The Nevada baseball team is saving its best for last.
The Wolf Pack, which started 1-4 in Mountain West play, swept San Jose State at Peccole Park over the weekend and has now strung together nine-straight wins to join the MW regular-season title conversation.
Nevada (27-20, 16-8) trails just New Mexico (32-18, 17-7) and Fresno State (32-17, 19-8) atop the Mountain West. Even if the Pack isn’t able to catch both teams, it would secure a first round bye in the MW Tournament (May 25-29 in Albuquerque) if it can pass one of them and finish second.
Reed grad Mark Nowaczewski is part of the reason for Nevada’s late success. The righty reliever, who is overcoming an arm injury that forced him to miss last season, picked up two wins and save last week. He threw 8.1 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits.
As one local sports writer predicted, the Reed product was named the Mountain West Pitcher of the Week on Monday afternoon.
Reed grad Nowaczewski ends big week with W in relief. He has to be MW POW front runner: 2 Ws, 1 SV, 8.1 IP, 0 runs. https://t.co/t48VDcqSpv
— Nathan Shoup (@Trib_Shoup) May 9, 2016
— Wolf Pack Baseball (@NevadaBaseball) May 9, 2016
Nowaczewski is 3-1 this season with a 5.03 ERA over 34 innings in 16 appearances—the third most on the team.
Nowaczewski and Nevada will look to win 10 straight, which it hasn’t done since 1997, on Tuesday when it hosts San Francisco (18-30) at 4 p.m. The Pack then goes to New Mexico for a pivotal three-game set starting on Friday.
Bold (kind of) prediction for DI North baseball tourney
The DI North baseball regional tournament is scheduled to starts Tuesday.
The biggest question entering is ‘can anyone beat Galena?’
Yes. Also, no.
The Grizzlies have only fallen twice to DI North teams. They were upended in their first league game of the year, 7-5, at Douglas. Considering the Tigers didn’t even qualify for the postseason, the result is among the most perplexing of the season.
Galena was also bested at Reno, 4-2, on April 16.
Other than that, it’s been a smooth ride through DI North play for the league champs.
The DI North tournament places an emphasis on pitching depth. Not many local teams are known for their abundance of bullpen arms. So then it becomes a hitting contest. Who can put up the most runs?
No team in the tournament is better equipped to put up a ton of runs than Galena, which averaged nearly 8.5 runs a game.
My boldish(ish) prediction is that the league champ will win the regional tournament. This ‘ish’ is the most important part of that statement.
Bold (kind of) prediction for DI North softball tourney
Is Reed going to win again?
The defending state champions are the clear favorites to win what would be their fourth straight regional title this weekend at Bishop Manogue.
Spanish Springs, Reno and Bishop Manogue are the leading suspects to upend the Raiders. McQueen also won at Reed last week in what was the upset of the season only for the Raiders to roll in a mercy-rule-shortened contest three days later.
Julia Jensen threw a no-no, hit three home runs and drove in eight as the Raiders got their revenge.
It looks like the Tigers went and poked the bear. Now the bear is mad. Just in time for the playoffs.
“Thanks guys,” said the rest of the DI North, probably.
My prediction with bold qualities? The Raiders will win the DI North tournament. Again. And they’ll do it without dropping a game.
Nathan can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org