Fresno run rules Nevada in elimination game
Fresno ended Nevada’s season abruptly on Friday afternoon in the Mountain West Tournament hosted by regular season champ, New Mexico.
The Bulldogs routed the Wolf Pack 15-5 in a game that was called after seven innings due to tournament mercy rule regulations. It was the second-straight game Fresno knocked around Nevada, cruising in the team’s last meeting of the regular season (April 23 at Fresno), 27-5.
Nevada finished the year with a 19-36 mark and took fourth in both the regular season and postseason. The Mountain West coaches picked Nevada to finish third in the preseason.
Already leading 6-0 in the fifth, Fresno broke it open in the fifth with a Jake Stone grand slam. The Bulldogs added two more runs in the inning to extend the difference to double digits.
Reed alum Mark Nowaczewski was roughed up for the second straight outing – both in Albuquerque. In his first appearance since getting named first team all Mountain West, Nowaczewski didn’t make it out of the fifth inning. He allowed 10 runs on 11 hits over 4.1 innings.
The redshirt junior entered the tournament ranked No. 1 in the MW in innings pitched (95) and fourth in ERA (4.17). He has one more year of eligibility, but may not return for a senior campaign. Nowaczewski was drafted in the 27th round by the Boston Red Sox out of high school and certainly grabbed scout’s attention over the spring.
The draft will be held June 12-14.
Nevada scored all five of its runs in the sixth inning – three coming on a Grant Fennell three-run shot to left. It was the junior utility player from San Diego’s fifth career bomb.
Third-seeded Fresno (33-24) will play the loser between No. 1 New Mexico (30-25-1) and No. 2 San Diego State (39-18) on Saturday at 1 p.m. for a spot in the title game four hours later. The ‘if necessary’ game would be played Sunday.
To graduation, Nevada loses one starting pitcher (Trevor Charpie), one position player (shortstop Justin Bridgeman), and one key reliever (Evan McMahan).
New Mexico 7, Nevada 2
Cleanup hitter Mike Echavia put Nevada up 2-0 in the top of the first with a two-out home run to left. That is all the Pack would muster against Tyler Stevens.
New Mexico’s ace allowed just five more hits after the first inning and picked up the complete-game victory in a 7-2 decision in Thursday’s first-round contest. He struck out eight and walked two.
The Lobos scored three times in the fourth to erase Nevada’s early 2-0 advantage. A pair of sac flies preceded a go-ahead RBI double. New Mexico added a single run in the fifth and three more in the seventh to put it away.
Charpie took the loss for Nevada. He went seven innings, allowing seven runs (all earned) on eight hits while fanning five and walking three.
Freshman first baseman Dillan Shrum went 2-for-3 and was hit by a pitch. He was the lone Pack player with more than one hit.