After losing two of three to San Jose State over the weekend, the chances of Nevada baseball coach Gary Powers reaching 700 wins are slim.
With Fresno State coming in for a season-ending three-game series this weekend, Powers sits at 697 wins, thus needing a sweep to reach the hallowed mark. Nevada is 23-27 overall and 12-14 in conference play.
When the season started, reaching 700 seemed to be a foregone conclusion because only once (2002) has Nevada not won 26 games in the last 10 years, which is what Powers needed this year.
With no chance for the playoffs, the Wolf Pack players should be thinking about a sweep and ending their season on a positive note. Getting to 700 is probably well down on Powers' list. He would just like to see his team play well, which it hasn't done often this year.
HOOP SPLIT IN ITALY
For those of you Nevada basketball fans wondering how the team has fared in Italy, you'll be happy to know that the Pack evened their record at 1-1 with an 84-79 win over Gorizia, a B-2 team.
Nick Fazekas led all scorers with 26 points, and he also pulled down 16 rebounds. Fazekas gave Nevada the lead for good when he hit an 8-foot floater with 1:29 left in the contest. Nevada finished the game with a 7-2 run.
Senior swingman Mo Charlo also played well, scoring 18 points and pulling down five rebounds. Marcelus Kemp also reached double figures, scoring 11 points.
For a total of six or seven minutes, Fox played Kyle Shiloh, Ramon Sessions and Lyndale Burleson at the same time. That could be an effective group, especially if Nevada wants to press a team or speed the game up. Conversely, teams would be hard-pressed to press the Pack with that trio in the game.
Nevada opened the trip with an 87-79 loss to Casal Pusterlengo, a team from Italy's B-1 League.
The game was tied at 60 after three quarters, but Nevada fell behind by as many as 10 with 1:03 left and never recovered. Fazekas led the Pack with 21 points and Kyle Shiloh added 14.
For those of you who want to follow the Pack, go to nevadawolfpack.com and click on the Italy basketball box. You will get to read a daily diary and get recaps from any games played.
Nevada's third game of the tour was scheduled for Tuesday night. The team will play five games, returning home on May 29.
WAC ANNOUNCES TV SCHEDULE
The Western Athletic Conference will have eight of its games televised this season highlighted by the season-opening game between USC and Hawai'i on Sept. 3 which will be shown on ESPN or ESPN2.
Nevada's game against Washington State on Sept. 9 also will be shown. The kickoff time has yet to be determined.
Fresno State is on three times, and league champ Boise State and Hawai'i will be on twice.
The Bulldogs host Toledo Sept. 27 on ESPN2 at 6 p.m., hosts Boise State on Thursday Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. on ESPN and hosts Louisiana Tech Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. Boise State hosts Bowling Green Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. and will travel to Fresno State on Nov. 10. Hawai'i's other TV game is against Wisconsin Nov. 25.
CHAMPIONSHIP SITES STILL UP IN AIR
Conference officials have yet to determine where next year's conference baseball and softball tournaments will be played.
"The bids are still coming in for baseball," said Dave Chaffin, assistant commissioner for media relations. "There has been a lot of talk with all the schools."
Chaffin said that the baseball issue may not be decided until June or July after the next conference meeting.
With Sacramento State and New Mexico State coming into the conference next year, the WAC will have a seven-team conference. Schools will not play each team six times a year like they do now. The present format was scrapped in favor of a conference tournament.
Chaffin said he didn't know what schools had submitted bids. The only stipulation for hosting the tournament is that the stadium must have lights.
The most logical choices would be Fresno State, San Jose State, Nevada (if it gets lights) and Sacramento State. The latter bid would hinge on whether the Hornets could get the local Triple-A stadium. Fresno State's Beiden Field has hosted many regional playoffs over the years. San Jose State also plays in a minor league stadium. Hawai'i would obviously be a great site, but that would force five teams to fly there, whereas if you played in the Bay Area only two or three would have to fly in.
On the softball side, the bids have been turned in, and the tourney appears headed for either Fresno State or New Mexico State.
WAC GOLF SNAFU
They don't call it the whacky WAC for nothing.
The WAC recently held its men's golf championship at a country club near Louisiana Tech University, and it ended in bizarre fashion.
Tulsa and SMU, both departing members of the WAC, tied for the championship after regulation play. The coaches decided to call it a co-title. Not so fast said WAC officlals.
Conference bylaws state that the teams play an extra hole to decide a winner. If it is still tied after one hole, you play a second.
Two of Tulsa's players hit and then the coach got everybody on the van so they could catch their flight. SMU was awarded the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Regionals.
The move certainly caught WAC officials by surprise.
"We didn't know there could be a problem until after they teed off in the last round," Chaffin said. "I'm not sure why they couldn't have caught a later flight."
You have to wonder why the team couldn't have just driven to the tournament, or flown into Dallas instead of Monroe. It's approximately a seven-hour drive from Tulsa to Ruston, which isn't that bad in a van. Also, Dallas would have many more flights going out later in the day than the tiny airport in Monroe.
I feel sorry for the athletes, who were screwed by their own school out of a chance to win a conference title and go to the NCAA regionals.
HAYES A SEMIFINALIST
Nevada catcher Brett Hayes is one of 10 semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award which is given to the top college catcher in the nation.
The versatile Hayes, who played four positions in one game earlier this year, is hitting well over .300 this season. He is certain to be leaving Nevada for pro baseball at the end of the year.
The other catchers on the list are Andrew Butera of Central Florida; Jeff Clement, USC; Greg Dini, Tulane; Tuffy Gosewisch, Arizona State; Nick Hundley, Arizona; Jeff Kunkel, Michigan; Caleb Moore, East Tennessee State; Taylor Teagarden, Texas; and Sean Richardson, Kansas.
The winner will be announced June 29 in Wichita, and Bench will present the award to the recipient.