Nevada Sweeps Fresno State in a Statement Series
Yes, I'd call the sweep a statement. Yes, I know the Pack was at home which means a lot in baseball. Yes, I figured that they might come back to earth as the Bulldogs would teach them some humility. Well, that didn't happen. I don't ordinarily talk about a single series like I am with this one but I figure it warrants this report.
The Wolf Pack had stirred a little interest (including mine) at the beginning of the year as they returned a veteran group of players some of which were very good (think Austin Byler). They then go out and sweep Abilene Christian which elicited no response and rightfully so. They then go to beautiful Lubbock, Texas and hand Texas Tech a serious loss which woke up some folks. Yeah, well, we'll see what happens when a good Fresno State team comes to town. Yes, we did. Fresno State had swept a good UC Irvine team which was a premier win for the program as well as the MWC. They lose a midweek game to an even better Cal Poly (no shame) and then on to Nevada for a showdown between two teams thinking they should be included in talk of potential league champions.
The first game was an exciting extra-inning affair that the Pack took 9-8 on the strength of a 10th inning home run by Austin Byler. He'll be doing a lot of that this year. Fresno State had put a seven spot up in the top of the fifth to go ahead 7-1 and things looked rosy. But Nevada continued to peck away to go into extra innings and win. Stars in the game were Taylor Ward (one hit, three RBI's) and Jess Medrano (one hit, two RBI's) for the Bulldogs. Byler and Trenton Brooks both had home runs for the Pack. Adam Whitt (1-0) got the win in relief and did well and FSU's Jake Shull (0-1) had a good outing except for the ill-fated home run in the tenth. Good game.
Game two was pretty much a rout as Nevada won 12-7 on only nine hits. Bryce Greager had a home run with four RBI's to lead the way. Kyle Hunt also had a home run for the home team. Taylor Ward hit a grand slam and continues to show the nation that he deserves his pre-season AA status. Adam Whitt was given a save in, what I think, was not a save situation but, no matter. Pitching was not the issue in this game; scoring was.
The final game was decided in the later innings as both starters did well but didn't figure in the final score of 7-4. Bryce Greager hit another home run in a pinch hit role to tie the score at three. Adam Whitt pitched the ninth to get his fourth save. He's a weapon.
What does all this say? It says the Bulldogs will be thinking about this the next time these two play so the show is not over. The mutts need to re-focus as they play USC (8-0 against less than stellar opposition other than Fullerton) next and hope to tag a loss on a Pac 12 team. That's always tough to do but these two programs have always had it in for each other. Nevada heads west a bit to take on an excellent Stanford (3-4 against tough teams mostly) team. Both games may be let-down games as they get over the weekend games. Nevada should get some recognition in the "others getting votes" category. You start there and move up. This is a veteran team and this must be their year as they won't be around next year.