Nevada baseball denied NCAA tournament bid
Despite a 41-win season, a 12-1 record in three-game series and a regular-season conference championship, the Nevada baseball team was not selected for the 64-team NCAA Regional field Monday.
“I’m truthful in what I say, and I very strongly believe that we were a deserving team,” said head coach Jay Johnson, whose team was ranked 23rd in the nation entering the Mountain West Tournament in Reno this past weekend. “I would be out of my mind if I wasn’t proud of this season. You can’t be perfect in this sport, and we weren’t, but we were pretty close. The positives from this season are too endless to count.”
After recording one of the most successful regular seasons in program history, the Wolf Pack ended the year with a poor performance in the Mountain West Tournament. Nevada went two and out, losing 14-4 to New Mexico and 9-7 to San Diego State, which went on to win the tournament to earn an automatic berth in the NCAA tourney.
Nevada also learned Monday that it was never actually in the running for an NCAA bid. The selection committee stated hat the first four teams left out of the tournament that were considered for selection were North Carolina, Missouri, Michigan State and Southern Mississippi.
Meanwhile, Bradley, which finished 9-11 in its Missouri Valley Conference, received a No. 2 seed in the tournament, while Oregon, which finished sixth in the Pac-12, also was selected for the tournament.
Nevada’s season got off to a hot start with an upset of then-fifth-ranked Texas Tech on the road and a 7-0 start — the most wins to open a season in program history. The Pack opened Mountain West play with a sweep of Fresno State at Peccole Park and went on to lead the Mountain West standings for most of the season.
The Pack tallied seven win streaks of three games or longer and never lost more than two games consecutively in the regular season.
Nevada tallied 19 road wins on the season, which ranked second in the nation, and swept San Diego State and New Mexico on the road to clinch the school’s first-ever Mountain West title with three games left on the schedule.
Overall, Nevada finished with a 41-15 record.
Nevada’s win total was tied for second-most in program history. The Pack went 22-6 in Mountain West play to win its fifth regular season conference crown. Nevada went 19-9 on the road and 22-6 at Peccole Park.
“To run the schedule the way this team did is incredible,” Johnson said. “We didn’t have a single flight or bus trip back home without feeling accomplished. These guys did everything I asked of them.”
In addition to its stellar season as a team, Nevada swept the postseason league awards. Johnson was named Mountain West Coach of the Year, highlighting an accomplished season in his second year at the helm.
Sophomore Trenton Brooks was the inaugural winner of the MW Tony Gwynn Player of the Year award — the Pack’s first conference player of the year since Kevin Kouzmanoff in 2003. Junior Christian Stolo was named MW Pitcher of the Year and Cal Stevenson was named MW Co-Freshman of the Year.
Additionally, senior Austin Byler (1B), junior Ryan Howell (2B), senior Kewby Meyer (OF), junior Bryce Greager (UTL/DH) and Carson City’s Adam Whitt (P) were named to the All-MW first team.
Sierra Sun Sports Editor Sylas Wright contributed to this article.
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