Nevada baseball opens home schedule with 14 road games to begin 2024 season

After starting the 2024 season with 14 straight road games, Nevada baseball will host its home opener Friday at Peccole Park.

The Wolf Pack enter a three-game set against New Mexico at 6-8 overall but 2-1 in the Mountain West after winning their conference opener against the Aztecs last weekend. Nevada opened the season 4-1 before losing its next six nonleague games before the three-game set at San Diego State. Last played at UC San Diego, losing 7-6 on Monday.

Despite his team being below .500, head coach Jake McKinley is pleased with the knowledge he gained on his non-conference team.

“We’ve played a relatively tough schedule,” McKinley said. “Some of the teams we’ve played are having very good years. But I think it’s been a good opportunity for us to see who’s set up in what position optimally, what’s the best chance for us to won relative to the rotation. Player positioning, what lineups give us the best chance to win. I think that’s what non-conference games are all about. We saw it a little bit last weekend at San Diego State. Some guys came out with some big spots, and I think you gather that information in non-conference games.”

Nevada has outscored its opponents 85-74 while averaging 6.07 runs per game, which ranks fourth out of seven MW teams. The Wolf Pack’s 4.95 ERA is second in the league, which is usually known for its high pitching.

Jason Doktorczyk has emerged as the Wolf Pack’s ace and Friday’s starter after posting a 2-1 record and 3.42 ERA in four starts. He has struck out 24 batters in 23.2 innings, holding opponents to 19 hits. LSU transfer Theo Millas (1-0, 1.38 ERA) and Angelina College transfer Peyton Fosher (1-1, 4.43 ERA) have also performed well in starting roles.

“It’s going well,” Doktorczyk said of the start of the season. “I think I’ve gotten better at a lot of things that I need to get better at. And I think we’re in a good place as a team right now. I think a lot of things haven’t gone our way so far, but I think we’re playing a lot of baseball. good going to the conference.”

Nevada’s offense is led by Jake Harvey (.378 BA, .959 OPS), Michael Ball (.352 BA, .929 OPS), Jesse Pierce (.347 BA, .917 OPS) and JR Freethy (.327 BA, . 955 OPS). The Wolf Pack battle a New Mexico team that swept UNLV in its conference opener last week before winning at Arizona State on Tuesday. The three-game series in Reno includes a Friday 6:05 p.m. first pitch before a Saturday 2:05 p.m. and Sunday 12:05 p.m. The Wolf Pack, who finished last in the MW last season, went 2-4 against the Lobos in 2023.

“I think everybody’s excited,” McKinely said about playing at home. “We haven’t slept in our beds much in the last month, and we’ve been on a lot of planes, a lot of buses. It’s great to be home, and it looks like weather-wise, we’re going to be in pretty good shape this weekend. It’s always nice to play at home and we’ve missed it. Fourteen on the road to start is a bit tough but we’re excited to be back.”

Nevada ranks 108th in RPI, second in MW behind only Air Force (87). Only three MW teams have winning records, they are Fresno State (12-4), New Mexico (11-6) and UNLV (9-7).

“At the end of the day, it’s just about winning the series,” McKinley said of the MW game. “I think the biggest thing for us is we just have to make sure we take care of the baseball from a defensive perspective. We make outs, outs. We make the routine plays in the infield. We make them swing the bats. Free . Then, offensively, I think our at-bat quality has been really good for the last week. Hopefully, we can carry that into the weekend. But I think what’s important, especially in this park where it can come back in a hitter-friendly park sometimes, if we get into a tight, low-scoring game, we have the personnel to get through it. And then if it turns into a higher-scoring game, we have the personnel to do it. “

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