A quick two-run lead for Fresno State and the man considered one of the two best pitchers in the Mountain West this season wasn’t enough to save the Bulldogs from a quick exit at the conference tournament.
Nevada won its second elimination game of the day, knocking out top-seeded Fresno State 25-6 with a tournament-record 27-hit attack in a game that was ended after eight innings on the 10-run mercy rule Friday at Santa Ana Star Field in Albuquerque, N.M.
Junior right-hander Jimmy Lambert, 8-0 with a 2.65 ERA in the conference during the regular season while earning Co-Pitcher of the Year honors, was chased two outs into the third inning after allowing nine runs on 11 hits and two walks.
Seven Nevada players scored in the second, after the Bulldogs (36-22) got two runs on four straight two-out hits in the first. Lambert had a chance to escape after three runs were in, getting a strikeout and popout with runners at first and third. But a Justin Bridgman double drove in two more and after a walk, Trenton Brooks singled home a pair. Brooks started it with a leadoff homer.
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Third-seeded Nevada (36-23), which earlier eliminated No. 6 San Diego State 5-3, scored twice in the third. Fresno State pulled within 9-6 in the fifth, but the Wolf Pack added on, capped by a 12-run eighth.
Nevada faces No. 5 Air Force (30-26) at noon Saturday, with the winner advancing to the championship round against tournament unbeaten and host New Mexico. The second-seeded Lobos (37-21) beat Air Force 6-4 in Friday’s late winners’ bracket game, as Chris DeVito hit a go-ahead solo shot in the sixth and they added on in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Michael Eaton.
The Nevada-Air Force winner will have to beat New Mexico twice to win the tournament and secure the conference’s automatic NCAA bid. That second game would be at noon Sunday.
Track and field – Kyra Johnson is headed to the NCAA Championships in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing eighth in 57.85 at the West Prelims in Lawrence, Kan. Heat winners plus the next six fastest advanced to the finals in Eugene, Ore. Johnson was second to Arizona’s Sage Watson (57.08) in heat six. Shamier Little of Texas A&M led all qualfiers in 56.52.
Women’s tennis – Fresno State’s Mayar Sherif Ahmed and Rana Sherif Ahmed moved into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships in Tulsa, Okla., sweeping past nationally 18th-ranked Danielle Collins and Meghan Kelley of Virginia 6-4, 6-2.
It marked a second straight upset for the Bulldogs’ 32nd-ranked tandem, which knocked off Stanford’s fifth-ranked Taylor Davidson/Caroline Doyle in the opening round. Next up is Cal’s No. 4 Maegan Manasse/Denise Starr, who were 2-6, 6-4, 1-0(6) winners over Pepperdine’s No. 26 Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai/Luisa Stefani.
Mountain West Baseball Tournament
Saturday’s schedule at Santa Ana Star Field in Albuquerque, N.M.
- Noon: No. 3 Nevada vs. No. 5 Air Force
- 4 p.m.: No. 2 New Mexico vs. Nevada-Air Force winner