Photo by Alexa Solis/Nevada Sagebrush

By Chris Boline

As former professional wrestling superstar Ric Flair once said, “To be the man, you got to beat the man.”

After last week’s sweep of San Diego State and Santa Clara at home, it would seem the Wolf Pack has started to take some notes out of the Nature Boy’s book. While the Broncos are now a pedestrian 14- 21 on the year, the Aztecs were jostling with New Mexico for Mountain West supremacy prior to last week. However, Nevada had other plans when it faced off with SDSU. The Wolf Pack soundly swept the Aztecs by a combined score of 23-6 and took over sole possession of third place in the Mountain West.

While Nevada will still have to face the pesky San Francisco Dons squad on the road, the Wolf Pack will square off with Fresno State inside of the friendly confines of Peccole Park (Nevada is 11-2 on the season at home).


If there is any other incentive to demolish the Dons on the road, it should be that Nevada can extend its current six-game winning streak (which is already the longest winning streak since the 2010s began) to catch up to rival UNLV (conference mark of 13-5).

While USF has had trouble in the month of April (the Dons are 3-5 as of April 13) they do feature a handful of capable hitters and pitchers. USF’s three best hitters are a trio of juniors: Bradley Zimmer, Derek Atkinson and Brendan Hendriks. Zimmer has been hammering the ball on the year by leading the Dons in batting average (.417), runs (32), triples (four) and home runs (seven). Atkinson is second to Zimmer in batting average (.350) and leads the team in RBIs (28). Hendriks meanwhile leads the team in doubles (14) and has the second best slugging percentage on the squad (.489).

On the mound, redshirt senior Houston Hibberd is the star for the Dons. While Hibberd is not in the starting rotation, he leads the team in wins (4-1) and has the lowest ERA of any pitcher with over 27 innings pitched (1.95).


While Fresno State is currently on a three-game losing streak after getting swept by New Mexico in Albuquerque, it should still not be dealt with lightly.

The Bulldogs were swept early on in the season by the Wolf Pack with a combined total of 20-13, but since then, they have notched wins over Penn State, California and even swept then No. 18 Texas A&M at home. That being said, the Bulldogs do have a rather lackluster record away from the central valley (5-10).

Fresno State’s pitching staff will be leaned on heavily against the Wolf Pack, as it should be. The Bulldogs allow less runs than Nevada (3.31 to 3.42) and yield a lower batting average (.247 to .256). Junior Jordan Brink (see “Difference Maker” below) will be critical in Fresno State’s endeavor to halt the Wolf Pack’s winning ways.

In the batter’s box, another Jordan has been tearing it up for the Bulldogs this year. Jordan Luplow has been pacing Fresno State in batting average (.353), home runs (seven) and also stolen bases (seven). Stifling the double J’s will be critical in Nevada keeping up the pace in its MWC ascent.

Chris Boline can be reached at