Nevada still in the WAC race | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada still in the WAC race

You shudder to think what great shape the Nevada baseball team would be in had it been able to garner home sweeps against Hawai’i, Fresno State and Louisiana Tech.

Nevada won the first two games in each of the three series, but failed to close the deal on Sunday each time. The latest disappointment came on Sunday when Louisiana Tech edged Nevada 3-1.

With three weekends left in the season, the WAC title is still up for grabs between four teams – Rice (13-8), Nevada (11-10), Fresno State (11-10) and Hawai’i (11-10).

The nice thing is that Nevada does control its own destiny. The Pack hosts Rice this weekend, visits fifth-place San Jose State the following weekend and then hosts Fresno State to close out the regular season.

It would seem that this is a do or die series for the Pack, but coach Gary Powers doesn’t believe that.

“We still have nine games left,” Powers said after Sunday’s loss. “We just have to hold ground. We have put ourselves within striking distance win-loss wise. We can’t let Rice get so far ahead we don’t have a chance. If we pick up a game that would be awesome.”

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“It’s still wide open,” pitcher Travis Sutton said. “We know we can beat any team in the nation. It depends on if we come to play. Anybody can take this thing.”

Rice is playing the best in the conference at the present time, and the Owls will be tough to catch.

The Owls are a team that seem to have Nevada’s number. The Pack is just 3-18 in the last 21 games against the perennial powerhouse from Houston. Included in that was a six-game sweep last year when the Pack was outscored 81-9. Nevada is 1-2 against Rice this year.

WEATHER MAKES

A DIFFERENCE

Peccole Park, without a doubt, is the toughest place in the WAC to play. The weather is a coin flip, but the wind is almost always there.

It was an uncomfortable three days for Wade Simoneaux and his Louisiana Bulldogs. The ‘Dogs had to endure cold and wind (30 miles per hour) the first two days of the series, and it rained early during Sunday’s game.

“It’s something our guys are not used to,” Simoneaux said. “The wind is blowing right in your face. I have a lot of new guys on the team that have never been here. It’s tough to adjust to the conditions here.”

WAC HONORS DUO

Fresno State first baseman Kent Sakamoto and Louisiana Tech pitcher Matt Lacy have been named the WAC Player and Pitcher of the Week.

Sakamoto, a junior, hit .455 (5 for 11) in a three-game sweep of San Jose State. He hit safely in each game, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. He had two doubles, a homer and four RBI in the three games.

Sakamoto beat out Ben Mummy of Nevada for the honor.

Lacy threw 155 pitches in his Sunday win over Nevada, snapping the Bulldogs’ 13-game losing streak against the Pack. Lacy struck out 10 and carried a shutout into the ninth inning. It was his first win of the season.

Lacy won the award over Nevada’s Tim Schoeninger, who beat Louisiana Tech last Friday with a strong eight-inning performance.

SAVERY GETS INVITE

Rice first baseman-pitcher Joe Savery received an invite to try out for the 2005 national team.

Twenty players will be selected from a pool of 36. The team will travel overseas to play a series of games over the summer. Nevada’s Brett Hayes was a member of the team last year.

Nevada fans will get a chance to see Savery up close this weekend. He is one of three freshmen selected to try out for the prestigious team.

PRIORITY SEAT TIMELINE

The University of Nevada recently announced its priority seat donation timeline for the upcoming men’s basketball season.

Last summer, the athletics department introduced the seat-related giving program in which seat locations within Lawlor Events Center are based on donation levels. All seat donations go to offset scholarship costs.

“This schedule is part of a long-term giving timeline,” said Rory Hickok, associate athletics director. “From this point forward, basketball priority seat holders can expect to receive their donation invoices at this time every year.”

The seat-related donation is on top of the price for a season ticket. Hickok said season ticket invoices will be mailed in August after seat-donation payments have been made.

n Darrell Moody can be reached at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling 881-1281

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