Errors cost Wolf Pack in tourney opener
LAS VEGAS – The No. 5 Fresno State Bulldogs defeated the No. 4-seeded Nevada Wolf Pack 4-3 on Wednesday night at Earl E. Wilson Stadium to close out day one of the 2014 Mountain West Conference Championship.
Both starting pitchers went six innings as Fresno State junior Jordan Brink (5-3) picked up the win while giving up just six hits and one earned run to pick up his fifth victory of the year.
Nevada right-handed freshman pitcher Mark Nowaczewski (1-2) also had a solid outing after giving up just two hits and no earned runs in six innings in just his third start of the year. The Wolf Pack defense struggled, committing four errors on the night as the Nevada bullpen, which included Carson High graduate Adam Whitt, combined to give up five more hits, but no earned runs.
With a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning, Fresno State’s designated hitter Kevin Viers scored on a Manny Argomaniz groundout that gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead. The lead was extended in the top of the eighth inning with a Jake Alvarez infield RBI single to score sophomore catcher Taylor Ward from third.
Viers finished the evening going 1-for-4 and a game-high three runs scored. Alvarez finished 1-for-3 from the plate and had one RBI to go along with a strong defensive effort in the field at shortstop.
“We have experience up our middle infield right now and we are leaving it out there for the team,” Alvarez said. “I am just trying to get the barrel on the ball for my team right now. Winning this game was big and we are really confident heading into tomorrow.”
The Wolf Pack (28-26) did not go down without a fight in the bottom of the ninth as they scored two runs to cut the Fresno State lead.
Nevada junior first basemen Austin Byler hit an RBI single to left field to score shortstop Kyle Hunt before senior right fielder Brad Gerig dropped in another RBI single just over the head of Bulldog junior third basemen Manny Argomaniz to make it 4-3.
Byler went 1-for-5 with one RBI in the game and Gerig finished 1-of-4 offensively for the Wolf Pack.
Nevada got on the board in the sixth when senior second baseman Scott Kaplan ripped an RBI double to right center that allowed senior third baseman Bryce Barger to score from first base.
Today’s action begins with an elimination game between No. 7 San José State and No. 4 Nevada at 11 a.m. At 3 p.m., No. 2 New Mexico will face No. 3 San Diego State, followed by No. 5 Fresno State (28-27) and No. 1 seed UNLV (33-21) at 7 p.m.