Memphis pitcher Stephen Gostkowski. His second home run was a monster blast that cleared the left field fence by over 40 feet against Indiana State. Bolt also had an on-base percentage of .615 for the weekend, reaching base eight times.
The two long-balls gives the Stockton, Calif., native three home runs at the tourney as he hit a grand slam a season ago against Murray state. Bolt now has a Mountain West Conference leading six home runs on the season.
Bolt, Pratt Sweep MWC Player & Pitcher of the Week Honors
Karl Bolt and Paul Pratt were named MWC Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively on Feb. 7.
Bolt was 6-for-13 (.462) with a pair of home runs, 4 runs scored and 6 RBI in a 4-game series vs. Southern Utah. He was 2-for-3 with a home run, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored in game one, 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored in game three and 2-for-4 with a home run, 2 RBI and a run scored in game four. Bolt had 3 multi-hit games, reached base 10 times in the series and had 29 putouts from the first base position.
Pratt, from Tooele, Utah, tossed a complete-game 5-hitter in Air Force's opening game vs. Southern Utah, giving the Falcons an 8-2 victory. In his first appearance since serving a two-year mission, he struck out 7 batters, while allowing 2 earned runs and 2 walks. After allowing a run in the first inning, Pratt went on to toss 5-consecutive shutout innings before giving up his second run of the game.
Up Next: San Diego State
The Falcons return home from 12 games on the road to play host to San Diego State in a Thurs.-Sat. Mountain West Conference series from March 24-26 at Falcon Field. The Thursday and Friday games begin at 2 p.m. with the Saturday game beginning at 1 p.m.
Young and inexperienced, the Falcons stumbled to a 6-49 season in 2004, finishing sixth in the Mountain West Conference with an 0-28 conference mark. The Falcons batted .285 as a team, led by freshman third baseman Karl Bolt's .349 average. The Air Force pitching staff had a steep 12.16 earned run average and were led by sophomore right-hander Clayton Couch, who led the team with a 3-7 record, 7.79 ERA and 47 K's in 71.2 innings pitched. Couch was named to the Mountain West Conference All-Tournament team for his complete game win over BYU.