Nevada used five straight hits to plate five runs in the fourth inning and defeat New Mexico, 9-2, Sunday afternoon at Peccole Park. The 28th-ranked Wolf Pack (15-4, 7-2) claimed the rubber match against the Lobos (11-6, 5-4) to win the series and remain in first place in the Mountain West.
The Wolf Pack hit for 28 total bases, it's second-highest of the season, on nine extra base hits and 15 hits overall to rout the Lobos. Junior RHP Michael Fain improved to 2-0, allowing two runs and six hits in five innings of work. Senior Austin Byler and junior Ryan Howell – batting No. 2 and 3 in the lineup – each had three hits and three RBI to lead Nevada.
Nevada – who improved to 9-1 at home - has now opened the season with five straight three-game series victories. New Mexico won game one before Nevada won, 3-1, Saturday. The Pack out-hit the Lobos 15-8 to claim game three and the series. The Pack posted a 2.00 cumulative ERA on the series while limiting one of the league's top offenses to six runs in three days.
“For our pitching staff to hold that offense to six runs in three games in this park with these conditions is spectacular,” said head coach Jay Johnson. “Rowland battled Friday. Deitrich, Romero and Whitt were great yesterday and Fain and Stolo were outstanding today.”
Batting lead-off for the first time in his collegiate career, freshman Cal Stevenson opened the game with an 0-2 single up the middle. Howell, who leads the MW in RBI, drove in Stevenson with a triple to right center as Nevada took a 1-0 lead and improved to 9-1 when scoring in the first inning.
On a 1-1 count in the third inning, Byler hit a hit his second home run of the series over the left field fence. The preseason All-American has six home runs on the season and 32 in his career.
The Lobos tied the game in the top of the fourth inning when Corey Voss homered and Andre Vigil hit an RBI-double.
The Wolf Pack responded in a big way in its half of the fourth as its first five batters scored. Senior Kyle Hunt and Stevenson drew walks to lead off the inning before the Pack recorded five straight hits. Byler hit an RBI-double, Howell hit a two-RBI single and senior Kewby Meyer hit a two-RBI double. Nevada plated five runs on five hits to seize momentum and never look back.
Byler tallied his third RBI of the game with a double to score Stevenson in the seventh. Nevada tacked on another insurance run in the eighth when freshman Jordan Pearce singled to score Brooks and hand Nevada a 9-2 lead.
Fain, a 6-foot-6 righty from Clovis, Calif., pitched into the sixth inning in his longest and most efficient outing of the season. The junior allowed two runs on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 5.0 innings of work. Fain improved to 2-0 on the mound.
Junior Christian Stolo pitched four stellar innings in relief to earn his first save of the season. The local product allowed just two hits in four scoreless innings of work, lowering his ERA from 4.15 to 3.38 on the season.
All nine of Nevada's starters tallied a hit while Stevenson (2-of-3), Byler (3-of-5), Howell (3-of-5) and Brooks (2-of-4) recorded multi-hit games. The Wolf Pack plated nine runs with nine RBI and 15 hits. The Lobos scored two runs on eight hits while using seven pitchers in the loss.
The Wolf Pack will return to action on Tuesday, meeting Sacramento State (10-7) for a mid-week game. Action will get underway at Raley Field at 6:35 p.m. PT. Raley Field is the home of the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats. Nevada will play five games in five days, meeting the Hornets before hosting Cincinnati (5-11) for a four-game series at Peccole Park.