Photo by Breanna Denney / Nevada Sagebrush

By Chris Boline

To continue the tradition of using professional wrestling catchphrases for the weekly baseball preview, all you have to know is “Yes!”

After receiving a 10-run shellacking at the hands of Fresno State in the opening game of the series last week, Nevada seemed poised to regress in its ascent to the peak of the Mountain West. However, two one-run victories over the scrappy Bulldogs showed that the Wolf Pack could play gutsy when it needed to, just like current WWE world heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan. Bryan’s signature catchphrase could also be attributed to the upcoming line-up for the Wolf Pack. While Nevada has struggled a bit playing away from Peccole Park (the Pack holds a record of 7-12 on the road) it will be facing the runt of the Pac-12 litter in the University of Utah this upcoming week.

Unlike past weeks, the Wolf Pack will have to face two teams for a combined five games on the week. Nevada has not had a four-game series since mid-March when it squared off with Hawaii and split the series 2-2. While Utah has struggled on the season, it still has Pac-12 talent, which the Wolf Pack have not faced this season. But before Nevada squares up with Utah, it must still deal with San Francisco.


Following a defeat at the hands of San Francisco last week, the Dons will head to Peccole Park to play Nevada at home. San Francisco snapped the Pack’s six-game winning streak with an emphatic shutout in the bay last week, 7-0. In that game, the Dons’ Sheldon Lee went seven strong innings and struck out 10 Nevada batters on the day. Shortstop Nico Girratano was 2-5 with two RBI’s on the day.

The biggest difference between this week and last week is of course location: Nevada will be playing at home where it is 13-3 on the year.


After finally catching UNLV in the conference standings, Nevada will seek to further its edge on the Rebels. Standing in the way of distancing the Wolf Pack from UNLV is Utah. While the Utes have struggled this season by posting a conference record of 3-15 and an overall record of 12-23, they still have some potential to trip up Nevada.

As mentioned before, Utah has had a difficult time keeping pace in the Pac-12. Although the Utes’ record might indicate that their team is inferior to the Wolf Pack, it might just be the case that the Pac-12 is too tough for Utah. The Pac-12 features three teams in the top 10 of the USA Today baseball poll (Oregon, Washington and Oregon State), and playing those teams week-in and week-out would be difficult for most squads. The Utes are no exception.

That being said, Utah still has talent to give Nevada some hiccups. Among the stars for Utah is pitcher Mitch Waltrous. The junior out of Riverton, Utah leads the team in strikeouts (55), innings pitched (63.0) and is third on the team in opposing batting average (.242). Of course, Waltrous does have a mediocre record of 2-4 on the season and a 4.00 ERA, but he is the workhorse of the Utah pitching staff.

In the batter’s box, senior TJ Bennett has been the most consistent of an otherwise lackadaisical hitting unit. Bennett leads the Utes in RBI’s (18), slugging percentage (.359) and is tied for the team lead in home runs. However, for the Wolf Pack to be successful, it will come from dominating the mound as opposed to the box.

Chris Boline can be reached at