Tyler Wells showed Saturday afternoon that the Nevada Wolf Pack's Big Two might indeed become a Big Three after all.
Wells, who starts Wolf Pack games between standout pitchers Bradey Shipley and Tom Jameson, was outstanding at Hohokam Stadium, beating the Kansas Jayhawks, 2-1, in Mesa, Ariz. The sophomore lefthander allowed just seven hits and two walks and no runs in six innings as the Wolf Pack evened its record to 1-1.
It was just the second time in Wells' 13 career starts that he survived an outing without allowing a run. He pitched 6.1 scoreless innings and allowed just two hits in beating Utah Valley on Feb. 25, 2012 as a freshman.
Wells was 3-5 with a 6.42 earned run average as a freshman in 12 starts and 16 appearances. His other standout outing a year ago was March 24, 2012 when he allowed a run on five hits in six innings in a 3-2 victory over Loyola Marymount.
Wells' performance, though, was nearly wasted in the ninth inning.
In Friday's 11-4 loss to Kansas it was the Pack bullpen that came up short in relief of Shipley, allowing seven runs in the eighth inning to break a 4-4 tie.
The bullpen on Saturday nearly gave up Wells' lead, allowing a run in the ninth. Michael Fain, though, came to the rescue to get the final three outs for his first career save. Michael Bradshaw pitched a scoreless eighth and was charged with the Kansas run in the ninth.
Bradshaw, nursing Wells' 2-0 lead, allowed a single and a double to the first two Jayhawks hitters in the ninth. Fain then came on and promptly hit a Kansas batter to load the bases and walk the next hitter to force in a run.
The Jayhawks suddenly had the bases loaded, trailing by just a run with no outs. Fain, though, made the pitch of the game, forcing Kansas leadoff hitter Kevin Kuntz to ground into a double play, first to catcher and back to first. The play, executed by first baseman Hugo Hernandez and catcher Joe Setum, saved the victory for the Pack.
Fain then got Jordan Dreiling to fly out to Bred Gerig in left to close out the dramatic victory.
Brooks Klein and Scott Kaplan had a big hand in both Pack runs.
Klein tripled and scored on Kaplan's single for a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Klein singled and Kaplan doubled in the sixth and Klein scored on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Hunt for a 2-0 lead.
The Pack, though, wasted a few other opportunities. The Pack, which had 11 hits and left 11 runners on base, got two runners on base in the third, fifth and eighth but didn't score. Gerig doubled and was left stranded in the seventh.
Klein finished with three hits and two runs scored. Kaplan also had three hits and drove in a run. Hernandez, Austin Byler, Gerig, Bryce Barger and Jamison Rowe each had a hit.
The four-gamer series against Kansas will conclude with a noon game on Sunday and an 11 a.m. game on Monday. The Pack will then open a four-game series against Northern Illinois next Friday at Peccole Park.