Photo by Alexa Solis /Nevada Sagebrush

By Brandon Fuhs

Nevada swept San Diego State this weekend, increasing its current winning streak to six games and improving to 18-14 (10-7 MW). Over the six-game hot streak, the Wolf Pack has outscored its opponents 45-19 while averaging more than 11 hits a game.

Barry Timko took the mound for Nevada on Friday and earned his fourth win of the season. During the six innings he pitched, he allowed two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out two.

Nevada took the lead in the third inning after Kyle Hunt hit a solo shot with two out. After Timko allowed none in the top of the fourth, Austin Byler took the first pitch he saw of the inning to deep right center to make the game 2-0. Nevada added another run in the inning, after a two-out single by Trenton Brooks and a walk to Jordan Dunatov set up Scott Kaplan for the RBI single to take a three-run lead. Kewby Meyer made it 4-0 in the fifth with a bomb to left-center after Timko had another excellent shutdown inning.

Timko took the mound in the seventh inning, but was pulled after a leadoff walk followed by an RBI double. Colby Blueberg came in and got out of the inning only allowing Timko’s runner to score to maintain a two-point lead. That score stuck as Adam Whitt earned his seventh save of the season as Nevada took a 1-0 lead in the series.

Michael Fain dominated the second game as Nevada cruised to an 8-0 win over SDSU. Nevada jumped all over the Aztecs early, forcing SDSU starting pitcher Cody Thompson out of the game after allowing five runs while only getting one out in the inning. Nevada batted around the lineup in the first inning, with RBIs from Meyer, Jordan Devencenzi, Brad Gerig, Brooks and Kaplan.

Fain controlled the plate all day, striking out six Aztecs over 7.2 innings pitched, while scattering five hits and not walking a single batter. Fain lowered his ERA to 2.38 after the impressive start Saturday, the lowest among starters on the team. Fain earned his fourth win of the season, and second over the six-game win streak.

“I hope I’ve had a big impact,” Fain said. “It helps knowing the guys behind have confidence in you when you’re on the mound.”

Fain’s dominant performance and the Wolf Pack’s fifth win in a row gave them all the momentum heading in the final game of the series, but head coach Jay Johnson said the team’s mindset never changes no matter what the scenario.

“When we walk into the locker room tomorrow, it’s like we’re 0-0,” Johnson said. “Lately we’ve been focusing more on what it takes to win rather than worrying about records or opponents.”

Although the team’s focus is on their play rather than their opponents, a sweep of SDSU on Sunday would move Nevada up to third in the Mountain West, tied with the Aztecs.

Jason Deitrich took the mound for the final game of the series, and had excelled during the six innings he pitched, giving up two runs on six hits. Nevada’s offense was the dominating force Sunday, as they jumped on the Aztecs early on again, scoring three runs in the second and two in the third.

The Aztecs scored in the top of the fourth to make it 5-1, but a four-run fifth inning for the Wolf Pack gave Nevada control of the game. The Wolf Pack put up another two runs in the seventh to take a 11-2 lead. The Aztecs scored two unearned runs in the eighth, as the bullpen took care of business and locked up the 11-4 victory and the conference sweep. The pitching for Nevada has been the most consistent part of its game, but the offense has been the major reason for its recent success.

Coach Johnson mentioned Byler and Brooks made minor adjustments to their swings in recent weeks, all improving their numbers over the last six. Brooks has become one of the hottest hitters on the team, but Byler has been rolling during the six-game win streak. Byler is 10-23 with eight RBIs, nine runs, and a home run, and believes it has helped the team excel over the past week and a half.

“I’ve been coming in early to work with coaches for the past two weeks, making some adjustments to simplify my swing,” Byler said. “I think it’s helped a lot and not just with me. I think when I’m doing well other teammates feed off it. There’s a lot of energy out there between all of us.”

The Wolf Pack looks to stay hot as they take on San Francisco Tuesday and host Fresno State for three games this week. With the bats they have shown lately, Johnson says they can beat anyone.

“We’ve only had one game this season that wasn’t close, and lately we’ve been playing a lot better so we’ve been winning those games.” Johnson said. “Our mentality of one game at a time has been working, so we’re sticking to it.”

Brandon Fuhs can be reached at