by Eric Uribe

SDStateColor

  1. San Diego State

Head coach: Mark Martinez (first year)

2014 season: 42-21 (17-13 MW)

The skinny: Pro wrestling legend Ric Flair once said, “To be the man, you got to beat the man” and that applies to the MWC Tournament champions, who have reached the NCAA Regional Tournament the past two seasons. The main storyline with the program is new skipper Mark Martinez, who follows the legendary Tony Gwynn after his death last June. Following Gwynn’s legacy will be anything but easy, but with a plethora of talent and nine years of assistant coach experience with the Aztecs, Martinez will have tons to work with.

Series against Nevada: April 17-20 (away)

nevada

  1. Nevada

Head coach: Jay Johnson (second year)

2014 season: 31-27 (15-15 MW)

The skinny: A season ago the Wolf Pack took a giant step forward and pushed the eventual champion Aztecs to the brink during the MW Tournament semifinals. Second-year coach Jay Johnson has all the ingredients to push Nevada even further this season. The return of first baseman Austin Byler is huge. The Washington Nationals draftee has big-league power that’s rare in college baseball and has all the makings for a MWC Player of the Year-caliber campaign. Moreover, the Wolf Pack will host the conference tournament this year and the home-field advantage could be a difference-maker.

NewMexico

  1. New Mexico

Head coach: Ray Birmingham (eighth year)

2014 season: 37-20-1 (20-10-0 MW)

The skinny: When one thinks of MWC baseball, the Lobos come to the mind. The defending regular-season conference champions have been a steady constant the past seven years, finishing either first or second six of those years. New Mexico’s strength lies in their pitching with an upperclassmen and left-handed heaving starting rotation, along with the conference’s strongest lineup. The Lobos deep and grizzled pitching rotation is only strengthened by a pitcher-friendly Lobo Field compounded with the thin Albuquerque air.

Series against Nevada: March 13-15 (home) and May 1-3 (away)

UNLV color

  1. UNLV

Head coach: Tim Chambers (fifth year)

2014 season: 36-25 (20-10 MW)

Series against Nevada: March 6-8 (away) and April 2-4 (home)

fresno_state

5. Fresno State

Head coach: Mike Batesole (13th season)

2014 season: 28-29 (13-17 MW)

Series against Nevada: Feb. 20-22 (home) and April 10-12 (away)

AF logo blue [Converted]

  1. Air Force

Head coach: Mike Kazlausky (fifth year)

2014 season: 20-34 (10-20 MW)

Series against Nevada: May 14-16 (home)

san_jose_state

  1. San Jose State

Head coach: Dave Nakama (third year)

2014 season: 19-38 (10-20 MW)

Series against Nevada: March 27-29 (away) and April 24-26 (home)

Eric Uribe can be reached at euribe@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @Uribe_Eric.