Photo by Breanna Denny/ Nevada Sagebrush

By Nicole Skow

Fresno State pitcher Derick Velazquez stared Nevada’s Bryce Greager down on Saturday at Peccole Park. Just minutes prior, Nevada’s Brad Gerig hammered home his third home run of the season, a two-run blast to tie the game at eight a piece.

Velaquez let a fastball loose, but Greager was faster. In one swing, he crushed the ball, sending it high over leftfield. It was his second home run of the season and lifted Nevada to a 9-8 victory and win in the series against Fresno State. Greager made his way around the bases and was met by his teammates tackling him to the ground.

“I’m proud of (Greager),” Nevada head coach Jay Johnson said. “He made a big adjustment before the game. We got here early and worked in the cages. It was very small, and he showed a lot of aptitude as a hitter to bring it into the game that quick. I was just as excited about the missile he hit to right in the previous at bat. I felt great about that situation.”

The Wolf Pack (21-16, 13-8 MW) started the weekend with a disappointing 20-10 loss on Thursday. However, the Pack turned it around Friday and Saturday to defeat the Bulldogs.

The first game started off well, with Nevada taking an early 3-1 lead. But Fresno wouldn’t go down easy, scoring 19 unanswered runs — eight in the fourth, six in the sixth and five in the seventh inning. Johnson made changes and substituted some bench players, including Bryce Barger and Ryan Teel. The Nevada bench played a key role in closing the gap Fresno created. The Pack scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth and three runs in the ninth.

“Our bench is unbelievable,” Nevada catcher Jordan Devencenzi said. “Coming off the bench is the biggest key for our team.”

The Pack started off shaky Friday night. Fresno went up early in the top of the first, scoring five runs off starting pitcher Michael Fain.

Nevada first baseman Austin Byler wasn’t about to let Fresno run away with the game just yet. He stood at the plate in front of a crowd of 1,625 fans at Peccole Park on Friday. These were not just average fans either. Scouts from the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, Reno Aces and the MLB Scouting Bureau were all in attendance to watch him play.

With the sun setting behind Byler and his possible future at hand, he hit the first ball out of the park. He knew it was out of here, but he wasn’t quite sure if his second one would make it over the fence.

“The first one, I knew it was going to be gone,” Byler said. “That one felt really good. The second one felt really good too, but I thought it was going to hang up and go off the fence.”

Nevada took the lead in seventh, but Fresno grabbed two runs in the top of the ninth from Nevada’s relief pitcher Adam Whitt. Whitt held out for five innings and got the Pack through the 12th inning, the most innings he has ever pitched.

“I didn’t really think about how many innings I was pitching because after they tied the game, in my mind it was going inning by inning, just trying to get one out at a time,” he said.

Devencenzi walked up to the plate and looked on at Trenton Brooks and Scott Kaplan, who were on the second and first bases. The catcher delivered a single to right center field, which gave Brooks enough time to round third and make it home, sealing the victory for the Pack.

Breanna Denney /Nevada Sagebrush During Thursday’s 20-10 loss to the Bulldogs, both teams tallied a jaw-dropping 35 points.

Breanna Denney /Nevada Sagebrush
During Thursday’s 20-10 loss to the Bulldogs, both teams tallied a jaw-dropping 35 points.


“It’s a huge win for us,” Devencenzi said. “We lost big yesterday, 20-10, so coming back and winning in extras is huge for us. It’s huge momentum and our team is just jacked up, and we’re going to move it into the next game.”

The momentum did not initially carry over into the final game of the series on Saturday. It looked as if it would be a repeat of the first game, as the Bulldogs went up 8-2 going into the bottom of the eighth.

Gerig, Greager and Kyle Hunt all singled and loaded up the bases for Kewby Meyer, who then tripled to left center field to drive in three runs. As he slid to third base, Fresno committed an error, and he ran home, making the game 8-6 — still in favor of the Bulldogs. Nevada pitcher Colby Blueberg pitched a perfect top of the ninth, and the rest is history. The Wolf Pack stole the win right from underneath the Bulldogs’ noses.

“(It was an) unbelievable weekend,” Johnson said. “It’s special. You don’t get days like that very often and have two back to back. It really shows the character of our guys. They ripped their heart out, threw it on the field. They’ve been doing it every single day, but in games like that you can really see their character.”

Nicole Skow can be reached at