The Nevada baseball team erupted for 25 runs on 27 hits to send the top seed packing, routing Fresno State, 25-6, on Friday evening at Santa Ana Star Field in a Mountain West Championship elimination game.
Head coach T.J. Bruce and Nevada (36-23) survived two elimination games on Friday, defeating sixth-seeded San Diego State by a 5-3 margin before returning to the diamond to run-rule top-seeded Fresno State. Nevada will return to action at noon PT on Saturday, meeting the loser of tonight’s game between No. 2 New Mexico and No. 5 Air Force. If Nevada wins that game, they’d go on to play the first MW Championship finals game at 4 p.m.
Nevada’s 27 hits set a new Mountain West tournament record while its 25 runs were tied for second and were the most in the tournament since 2010. Nevada’s 25 runs also ranked tied for 11th in program history. Junior Justin Bridgman and sophomore Jordan Pearce each went 5-of-6 at the plate, which ranks tied for the second-most hits individually in MW Tournament history.
The Wolf Pack scored seven runs in the second frame and 12 runs in the eighth inning to run-rule the regular season champions. Nevada’s 25 runs were the most Fresno State has allowed in a single game since 1999. Nevada did all this despite meeting MW Co-Pitcher of the Year Jimmy Lambert, who was relieved in the third inning for his shortest outing of the season.
Bridgman tallied five hits, four RBI and two runs while Pearce added five hits, four runs and two RBI. Sophomore Cole Krzmarzick went 4-of-5 with three runs and three RBI. Senior Bryce Greager had three hits and three runs, senior Justin Hazard added two hits, three RBI and two runs, and junior Trenton Brooks went 2-of-4 with three RBI and two runs. Redshirt freshman Keaton Smith hit his second career home run and went 2-of-5 with three RBI and four runs.
Senior RHP Sam Held made his fourth start of the season and logged 4.2 innings, finishing just one out shy of being eligible to claim the win. Held allowed six runs on 11 hits with one strikeout. Junior RHP Evan McMahan pitched 2.1 scoreless innings and took the win in relief to improve to 5-1. Junior LHP Anthony Martine closed out the eighth inning to cap Nevada’s win.
Fresno State scored two runs in the top of the first inning before Nevada roared back with seven runs in the bottom of the second inning. Brooks opened the hit-show with a leadoff home run to right field for his fourth home run of the season. Pearce singled to left field and Krzmarzick scored on an error by the left fielder to tie the game. Nevada took the lead as Hazard hit an RBI single to right field. With two outs, Bridgman hit a two-RBI double to the corner and Brooks followed with a two-RBI single. Nevada sent 12 batters the plate in the inning.
After the Bulldogs scored one run in the bottom second, the Wolf Pack kept its offense rolling with two runs on two hits in the top third to open a 9-3 lead while chasing Lambert. Friedl hit an RBI sacrifice fly to the warning track and Bridgman followed with an RBI single up the middle.
Fresno State trimmed the deficit to 9-6 with one run in the fourth inning and two runs in the fifth. Nevada reclaimed the momentum with one run in the sixth inning and three in the seventh to lead, 13-6. Krzmarzick hit an RBI sac fly in the sixth frame. The Pack scored three runs in the seventh as Hazard hit an RBI sac fly, Smith hit a solo home run for his second career homer and Mastrobuoni hit an RBI single to left field.
Nevada then blew the doors open with an incredible eighth inning, scoring 12 runs on 11 hits while sending 17 batters to the plate. The Pack had hit streaks of four and seven in the frame. Nevada loaded the bases on no outs before Hazard opened the scoring with an RBI single. Friedl then cleared the bases with a three-RBI double before scoring on Bridgman’s RBI double. Nevada drew two walks to load the bases again before Krzmarzick, Pearce and Smith hit three straight two-RBI doubles. Friedl capped the damage with an RBI single.
The Wolf Pack will be playing for a trip to the MW Championship finals game, which would be its first MW tournament finals appearance in program history. Nevada and either UNM or Air Force will meet at noon in an elimination game before the winner advances to the finals. Every game will be streamed live on the MW Network, powered by Campus Insiders.
Nevada Press Release