RENO — It was anything but a good Friday for the Nevada Wolf Pack.
The Fresno State Bulldogs turned back the Wolf Pack 4-0 in front of 611 fans, handing Nevada its first shutout at Peccole Park in nearly two years.
“We didn’t make any adjustments at the plate from the night before, that‘s for sure,” Wolf Pack coach Gary Powers said. “We were up there swinging at a lot of bad pitches.”
It was the first shutout at home suffered by the Pack since a 4-0 loss to Hawaii on May 7, 2011. The last time the Pack was shut out on the road was last May 17 (2-0) at Hawaii.
The Wolf Pack left eight runners on base. Cleanup hitter Austin Byler, who leads the Wolf Pack with 28 RBI, left six of the runners on base, four in scoring position.
“He’s driven in a lot of runs for us this year,” Powers said. “But sometimes when you know your teammates are looking to you to drive those runs in, you go up there and think you have to do it, no matter where the pitch is thrown.”
The game was a struggle for the Pack at the plate and on the mound. Starter Tyler Wells labored through his 4.2 innings, allowing six hits and walking five.
“It was a battle,” Wells said. “I just came out flat. I didn’t have my fastball at all and I couldn’t locate anything.”
Wells, though, carried a shutout into the fifth inning. He left a Bulldog runner on second base in the first inning and stranded runners on second and third in the second and fourth innings. Despite his struggles, the sophomore left-hander left the game trailing just 3-0 as Fresno State scored three times in the fifth inning on two doubles and two singles.
Carson High graduate Colby Blueberg was outstanding in relief, tossing a career-high 3.2 innings. Blueberg, a sophomore, allowed just one hit and one unearned run while striking out four.
“I felt awesome out there,” Blueberg said. “It was kind of strange because I was a little worried warming up in the bullpen. I was all over the place.”
and even put two pitches out on the field. I just thought, ‘Oh, no, if Coach Powers sees I just put two pitches on the field he’s not going to put me out there.’”
Blueberg, though, was the best thing Powers put on the field Friday night. He retired the first six Fresno hitters he faced and the only run he allowed came on a wild throw by catcher Ryan Teel. He fanned the first hitter he saw in the ninth before Powers took him out of the game.
“Coach Powers just told me, ‘Go out there and get the first guy and that will be it,’” Blueberg said. “I struck that guy out and that‘s a good feeling when you can leave a game like that.”
Blueberg struck out one hitter in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
“I’m getting a lot more confident with my slider,” Blueberg said. “I can throw it to get ahead of hitters now or to strike people out. When I throw it, I know they are going to swing right through it 85 per cent of the time. ”
Blueberg, who has now appeared in a dozen games this year, lowered his earned run average to 3.77 with Friday’s performance. He also has 16 strikeouts in 16.2 innings.
“He pitched great,” Powers said. “He didn’t walk anybody and he did a real nice job. We’re going to need that type of performance down the road.”
The Wolf Pack and Bulldogs (6-17, 2-4) will decide their three-game series with a 1 p.m. game on Saturday at Peccole Park.