The University of Nevada baseball team made history Sunday at Peccole Park in Reno, becoming the first team in program history to open a season with seven consecutive victories.
The Wolf Pack (7-0 overall, 3-0 Mountain West) overturned an early three-run deficit and scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to down Fresno State, 7-4.
Nevada defeated the Bulldogs (3-4, 0-3) with a 10th inning walk-off home run on Friday and overturned a six-run deficit Saturday before Sunday’s win, earning its fourth sweep under head coach Jay Johnson. Nevada is the lone remaining undefeated team in the Mountain West.
Junior Bryce Greager hit a game-tying solo home run — his third of the season — in the seventh inning before drove in the game-winning run in the eighth with an RBI double. Freshman Cal Stevenson went 2-of-3 in his second collegiate start, scoring an insurance run in the eighth with an RBI single. Junior Adam Whitt earned his fourth save of the season, stranding two runners on base in the ninth.
“The good part about (our start) is that it’s validation of a lot of good players playing the game exactly the way we want it to be played,” said Johnson, who won his 20th game at Peccole Park as Nevada’s skipper. “There is enough talent, ability and depth to where if they do that, they’re going to be rewarded — and so far they have.”
Fresno State scored first in every game of the series, this time taking a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning as Nevada posted its third-largest comeback win of the season. The Pack’s first run of the game came on its first hit as senior Austin Byler blasted an RBI double off the center field wall in the bottom of the third.
Nevada added a run in the fifth on Kewby Meyer’s RBI single before Greager tied the game in the sixth with his second solo home run of the series. Greager, a native of Fountain Hills, Ariz., went 4-of-7 with five RBIs and four runs in the final two games of the series, improving his season batting average to .375.
The Bulldogs reclaimed the lead in the top of the seventh on an RBI sac-fly, but Nevada leveled the game in its bottom half of the inning as Stevenson scored from third on Meyer’s groundout.
A three-run eighth inning clinched Nevada’s series sweep and its best start in program history. With one out, sophomore Trenton Brooks reached on a walk and Greager hit a double to the left field wall, which scored Brooks on a fielding error after Fresno State’s left fielder miss-played the ball. Stevenson then scored Greager with an RBI single, and senior Kyle Hunt added an insurance run with a single to score senior catcher Jordan Devencenzi.
Junior Adam Whitt entered the game in the top of the ninth, making his third straight appearance in the series. The Carson City, Nev., native let two batters reach with a hit by pitch and walk, but earned two fly outs and one ground out to earn his fourth save of the season.
Junior Christian Stolo, a local product from McQueen High School, started on the mound, striking out seven batters while allowing three runs in 3.2 innings of work. Junior Zach Wilkins pitched 3.2 stellar innings in relief, surrendering just one hit while changing the momentum of the game. Junior Cameron Rowland earned his second win of the season in relief of Wilkins.
Nevada scored seven runs on eight hits, which came from six different players. Greager and Stevenson led the Pack bats with two hits apiece, while Meyer added two RBIs and Devencenzi scored two runs.
“What I liked about today was that it was a completely different game that we’ve been in at this point of the season,” said Johnson. “It took a lot of different players stepping up and rising to the occasion. I’m really proud of our guys for that.”
The Wolf Pack’s victory on Saturday matched its best start since 1994, when Nevada won 41 games and the Big West conference title. Now boasting a 7-0 record, Nevada is off to its best start in program history, which dates back to 1974 when the team began keeping game-by-game results.
The Wolf Pack took on Stanford (2-4) on Tuesday, although results were not available at press time. Following Tuesday’s game, Nevada returns to Peccole Park to host a three-game series against Pacific starting Friday.